Monday, July 06, 2015

A Life In The Public Square
By Randy Boyagoda

OVERVIEW: Best known as the editor in chief of First Things magazine, a fixture in the national media, and a personal counselor to Pope John Paul II and President George W. Bush, Richard John Neuhaus was a brilliant, hard-charging hero for religious and political conservatives, and a fearsome, well-connected nemesis of religious and secular liberals. But his remarkable array of involvements in American public life weren't always conservative, or Catholic for that matter. For all the headline-grabbing and powerful influence, however, the heart of this captivating biography is the story of a man motivated in all things by a simple love of God—from his humble beginnings during the Depression in rural Canada to his days as a young Lutheran pastor in the inner cities of Brooklyn and then Manhattan to his years as, arguably, the most influential religious voice in America.

AUTHOR: Randy Boyagoda is a professor of American Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto. His most recent novel, Beggar's Feast, was selected as a New York times Book Review Editor's Choice, was nominated for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and hs been published to critical acclaim around the world. He written for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, First Things, the New Statesman, and Harper's.

MY REVIEW: Richard John Neuhaus lived a fascinating and active life. This is a captivating biography. Neuhaus was one of the leading religious figures of the 20th century. He passionately defended and encouraged bringing religion into the public square. My personal beliefs and doctrine is vastly different than his, both when he was a Lutheran and then as a Catholic. But I strongly agree with his feelings about bringing religion into everyday life in general and especially politics.

I recommend this book to all those who love to read biographies. This is a good one! You will be interested in a man who was labeled sometimes as liberal and others times as conservative. "Neuhaus was truly a sign of contradiction in our times." Author Randy Boyagoda has written a biography that is balanced, interesting and relevant. He has done careful research and although he writes in a very detailed way, he is able to hold your interest.

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)