Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What is Barry Hankins reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Barry Hankins, author of Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President.

His entry begins:
Well, it’s summer, so it’s novels, non-academic history, sports, and travel books. These are often oriented to the American southwest. Since I’ve been coming to northern New Mexico for almost four decades, I finally got around to reading John Nichols’s The Milagro Bean Field War. I saw the Robert Redford movie many years ago but never realized Nichols lives in Taos (I’m not even sure I knew it was a book). My stepson picked up a signed copy at a Taos bookstore when he and his wife were here in Taos with my wife and me in late June. I immediately moved it to...[read on]
About Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President, from the publisher:
When Woodrow Wilson was elected as a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in 1897, his preacher father allegedly remarked, "I would rather that he held that position than be president of the United States." Fifteen years later he was both. Easily one of the most religious presidents in American history, almost all of Wilson's policies and important speeches were infused with religious concepts. The son, grandson, and nephew of southern Presbyterian divines, with six consecutive generations of preachers on his mother's side, Wilson viewed his political career as a sacred calling. As he remarked to a Democratic Party leader just before his inauguration in 1913, "God ordained that I should be the next president of the United States."

As a scholar, Princeton University president, governor of New Jersey, then president, Wilson spent his entire career trying to further the cause of public righteousness. In 1905, he uttered his life's credo: "There is a mighty task before us and it welds us together. It is to make the United States a mighty Christian nation and to Christianize the World." Nonetheless, the 28th president was not principally a religious figure, and he didn't fit comfortably in any religious camp, either in his own time or today. In Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President, Barry Hankins tells the story of Wilson's religion as he moved from the Calvinist orthodoxy of his youth to a progressive, spiritualized religion short on doctrine and long on morality.
Learn more about Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President at the Oxford University Press website.

Writers Read: Barry Hankins.

--Marshal Zeringue