In Washington’s God Michael Novak-one of America’s leading neoconservative pundits-and his daughter, Jana, uncover George Washington’s religious life. Finally the record is set straight on the most thoroughly misunderstood aspect of Washington’s life. The Novaks focus on Washington’s strong trust in divine Providence and see this belief as providing the unifying narrative to his monumental life.read more
This book is getting mixed reviews, but I am among those who think it is good. There are 419 footnotes in this 282 page book, and most (the vast majority) are from Washington himself or persons who knew him well.I believe that the Novaks made the case that Washington was a Christian (at least "well within the mainstream of one vein of Anglicanism for his time") and not a diest(god is a watchmaker). They took the time to define terms, parse documents of support, and provide example after example to prove their points. They also took "head on" those who argue that Washington was a diest or at best, merely a Stoic.The book includes a selected bibliography and is indexed.read more
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Most modern historians have made three basic assumptions about the religious views of our nation's first president: he was a deist; he was only a marginal Christian who kept up appearances but had no depth of conviction; and he believed only in an impersonal force or destiny that he called "Providence." Michael Novak, the well-known conservative thinker and author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, teams up with his daughter Jana to attempt to debunk all three of these notions about Washington's religious views. Written at the specific request of Mount Vernon and with the assistance of their archives, this book is carefully researched. It is most persuasive when the Novaks show that despite his natural reserve, a depth of religious feeling ran through Washington's public and private speeches and correspondence, disproving the portrait of a tepid, perfunctory Anglicanism. However, they don't succeed as well in disproving Washington's deist sensibility; the Novaks adopt the modern assumption that being a Christian and being a deist were mutually exclusive-a conclusion that few in the late 18th century would have shared. At times, the Novaks' starry-eyed admiration of the man pushes this book over the bounds of biography into hagiography. (Mar. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved