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Monday, April 16, 2012

Be the People (book review)

Be the People
by Carol M. Swain, PhD
Hardcover, 321 pages
© 2011 by Carol M. Swain
Published June 2011 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN  0849948282

From a poor, rural background to a university professor, Dr. Swain is an excellent example of the American dream.  Her conservative views do not, however, fit what should be the stereotype she represents.  The book is presented as a rallying cry for those who would have us consider the shift in social and political structure in the United States.  In the few months between the publication of this book and this review, there has been a continued and even more pronounced addition to that shift – the reelection of the country’s first black president and the stifled criticism of this black woman.

Yet, is the book about color?  It is because the author chooses to make it so.  The principles she presents are sound – there can be little to argue that the America of the 21st century is not the America of the 18th century.  The values on which the country were built have eroded, liberty is as oppressed as it was when white men were driven to dress as natives and dump tea into Boston Harbor, regulations are developed in knee-jerk response to every event reported by a biased (on both sides) and tangled web of media, and the split in ideals and values is palpable every time a politician or elected official (the redundancy is noted) stands to speak.  Yet this rant against the current situation and the frequent use of Scripture does little to help the situation.  It will be ignored by the “mainstream media”, held up by conservative pundits, and never reach bestseller status.

It is in interesting read and a useful reference (for example, you can easily find the ten commandments if you don’t know where they are in the original source).  These, along with the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and extensive notes and an index take up the last 90 pages of the book.  You could read this book and wonder why the author and publisher took the effort or you could listen to Fox News where people of the same opinion shout over each other – the effect will likely be the same.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received for free from the publisher but a positive review was not required. The opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. This disclosure is in accordance with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 16 CFR, Part 255.

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