Recipient of the 2008 MWSA Silver Medal for Religious/Spiritual Books
These are ugly times in America. Wall Street is imploding, the Global War on Terror continues to be finessed by the Administration and ignored by the American public, the national debt is almost unserviceable - and the presidential campaign focuses instead on lipstick, moose-skinning, and American flag pins. The parents and families of Marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan must again be shaking their heads in dismay.
"How Free People move Mountains," is an unusual book for these ugly times, and one well worth reading. Co-authors Kathy Roth-Douqet and Frank Schaeffer address the divide that has split the United States, threatens our being as a respected nation - and propose a solution that is elegant in its simplicity.
Frank Schaeffer and Kathy Roth-Douquet are unlikely co-authors, yet perhaps their differences are why their premise is ultimately successful. Schaeffer comes from a deeply evangelical Christian and unforgiving New England background while Roth-Douquet is liberal, Jewish, and a former Clinton aide, yet they succcessfully collaborated two years ago in "AWOL; The unexcused absence of the upper class from military service", which advanced the thesis that patrotism, national service, and duty to country was not just the province of lower-income Southerners and Midwesterners. It is interesting to note that Schaeffer's son enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Afghanistan while Roth-Douqet is married to a career Marine officer, so both understand better than most the concept of serving a cause greater than oneself. It is these unique backgrounds that enable the authors to unite in their belief in the intrinsic goodness of the United States - and that this is a crucial time for America to regain it.
"How Free People Move Mountains" is written in an engaging style. Set up as a discussion between 'Liberal Kathy' and 'Conservative Frank', the two authors talk about how Americans today have substituted the pursuit of consumer goods and wealth for religious faith and the laws of God (Frank), or a belief in the natural goodness of man (Kathy). While it is up to the reader to decide which road is correct, Schaeffer and Roth-Douqet's debate finishes in the same place; that of ignoring the politicians and talking heads who push the conservative-liberal, red state-blue state divisions for their own selfish reasons and instead take a direct interest in the future of their country.
Their well-reasoned solution is quite simple, and reflects the thoughts of our Founding Fathers: live a moral life, respect others, and work for the common good. The ideals of "Honor - Courage - Commitment" resound throughout the book, and throughout their ideas for breaking through the morass of mindless consumerism that they see as sapping America's spiritual strength.As 'Liberal Kathy' and 'Conservative Frank' are able to engage in spirited yet, civil debate, "How Free People Move Mountains" shows us the way to re-engage Americans in the future of the country.
MWSA Reviewer: Andy Lubin
"How Do We Ever Speak with One Voice Again in Our Divided and Angry Country?"
It is amazing how one America is isolated from the "other" America. The red/blue state divisions run so deep that it is possible to live without any interaction—ideological or otherwise—with those who hold different opinions than oneself. We are a people alienated, from ourselves and from our government.
The authors, an odd mix across the Blue/Red divide—one a founder of the modern evangelical movement, the other a liberal Jewish former Clinton aide—hold an extended conversation across many months, several states, and two countries—sometimes contentious, sometimes funny, exploring the idea of how unlikely pairings—and thus, the entire country—can come together. They argue that we're entering a new era in history, and now is the time to rise up to it; to make ourselves able to tackle the enormous problems in our laps; to, in effect, move mountains.