I must have been living in a cave all this time. I just stumbled upon this book and found it to be absolutely incredible. I then came to the website to see what others had to say and loved to read how much this single volume has maent to so many. Count me as one of them.
I found the author's writing style to be very inviting. I felt as though he were talking just to me rather than to some big general audience in some impersonal way. The material in this book is stunning. I loved the vignettes that were interspersed with the prayer life of America since the earliest times. Honestly, this book is just stunning.
I am an Asian-American, born and raised in Japan. I came to the United States originally to study and now am a successful businesswoman who finds herself shuttling between both countries. I found in this book the chance to understand Americans in a more intimate way. Thank you to Mr. Moore, the author, for this incredible gift to me and to so many others.
I just wish that my parents, who speak no English, could read this book. Through it they would learn why I have come to have an affection for the American people - a very different impression than the one in the world media these days.
Friends in the Swiss government gave me this important review of American history and the foundational role that prayer has played in shaping and forming us as a people as well as the government of the United States of America.
James P. Moore Jr. has done an incredible job of writing this book and compiling resources from thousands of different sources on the history of prayer in America. Before writing this book, Mr. Moore looked for equivalent writings and the role and significance of prayer on American history and he could find none. So after seven years of writing this manuscript, he unearthed "a marvelous, hidden treasure chest." I agree and I would highly recommend this book as a treasured resource that I will continue to refer to in the coming years.
Mr. Moore puts prayer right at the center as he looks at history, faith, politics, literature, arts, entertainment, culture, music, sports, etc. in America. He says in his prologue on page xi, "Quite frankly, the story of American prayer is so powerful that it does not need to rely on anything but historic fact and reasonable interpretation. "
He recounts 16 periods of time in American history, primary themes and events during those times and within each, the key importance of prayer. He says it best himself in his introduction on page xxiii, " If American history can be likened to a great musical composition, prayer must be seen as an integral and powerful theme throughout the piece. At times it is softer; louder at others. It has its own rhythm, it own pulse. It is always there, fundamentally contributing to whatever melody may be playing." As Mr. Moore recounts in his introduction, G.K Chesterton's words on the vibrant spirituality and prayer life of the country, he wrote, " America is a nation with the soul of a church."
He meanders from before the early inhabitants up through the second term of George W. Bush. If you want to learn more about the past, present and the potential future of America, this book on the life of prayer is a good starting point.
I have been beside myself over the way our government has been behaving in the Middle East. Over dinner last night my friends echoed the same concerns and misgivings.
It was then that I told them about One NationUnderGod. This is a book that I finished a few weeks ago and loved from the very start. It gave me a perspective that I really did not have about the incredible spirituality of our country since before its inception. It is masterfully written.
Coincidentally I picked up the July issue of St. Anthony's Messenger and found the same opinion, which I have attached. Thank you to James Moore for this extraordinary contribution to our country for years to come.
IF ASKED to describe the United States, would the first adjective to jump into your head be "prayerful"? After perusal of James P. Moore, Jr.'s book, it would seem that no other description is as accurate.
From the Native American inhabitants to the modern era of immigrants practicing myriad religions, we Americans have been a praying people. Moore is neither a historian nor a clergyman but a professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He has produced an impressive study of the effects of prayer on virtually all facets of American life.
In 16 chapters, Moore thoroughly documents his text with excerpts from the writings of the individuals chronicled or those of firsthand witnesses, which necessitates 34 pages of Notes and a 15-page Index. Readers will find no legends here.
Early explorers were deeply religious and mandated how their crews would pray daily. Christopher Columbus was a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, as were his sponsors, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In Jamestown, Virginia, in 1610 a law was passed that all residents should attend morning and evening prayer services, enumerating the punishments to be leveled for absence.
The Founding Fathers, Moore writes, used prayer as "a coalescing tool to bring together widely disparate colonies, communities, and churches." At the First Continental Convention, after the report of a British incursion in Boston, the delegates prayed "for America, for Congress, for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially for the town of Boston." John Adams wrote in his diary that the prayer and emotions expressed were "as permanent, as affectionate, as sublime, as devout, as I have ever heard offered up to Heaven."
Every president has acknowledged the existence of a higher power in his inaugural address; admittedly with varying degrees of belief and, possibly, for ulterior motives. But all presidents, sooner or later, would call upon and acknowledge this power to aid in carrying the heavy burden of office.
John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States, inaugurated prayers for the country's leaders to be recited after Mass on Sundays to allay suspicions that Catholics were loyal only to the pope. Carroll composed a special prayer on the occasion of President Washington's birthday in 1794. Carroll was foresighted enough to request permission of the Holy See to use English for all Mass prayers to help integrate Catholic immigrants.
Publishing in the United States began with The Bay Psalm Book; a hymnal was the first songbook. These overtly religious writings were followed by uniquely American poetry, prose, drama, art, dance and architecture executed by talented people using their expertise to praise the Almighty.
The Jazz Singer, the story of a Jewish cantor, was the first talking movie. The first American opera to be written and staged was George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, which has songs like "Oh Doctor Jesus" and "Oh Lawd, I'm on My Way."
The chapter entitled "The Dreamers: The Legacy of Slavery" alone is worth the price of the book. Dealing largely with Frederick Douglass, a slave who was able to buy his freedom and work for the release of other slaves, the narrative is spellbinding in detailing the role that prayer played individually and communally in the life of a slave.
Many unique spirituals were introduced to the country and the world in 1871 by the touring Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, and the response was overwhelming. Andrew Ward, music biographer, has said the spirituals "not only declared faith but carried news, raised protests, expressed grief, asked questions, made jokes, lubricated a slave's never-ending toil."
Many industrialists felt called upon to aid the religious cause: Andrew Carnegie purchasing 7,000 organs for churches and schools, the J.C. Penney Foundation providing funds for care of retired ministers and Church workers. Military leaders encouraged prayer and often led by personal example.
Most of us will have lived through the events recounted in the last five chapters, culminating in the second inauguration of George W. Bush, but there are still personal and often touching new insights here into the personalities behind the media reports. Yes, Moore exhibits some political favoritism, but seven years of research utilizing and reproducing primary resources on prayer from virtually every religious sect is a blockbuster publishing event. This historical compilation is as readable and accessible as a novel.
Lovely book, but is the author quite certain of the attribution of the prayer poem that appears on page 312 of the book to one found in the pocket of a dead U.S. soldier in North Africa during WWII? This is actually an English translation of a rather famous Russian poem found in the pocket of a dead Russian infantryman during the Great Patriotic War (as WWII is known in Russia). The original Russian uses very powerful lyrical language that is lost in the English translation, where, for example, for purposes of achieving rhyme a colloquialism such as "calling a spade a spade" is used. Furthermore, one line in the poem is a dead giveaway that it is not American in origin. I doubt very much that an average young man in pre-WWII America had been told that God did not exist or that he had not been exposed in some way to the prayer culture that abounded in America at that time. The Communist Soviet Union, on the other hand, pursued one of the most aggressive religious persecusions known to man in the 1930s at the time when this young soldier author was growing up in an atheistic state. The reason for the poem's power lies in the fact that after years and years of indoctrination and lack of belief, the beauty of the night sky was enough for one individual to realize and recognize the connection with God he had been missing all his life. Framed in this light, the prayer poem achieves extraordinary pogniancy.
This book is definately, "A Spiritual History of America". Jammed with history as seen from a spiritual PV. I highly recommend this book to history buffs, spiritual/religious buffs and prayer buffs/warriors.
In this highly original approach to the history of the United States, James Moore focuses on the extraordinary role that prayer has played in every area of American life, from the time of the first settlers to the present day and beyond.
A stirring chronicle of the spiritual life of a nation, One Nation UnderGod shows how the faith of Americans?from the founding fathers to corporate tycoons, from composers to social reformers, from generals to slaves?was an essential ingredient in the formation of American culture, character, commerce and creed.
One Nation Under God brings together the country?s hymns, patriotic anthems, arts, and literature as a framework for telling the story of the innermost thoughts of the people who have shaped the United States we know today. Beginning with Native Americans, One Nation Under God traces the prayer lives of Quakers and Shakers, Sikhs and Muslims, Catholics and Jews, from their earliest days in the United States through the advent of cyberspace, the aftermath of 9/11, and the 2004 presidential election. It probes the approach to prayer by such diverse individuals as Benjamin Franklin, Elvis Presley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Martha Graham, J. C. Penney, Mary Pickford, Cesar Chavez, P. T. Barnum, Jackie Robinson, and Christopher Columbus. It includes every president of the United States as well as America?s farmers, clergy, immigrants, industrialists, miners, sports heroes, and scientists.
One Nation Under God shows that without prayer, the political, cultural, social, and even economic and military history of the United States would be vastly different from what it is today. It engages in a thoughtful, timely examination of the modern debate over public prayer and how the current approach to prayer bears deep roots in the philosophies of the country?s founding fathers, a subject which remains distinct from the debate over church and state.