hits counter God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America

Availability: Ready to download

Since 2000, America's most ambitious young evangelicals have been making their way to Patrick Henry College, a small Christian school just outside the nation's capital. Most of them are homeschoolers whose idealism and discipline put the average American teenager to shame. And God's Harvard grooms these students to be the elite of tomorrow, dispatching them to the front li Since 2000, America's most ambitious young evangelicals have been making their way to Patrick Henry College, a small Christian school just outside the nation's capital. Most of them are homeschoolers whose idealism and discipline put the average American teenager to shame. And God's Harvard grooms these students to be the elite of tomorrow, dispatching them to the front lines of politics, entertainment, and science, to wage the battle to take back a godless nation. Hanna Rosin spent a year and a half embedded at the college, following the students from the campus to the White House, Congress, conservative think tanks, Hollywood, and other centers of influence. Her account captures this nerve center of the evangelical movement at a moment of maximum influence and also of crisis, as it struggles to avoid the temptations of modern life and still remake the world in its own image.


Compare

Since 2000, America's most ambitious young evangelicals have been making their way to Patrick Henry College, a small Christian school just outside the nation's capital. Most of them are homeschoolers whose idealism and discipline put the average American teenager to shame. And God's Harvard grooms these students to be the elite of tomorrow, dispatching them to the front li Since 2000, America's most ambitious young evangelicals have been making their way to Patrick Henry College, a small Christian school just outside the nation's capital. Most of them are homeschoolers whose idealism and discipline put the average American teenager to shame. And God's Harvard grooms these students to be the elite of tomorrow, dispatching them to the front lines of politics, entertainment, and science, to wage the battle to take back a godless nation. Hanna Rosin spent a year and a half embedded at the college, following the students from the campus to the White House, Congress, conservative think tanks, Hollywood, and other centers of influence. Her account captures this nerve center of the evangelical movement at a moment of maximum influence and also of crisis, as it struggles to avoid the temptations of modern life and still remake the world in its own image.

30 review for God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Horrid, biased book. Now let me point something out right off the bat: I definitely could not teach at Patrick Henry College, and I wouldn't exactly be thrilled to send my kids there. I'm a moderate in a lot of ways, including politically. It's not that I don't have opinions, on the contrary, I have very strong opinions. I just don't fit neatly enough into either "left" or "right" to feel comfortable among ideologues of either stripe. On the other hand, I am a Christian and a stay at home mother Horrid, biased book. Now let me point something out right off the bat: I definitely could not teach at Patrick Henry College, and I wouldn't exactly be thrilled to send my kids there. I'm a moderate in a lot of ways, including politically. It's not that I don't have opinions, on the contrary, I have very strong opinions. I just don't fit neatly enough into either "left" or "right" to feel comfortable among ideologues of either stripe. On the other hand, I am a Christian and a stay at home mother who plans to homeschool, so I have that much in common with the families of Patrick Henry. And as for the author, Hanna Rosin, I imagine she calls herself a feminist, as do I, and she probably supported Barack Obama, as did I. I feel like I can feel some level of kinship to both "sides" here. And I still say that Rosin's book is seriously meanspirited and biased, and was painful for me to read even when I superficially "agreed" with her. I was hoping for one of two things with this book. Either a kind of ethnography, where Rosin goes undercover and befriends the exotic "others" and tells the general reading public about a world they would never otherwise experience, describing candidly the author's own personal thoughts and struggles with the experience. Or a standard journalistic piece where the author tries to remain neutral enough to tell all sides of a story, giving us an idea of where the subject stands in context of history and society. Rosin was not able to set aside her disgust with the people she is portraying long enough to accomplish either of these things. Worst of all, in my opinion, is rather than making an honest attempt and at least doing the subject and herself the honor of being serious-minded about it, she stoops to sarcasm, mockery, and "snark" and obnoxious fourth wall asides constantly. It's distracting, and it ruined the entire book for me. Where to start? For one thing, Rosin complains a little too much about the efforts some of her subjects as a religion reporter have made to convert her. While I can understand her not wanting to convert, surely a religion beat reporter needs a thicker skin than to take this kind of thing personally. Similarly, it seems odd to me that this sort of reporter would be so continually baffled at the existence of people whose idea of the good life is different from her own. Isn't the whole point of religion reporting that there are people of different religions who have different views of the universe? She seems to take the PHC emphasis on stay-at-home motherhood personally, and snarks back in kind. Rosin is indeed a master of snark, though being the master of such a low artform is hardly an accomplishment. Her writing in this book reminded me a lot of the "Broadsheet" blog on Salon.com, an oddly defensive liberal-feminist (emphasis on liberal) echochamber. Some of the snarky asides are such reaches at making an insult or snappy reference that they read like non sequiturs. Consider for instance Rosin's insistence on letting us know that in the same year Farris and his wife considered homeschooling for the first time, Boy George hit the Billboard top ten list. Come again? I'm not sure what Rosin is trying to insinuate, but it's such a weird thing to throw in there. Is it supposed to make the liberal "us" laugh at the conservative "them" who "we" suppose will squirm at the merest association (existing in the same year!) with such a flamboyantly gay musical performer? This is a prime example, though, of the juvenile attitude Rosin espouses throughout. Overall this book is a missed opportunity for a very enjoyable adventure, and that always makes me sad.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kayt O'Bibliophile

    It's not that Hanna Rosin isn't a good writer. And it's not that the book is full of caricatures. And it's not that it's not completely fascinating. But there's something, something, that's off about it. Maybe it's the subtly implied inferiority of many people and their beliefs or values. The book does a very good job examining the politics of conservative evangelical Republican-Christianity, and how the politics are often built in to the culture itself. I know--I didn't go to Patrick Henry Coll It's not that Hanna Rosin isn't a good writer. And it's not that the book is full of caricatures. And it's not that it's not completely fascinating. But there's something, something, that's off about it. Maybe it's the subtly implied inferiority of many people and their beliefs or values. The book does a very good job examining the politics of conservative evangelical Republican-Christianity, and how the politics are often built in to the culture itself. I know--I didn't go to Patrick Henry College, but I was homeschooled, was usually in an evangelical conservative Christian environment, and went to a [much-more-liberal] Christian college. So it raises my hackles a bit when 1) Homeschooling is portrayed as the sole domain of conservative evangelicals (plus or minus skirt-wearing homesteaders), 2) Abstention from, say, pop music/culture/Facebook/whatever is portrayed as The Weirdest Thing Ever, and 3) Belief is portrayed as silly or unnecessary. It's subtle, but it's there (more the first two than the third), and it really takes away from an otherwise-good book. And those problems bug me because they can offset the rest of the book, which bring up issues that the community should really be examining itself. I was, for obvious reasons, most interested in the gender dynamics: "feminist" is an f-word, yet both men and women work diligently--and successfully--to land top political internships and jobs. There's apparently an unspoken rule that if a female professor gets pregnant, she resigns. Women are barely seen, though tolerated, in campus leadership positions. Ideas I was familiar with (though, thankfully, not from experience. Usually), and the book does a superb job contrasting the smart, ambitious women with their accepted idea of being a wife-and-mother, and the reality of male headship that seems culturally inevitable. I was also intrigued--and horrified--by the portrayal of Michael Farris, founder of the college and the Home School Legal Defense Association (which is huge, for those who don't deal with homeschooling). Not having anything to do with Farris, I can't say if his portrayal is slanted...but I suspect that if it is, it's not by much. It's Farris' ideals that formed the college, so that should tell you a lot. The book makes it seem as though he (at least at the time) functioned as leader with no checks or balances (read: decisions may be subject to whims) and started moving toward a Bob Jones- or Pensacola-esque experience. Overall, it was a very good book, a great look at ideology vs. reality. There were definitely places where the tone bugged me, but overall it's the best diving-into-superconservatice-Christian-culture book I've read. (And apparently, this is a genre.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elyssa

    The author of this book spent a year and a half in Patrick Henry College, a Christian college designed to create a new generation of evangelist politicians. Her in-depth reporting includes the creation of the college, portraits of the college's founder, professors, and students. The main reason I give this book 4 stars is for the solid and well-rounded exploration of this topic. Prior to reading this book, I was aware of the growing evangelical movement; however, if was interesting to learn about The author of this book spent a year and a half in Patrick Henry College, a Christian college designed to create a new generation of evangelist politicians. Her in-depth reporting includes the creation of the college, portraits of the college's founder, professors, and students. The main reason I give this book 4 stars is for the solid and well-rounded exploration of this topic. Prior to reading this book, I was aware of the growing evangelical movement; however, if was interesting to learn about the people who comprise it. I was fascinated by the PHC students who were homeschooled exclusively, the science professors who didn't believe in evolution, and the founder/leader of the school and those who influenced him. As someone who went to a very liberal college, it was interesting to read about all the rules in PHC and how the students sometimes struggled with the code. It also showed that the PHC students are very committed to being a part of the political process and will devote huge amounts of time to internships and volunteer opportunities with politicians who share their values, with the main value being that church and state should NOT be separated. Overall, it was interesting to read about people who are the exact opposite of me. If anything, it strengthened my own belief in my values and politics and makes me want to fight to maintain them, especially the separation of church and state.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Rabe

    This book was a well-written account by a reporter who spent a year and a half embedded at Patrick Henry College. Many of her observations are what you would expect from an unbeliever, observing Christians as though they belong to some strange tribe out of National Geographic, with the potential of doing grave danger if not kept in their place. However, many of her jabs do correctly expose the shallowness and silliness of the evangelical subculture. The author, Hanna Rosin, seems to have been This book was a well-written account by a reporter who spent a year and a half embedded at Patrick Henry College. Many of her observations are what you would expect from an unbeliever, observing Christians as though they belong to some strange tribe out of National Geographic, with the potential of doing grave danger if not kept in their place. However, many of her jabs do correctly expose the shallowness and silliness of the evangelical subculture. The author, Hanna Rosin, seems to have been extremely likable and sympathetic because students and professors alike opened up to her on a surprising level. She does expose quite a bit of real confusion among the students about the role of women. This is not surprising. The girls are typically high-powered overachievers, being trained for the world of politics, and regularly being sent into jobs on Capitol Hill. Most understand the biblical principle of "headship" in marriage, that men and women have different roles, and that becoming one flesh means committing to your husband's calling. However, Rosin reveals some anecdotes that reveal the dissatisfaction and confusion among several of the young women regarding this. This begs the question: Why do we train our girls in the same way as men if their roles are to be so different? In some way, isn't this buying into the cultural idea that women are to be more like men in order to have value? Of course,I want my daughter to be reading the great books, learning to think critically, being aware of the cultural issues. These are great joys and delights, and when taught from a biblical perspective, will give her a fuller appreciation of our Lord, His goodness and our role as His workmanship in this era. All of this will make a woman a stronger Christian, able to withstand any storm, and a worthy wife, able to help her husband keep his thinking on track and to educate their children. But this book reminds me that in addition we need to be training our women how to run a home in such a way that it is imminently satisfying, as a center for education, hospitality and productivity -- a place where lively conversation is the norm, where people gather to read and discuss issues, where we feast on food that deeply satisfies, where true fellowship overflows and we create a refuge that refreshes our own families and visitors. We need to teach our girls to be excited about making homes like this -- and that homes like this change the culture. The book also covers a troubling time at Patrick Henry in 2006 when a rift developed between Farris and several of the more popular professors on campus. As always in such controversies, I suspect that the issues are not as simple as the author presents them. (Intellectual Christians/persecuted professors vs. Fundamental Christians/Farris). As incidents are presented in this book, one feels manipulated to side with the intellectual professors, which is the author's intent. But I so greatly admire Michael Farris and am so grateful for his integrity and vision -- I withhold any judgment until I read more on his side in the matter and the subsequent events leading to his departure. All in all, a compelling book, worthy of reading, but so unflattering to Patrick Henry College that one wonders why Farris ever agreed to the project. May God use this book as He did the deeds of Joseph's brothers: "You meant it for evil but God meant it for good."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Letitia

    Since I could essentially write an entire thesis inspired by this book, I will attempt to keep my comments brief for the sake of this review, but I apologize in advance for verbosity. Rosin's diatribe on the recently founded Patrick Henry college unfortunately alienated me even in the introduction, where home education is described as "a relic of the age of separatism and retreat." I nevertheless attempted to suspend my judgment until I had read the thing cover to cover. Having done so, I will emp Since I could essentially write an entire thesis inspired by this book, I will attempt to keep my comments brief for the sake of this review, but I apologize in advance for verbosity. Rosin's diatribe on the recently founded Patrick Henry college unfortunately alienated me even in the introduction, where home education is described as "a relic of the age of separatism and retreat." I nevertheless attempted to suspend my judgment until I had read the thing cover to cover. Having done so, I will emphatically agree with the author on a key point: Patrick Henry was a failed experiment, based on a not-so-bad idea. However, Rosin's methods for arriving at this conclusion in no way resemble the stellar journalism for which she is praised in the reviews of this work. Her statements are broad, sweeping, and demeaning to a large scope of people belonging to factions and segments that she has never met nor interviewed. Her strategic placement of words like "pretension" or significant emphasis on particular randomly placed quotes leaves little doubt as to her bias, which she is certainly allowed, but which overwhelms the nature of her reporting. While easily delving into the ridiculous aspects of this institution, she simultaneously seems to overlook good qualities in her students, simply because they are so strange. She speaks condescendingly of a boy who is grateful to God for everything, choosing not to contrast him with the bitching, whiny, entitled teenager Americans have come to expect, even while she subtlely questions the morality of boys who choose to play the game Halo. Ultimately my foremost criticism of this book is simply that it lumps all Evangelical Christians into this particular bubble that she experienced in a very tiny microchosm of conservative religious educators. I would simply advise readers of this: when encountering the author's broad and libelous statements regarding all Evangelical Conservative Christians, keep this in mind: I was home schooled, I am politically conservative, I am an Evangelical Christian, and I disagree completely with Michael Farris' lifestyle, philosophy, and political agenda. The tendency of the liberal audience who will read this book is to assume we are out to get you and destroy life as you know it. Just trust me on this: we're not.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dereka

    My thought while reading was how well Hanna Rosin conveyed a positive image of the students at PHC. While fundamentally unable to share their religious views, she found them to be intelligent, hardworking, likable and admirable in other ways. Likewise she was sympathetic to Ferris and PHC faculty members. Then I read the reviews that flayed her as biased, mean spirited and snarky. Did we read the same book?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Yikes. Well, I was drawn to this book after watching "Jesus Camp," which everyone who cares about the future of this country's separation of church(goers) and state should watch. This was a great follow up. While Jesus Camp gives us a window into the methods that Evangelical Christians are using to indoctrinate their younger children (did you know, by the way, that 75% of homeschooled kids in this country identify as born agains?), God's Harvard is an investigation of Patrick Henry College, an e Yikes. Well, I was drawn to this book after watching "Jesus Camp," which everyone who cares about the future of this country's separation of church(goers) and state should watch. This was a great follow up. While Jesus Camp gives us a window into the methods that Evangelical Christians are using to indoctrinate their younger children (did you know, by the way, that 75% of homeschooled kids in this country identify as born agains?), God's Harvard is an investigation of Patrick Henry College, an evangelical four year institution. This college, founded by a particularly overzealous wacko, identifies its mission as getting Jesus and his most literal followers into Washington's most powerful positions. A popular goal among them is to be the blessed soul who gets Roe vs. Wade overturned. Most of these kids are politically obsessed, and many have internships on the Hill or end up campaigning for their favorite candidates. You know, those gay bashing, fetus saving, welfare eliminating, all around nice guys. The school is very young, but due to the growing power of Evangelical Christianity, these students are coveted by many senators, judges, what have you as the next big thing. Again yikes. What's great about this particular work is the writer's close relationships with these kids. Because they like her- and, ostensibly, because they think that even though she's Jewish and basically writing an expose on their beloved PHC, she still might be saved through their interventions- they tell her lots about their upbringing, their goals, and, as young women getting an education but expected to use it only as a method of enlightening their own 6 or 7 kids, their fears about their futures. Rosin also gets the insiders' story about the firing and subsequent resignations of many popular professors, who, though Christian to the core, are encouraging a bit too much "exploration" for the likings of the college's President. The only reason this book is 4 stars; the individual stories of the students, though important, may have been too numerous to keep track of carefully. There were probably 6 or 7 students profiled closely, and I would have preferred to read about fewer in more depth. All in all, great book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    ellen

    This is one of the most well written and interesting books I've read in a long time. I recently watched the movie Jesus Camp and was in shock as to the level of evangelical indoctrination that's going on in this country. I didn't realize just how strong and how organized the evangalicals were / are, and as a liberal and lesbian this frightens me. This book allowed me a peek into the conservative Christian world and the people within it -- I kept waiting for someone to "fall", and in the eyes of This is one of the most well written and interesting books I've read in a long time. I recently watched the movie Jesus Camp and was in shock as to the level of evangelical indoctrination that's going on in this country. I didn't realize just how strong and how organized the evangalicals were / are, and as a liberal and lesbian this frightens me. This book allowed me a peek into the conservative Christian world and the people within it -- I kept waiting for someone to "fall", and in the eyes of Patrick Henry University some of them did -- but it's not something that I would consider a great fall from grace, mostly things that would not at all be considered infractions in the secular world. This book, written from the perspective of a journalist who does not fit the evangelical mold, allowed me to get to know the men and women of Patrick Henry in the same way I might. It's helpful to me to know that these places exist, and the extent and possible power of evangelicals. I'm not sure any common ground exists between they and I, but knowledge goes a long way to co-existence and minimizing the impact they may have on my life and my freedom. Fascinating stuff.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Overall impressions: While obviously from a non-Christian worldview, Rosin remains quite charitable in my opinion (except perhaps to Farris). The places she is very critical and less charitable are where she perceives incongruity or inherent inconsistency in what people say as Christians and what they do, particularly where she sees hypocrisy. Largely, however, I agree with those criticisms. It's sad that it takes an "outsider" to critique the inconsistencies of the "Christian right" when as con Overall impressions: While obviously from a non-Christian worldview, Rosin remains quite charitable in my opinion (except perhaps to Farris). The places she is very critical and less charitable are where she perceives incongruity or inherent inconsistency in what people say as Christians and what they do, particularly where she sees hypocrisy. Largely, however, I agree with those criticisms. It's sad that it takes an "outsider" to critique the inconsistencies of the "Christian right" when as conservatives we should be self-examining our own worldviews and how we act regularly. She also provides quite a bit of history of the Christian political conservative movement of recent years, from a "liberal's" perspective, including the widespread misunderstanding among many evangelicals who believe the US was founded as a "Christian Nation," as opposed to SOME of the founders simply having Judeo-Christian worldviews. One more thing--If she visited today I think she'd find PHC a very different place from some of those early days. Sure, plenty of similarities remain, but they have been moderated by personnel and policy changes in the administration, faculty, and students.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dan Secor

    I really wanted to like this book. I really did. This was the first selection in the book club I recently joined at my UU congregation. I was hoping I would enjoy this as much as The Unlikely Disciple. It didn't come close. In fact, I initially gave it three stars, but now that I have digested it a bit, I took away another star. First, the content. The subject matter scared the living hell out of me. The type of backward thinking exhibited by those described here will do serious damage to the righ I really wanted to like this book. I really did. This was the first selection in the book club I recently joined at my UU congregation. I was hoping I would enjoy this as much as The Unlikely Disciple. It didn't come close. In fact, I initially gave it three stars, but now that I have digested it a bit, I took away another star. First, the content. The subject matter scared the living hell out of me. The type of backward thinking exhibited by those described here will do serious damage to the rights and liberties of millions of people. Their agenda frightened me, and I found myself angry much of the time. But I cannot fault the author because she reported on such vile individuals. What I CAN fault her on is a book written in such a fractured style. I get how she felt like she was blending in certain themes along the way, but the whole affair felt very disjointed and was, frankly, a mess IMHO. I am sure Ms. Rosin is a great journalist, and I applaud how she was able to infiltrate PHC and never lose sight of her ideals. However, I really found it a chore to get through this relatively short book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pat Roberts

    The problem with ultra-liberals is that they can be so intolerant. I found Rosen's observations regarding the students of Patrick Henry College to be smirky. At least in the beginning of the book, she let's the reader know loud and clear that she doesn't care for home schooling. In fact, one is led to believe that home schoolers are just plain weird. She pokes fun at the values of the Evangelical Christian students' families. Let me list those values for you: 1) Academic excellence of their chil The problem with ultra-liberals is that they can be so intolerant. I found Rosen's observations regarding the students of Patrick Henry College to be smirky. At least in the beginning of the book, she let's the reader know loud and clear that she doesn't care for home schooling. In fact, one is led to believe that home schoolers are just plain weird. She pokes fun at the values of the Evangelical Christian students' families. Let me list those values for you: 1) Academic excellence of their children. 2) Modesty of dress. 3) Prayer 4) Measuring what is watched on television and at movies. The list could be longer, but you get the picture. Now if any of this bothers anyone, let's see what the alternatives are in many families: 1) Poor school performance 2) Kids AND parents dressing like tramps, even when going to church 3) Absence of spirituality at home 4) Entire family has an eye on 2-1/2 Men and other garbage on television. Is the Evangelical lifestyle a bit over the top? Perhaps. But more power to those who want to live that lifestyle and who strive for high standards. The Evangelicals feel the world is going to hell in a handbasket. That is a hard one to debate.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Besim

    Important read for anyone who cares about religion, education, parenting, or politics in the West. Rosin did her best to remain neutral but there was a clear slight biased to those wanting a more liberal culture at PHC. For those that think PHC is a failed attempt, are probably being a bit myopic. There are obvious struggles early on but it seems to be more of growing pains than anything else. It's obvious that there are clear problems at the core of PHC's mission but you can't help but sympathi Important read for anyone who cares about religion, education, parenting, or politics in the West. Rosin did her best to remain neutral but there was a clear slight biased to those wanting a more liberal culture at PHC. For those that think PHC is a failed attempt, are probably being a bit myopic. There are obvious struggles early on but it seems to be more of growing pains than anything else. It's obvious that there are clear problems at the core of PHC's mission but you can't help but sympathize with parents who are sick of the dumbed-down, overly-liberal, anti-classical education that public schools have been killing our kids with. They just want to preserve some religious values in their children while at the same time providing a superior education. PHC gets my respect for doing something to change problems facing the education of our youth. It's time that we all start taking a hard look at what we plan to do to fix our broken education system and come up with solutions to counter PHC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    While the author is clearly troubled by the Christian Right, this book actually seems a backhand compliment to the school. If only society in general could get the same things right that PHC does.

  14. 4 out of 5

    A.

    I picked this up partly because a couple people I worked with at camp when I was in my late teens attended PHC. One of them started during the time Rosin was doing her research. We haven't stayed in touch, so I don't know what his experience of the events at the school during that time was, but the connection was enough to make me curious. I attended Trinity Western University, a Christian university in Canada that has some similarities with PHC (Christian, evangelical, politically-involved), bu I picked this up partly because a couple people I worked with at camp when I was in my late teens attended PHC. One of them started during the time Rosin was doing her research. We haven't stayed in touch, so I don't know what his experience of the events at the school during that time was, but the connection was enough to make me curious. I attended Trinity Western University, a Christian university in Canada that has some similarities with PHC (Christian, evangelical, politically-involved), but is a drastically different sort of school, so reading this and contrasting my own education with PHC's was interesting. I felt like Rosin was very thoughtful in her portrayal of the students she interviewed. It was an interesting glimpse into the world of PHC and into some of the culture that's shaped the current state of US politics.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christian McGuire

    A very useful look at the early years of my college's history. Should be required reading for all Patrick Henry College students.

  16. 4 out of 5

    jill

    Interesting, quick read. I liked the sections in which Rosin focused on the student body. I felt like she did a good job of picking kids to whom she was sympathetic enough to be able to portray as normal and likeable, even if they believed things she obviously finds batshit insane. She also did a good job of showing the diversity of opinion amongst the student body. I think often people hear "evangelical Christian" (or "liberal feminist," or "libertarian", etc.) and think of that group as some h Interesting, quick read. I liked the sections in which Rosin focused on the student body. I felt like she did a good job of picking kids to whom she was sympathetic enough to be able to portray as normal and likeable, even if they believed things she obviously finds batshit insane. She also did a good job of showing the diversity of opinion amongst the student body. I think often people hear "evangelical Christian" (or "liberal feminist," or "libertarian", etc.) and think of that group as some homogenous block of opinion. It makes it harder to dismiss or demonize a group when you have to look at more specific facets of what that can mean. And, let's face it, this is a book aimed at an audience that is overwhelmingly dismissive and/or demonizing of the community she is portraying. I also liked the parts when Rosin focused on the specific approaches professors took to their subjects. It was interesting to see the biology professor admit that she has to use a mainstream, evolution based textbook, because "there are no good" creationist biology texts. The whole section, admittedly kind of an aside from the main point of the book, on young earth creationism and baraminology, a non-Linnean approach to biological classification, was intriguiging. If you set aside hundreds of years of scientific thinking as being flawed, it opens up whole new possibilities. I can see how that would be exciting. My main problem with the book is structural. The end focuses on a clash between the founder of the college and some of the faculty members, which is undoubtedly an important element of the year and a half she spent researching that college. However, the book doesn't really lay any ground work for this division in the first part of the book, so when it comes, it comes out of nowhere. It's a conflict between strong personalities in a small community, so of course it's dramatic and over-the-top. Rosin adds to the melodrama of the situation in her writing choices; the major break between one popular professor and the founder is set in a thunderstorm. (I'm not saying that isn't an accurate reflection of the weather, but the writing is kind of hysterical at this point; I wish I had Lani's copy of the book with me so I could quote it.) I appreciate that she probably only found out about some of the inter-staff tensions that led up to the major public conflict in retrospect, and perhaps she wanted it to be shocking to the reader in the way it probably was to her and, especially, to the student body. Also, I understand why she would choose to focus on the students and their lifestyles separately from staff issues. Yet the result of not exploring these issues a bit earlier in the book is a final section (except an epilogue following up with some of the students) that feels disjointed from and way more negative than the rest of the book. It could be a result of turning several shorter articles into a book, as the author is a Washington Post reporter who seems to have written about the college several times, but I just didn't like the way that section was handled. Overall, though, it gave me a lot to think about.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maren

    This book was a quick read and a satisfying one. Hanna Rosin is an extremely accessible writer and I mean that as a compliment and not as shorthand for, "not very challenging". She hits just the right tone between objective inquiry and gentle (and appropriate) judgment of her subject, which is a small Christian college made up of mostly former home schooled students. She's at her best when she profiles individuals and she makes the solid choice to settle on a select few to follow through the sch This book was a quick read and a satisfying one. Hanna Rosin is an extremely accessible writer and I mean that as a compliment and not as shorthand for, "not very challenging". She hits just the right tone between objective inquiry and gentle (and appropriate) judgment of her subject, which is a small Christian college made up of mostly former home schooled students. She's at her best when she profiles individuals and she makes the solid choice to settle on a select few to follow through the school - none of which fit into typecast roles, which a lesser writer might have been compelled to force. As a result, the cross-section of life that she ends up depicting is really nuanced, so, as a reader, I was pulled in to a world by which I normally would have found myself repelled. Make no mistake, though, this is not at all Hanna Rosin's attempt to make these people more real in the hopes that you will either sympathize with them or want to be their friends. You get the sense as you're reading, from the very beginning when she mentions how many times and in how many different ways her Judaism came into play when she interviewed these students, that there is an undercurrent of danger running through what most would dismiss as "a faith/world of which everyone should be tolerant". The aspect of "A Christian College on a Mission to Save America" is not just a throwaway sub-heading meant to garner book sales; Rosin truly returns again and again, more so by the end of the book than the beginning, to the highly politicized nature of the school and its community. She mentions the starting statistic that out of 300 students chosen to intern at the White House each year, a regular group of about 5 are chosen from this school, making them similar in representation to Ivy League (and non religiously affiliated) schools such as Georgetown and Harvard. The school's active pushing of their students into White House and other government internships (such as CIA and FBI posts) is unnerving if only because most of these students have been so sheltered their entire lives that one feels as if they've been groomed as soldiers to fight in a war whose connotations many of them may not truly understand. As a result, it's interesting to read about the few professors who attempted to truly reconcile deep faith with academic inquiry and how quickly they were ousted from the university as a chunk. What I liked the most about this book was how original it felt - muckraking stories about religious institutions are all the rage now and Rosin manages to create something that feels unique even in the midst of this cultural moment we're having. You may not be entirely surprised by what you read, but it's definitely something that bears a look. I truly enjoyed it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    Next on the list: God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America, a book by Hanna Rosin that provides a look into Patrick Henry College, a small conservative Christian school whose aim is to raise up the young Christian leaders of tomorrow. Some of the beliefs expressed in the book go right along with the stereotypes, such as that they’re all Bush lovers, anti-choice, and creationists. But Rosin goes beyond that to get at how these students ended up Patrick Henry College, and wh Next on the list: God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America, a book by Hanna Rosin that provides a look into Patrick Henry College, a small conservative Christian school whose aim is to raise up the young Christian leaders of tomorrow. Some of the beliefs expressed in the book go right along with the stereotypes, such as that they’re all Bush lovers, anti-choice, and creationists. But Rosin goes beyond that to get at how these students ended up Patrick Henry College, and what kept them there or drove them out. School politics enter the arena, and we begin to see that even a school with such high, Godly aims still experiences drama and chaos. We also see that not all students are fully convinced that this is the way to go, though some become more surefooted in their paths to Christian greatness. We learn about the rebels, who in other schools might still be considered the most straight-laced of the bunch. And we see how they negotiate their Christian faiths with their ambitions in politics and media. A constant theme in this book is the push and pull between Christian education and beliefs, and the realm outside of it. Students are encouraged to monitor themselves and their peers’ behavior regarding sin, such as listening to music with swears in it or watching movies with nudity or excessive bathroom humor. Yet at the same time, as they venture into politics and other fields, they inevitably encounter others who do not subscribe to the same exact beliefs and are okay with drinking, smoking, and other vices. The founder of Patrick Henry, Michael Harris, seems to be in a constant battle between tightening the reins on his professors and students, and letting them loose that they they may know the “enemy.” What we end up finding out is that even Christians with Godly intentions still get embroiled in drama and internal politics that can bring the system down. Even students at Patrick Henry have the occasional sneaky alcoholic drink, and they find their own ways to be rebels. Some even questions their beliefs or change them throughout their studies and end up following different paths. Others become even stronger in their faiths and determined to change the culture of the country to fit their visions. It’s a fascinating world to look into, and Rosin does a great job of presenting it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Before I read this book I was afraid that Patrick Henry College would succeed in changing American culture. I'm just about done with it now, and I no longer fear this because secular influence is so strong. Most of the kids in this book Fell before they even graduated and I have no doubt that the vast majority of them will Fall before they gain any real power. A few crazies will make it to the promised land, but a few secular crazies will also, so it all balances. I have a friend who also went to Before I read this book I was afraid that Patrick Henry College would succeed in changing American culture. I'm just about done with it now, and I no longer fear this because secular influence is so strong. Most of the kids in this book Fell before they even graduated and I have no doubt that the vast majority of them will Fall before they gain any real power. A few crazies will make it to the promised land, but a few secular crazies will also, so it all balances. I have a friend who also went to a Christian college and the disdain he had for this place was palpable. I was earnestly surprised at how misogynistic the culture at Patrick Henry was, but I don't think it was overtly intentional, it's just the way of things and very matter of fact. Look at it like this: Patrick Henry's founder was a big proponent of homeschooling, which is typically (always?) done by the mother. The owner marketted his college to the home-schoolers, so the campus (about 250 people) is full of home-schooled children. Well, when they start "courting" each other (courting is like dating, only you have to get married more quickly) and have babies, uh...what do you think the women are going to be doing? Going off and having really successful careers? Doubtful. There's also the idea of "stumbling" which I thought was an absolute HOOT because it sounds so very much like Sharia law. Women in evangelical colleges are not to "stumble" men by being loose, or showing too much skin. See, if the womenfolk start wearing spaghetti straps, that makes the menfolk think of sex, instead of god. And that's just no good! They don't go so far as to make them wear burkhas, but I don't think this changes the underlying point - women corrupt men. It started with the apple, and it continues today with their bodies. It was really interesting to read about a different culture. It was also reassuring to see that this culture was, essentially, a rip-off of mainstream culture and that the information age saved a lot of these kids from a life filled with cognitive dissonence. The longer you stare into the abyss, the longer the abyss stares into you. Thing is...the abyss ain't so bad - it's part of the human condition. Master it, or be ruled by it, the choice is yours.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lani

    I read this probably a year ago (or more even?) and just kept putting off a review because I had so much I wanted to say about it. At this point, I don't really remember what I wanted to say anymore, so I guess I may as well clear out my currently-reading list. Basically, I grabbed this because its about a school located very close to my parents' house. I'd never heard of it, and the title was interesting. I thought it was FASCINATING. Rather like the movie Jesus Camp in that it revealed Christian I read this probably a year ago (or more even?) and just kept putting off a review because I had so much I wanted to say about it. At this point, I don't really remember what I wanted to say anymore, so I guess I may as well clear out my currently-reading list. Basically, I grabbed this because its about a school located very close to my parents' house. I'd never heard of it, and the title was interesting. I thought it was FASCINATING. Rather like the movie Jesus Camp in that it revealed Christian fundamentalists that I wasn't fully aware existed. I didn't think the book was overly negative in tone, though many of the people interviewed did plenty of damage on their own. Some of the kids were downright creepy, but I at least respect that they are able to pursue higher education in a welcoming community and most of them seem VERY passionate about their future and the future of the country - even if it isn't necessarily a future I agree with. Absolutely worth a read if you enjoyed Jesus Camp, or if you are intrigued by Christian fundamentalism. I'm not sure how the people represented in the book feel - is it an accurate depiction? I'd be curious to know. I'll have to pick it up again sometime and reevaluate. ***** Read 7/29/2013 My early review still stands pretty well. It's not the best book structurally, but it's definitely interesting enough to make up for it. On this time through I was particularly intrigued by the struggles that the female students were having with their future roles.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I had listened to an audio recording of this book shortly after it came out and re-read it (on Kindle) for a book discussion. Hanna Rosin was an embedded reporter at Patrick Henry College, an evangelical college offering government and liberal arts courses of study. Rosin did a very good job at portraying the administration, faculty and (especially) the students in a sympathetic light They came across as likable, and I felt myself wishing them happiness and success even though I personally find I had listened to an audio recording of this book shortly after it came out and re-read it (on Kindle) for a book discussion. Hanna Rosin was an embedded reporter at Patrick Henry College, an evangelical college offering government and liberal arts courses of study. Rosin did a very good job at portraying the administration, faculty and (especially) the students in a sympathetic light They came across as likable, and I felt myself wishing them happiness and success even though I personally find their goals antithetical to my own. I found the discussion of the scientific teachings to be fascinating. I never previously understood how one could have scientific training and retain a literal biblical worldview. Now I understand it; to them, the truth of the bible is a fact. The more scientifically grounded of the creationists understand that all of the physical evidence is consistent with evolution. They simply believe that science just hasn't reconciled it yet. They're not intellectually dishonest; they simply are unable to apply their training to the dogma of their faith. So, they labor on in the belief that all will be reconciled. Although I liked "God's Harvard," I couldn't help but wish that the inherent tension between liberal arts and evangelical dogmatism was discussed in greater detail. Indeed, much of this book was pretty superficial (I read it in about a day). Still, I would consider this a "must read" for those concerned about separation of church and state issues. These kids are motivated, and they're acquiring some real skills at PHC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I was first introduced to Patrick Henry college through my brother whom was given a grant by the Homeschooling Defense (something or another), from that time forward the premise of this college has completely intrigued me and so I was very eager to read Rosin's work. Rosin does not hide her skepticism of PHC, and while she duly notes her biased nature, I found the book to lack the facts and startling statistics that makes PHC different from other distinctly Christian colleges. The fact that PHC i I was first introduced to Patrick Henry college through my brother whom was given a grant by the Homeschooling Defense (something or another), from that time forward the premise of this college has completely intrigued me and so I was very eager to read Rosin's work. Rosin does not hide her skepticism of PHC, and while she duly notes her biased nature, I found the book to lack the facts and startling statistics that makes PHC different from other distinctly Christian colleges. The fact that PHC is home to students who score perfect scores on their SATS and students who have the most successful record for their lobbied bills is just a scratch in the surface. I also found it interesting that Rosin did one go into any detail at all regarding the accreditation battle the school went through in 2002 and brilliantly one using their constitutional law expertise. All in all, I eventually grow used to the author's tongue in cheek rhetoric and came to the realization that if PHC was just another run of the mill Christian college were girls go to get their MRS degrees and guys attend to get their ministry degrees no one would have batted an eyelash, however PHC's success in the world of government and entertainment has caused the main stream to stop and take notice. (and that is exactly what Ferris wants...he really did win in the end)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beckie

    Patrick Henry College was founded less than ten years ago to be the Ivy League equivalent for home-schooled, conservative Evangelicals who want to "change the culture" by working in the White House, on the Hill, or in Hollywood. Hanna Rosin, who has covered religion for the Washington Post, is even-handed in her treatment of the whole concept, though she does let the reader know what she thinks of it all from time to time. Rosin is Jewish and was born in Israel. For the most part, I think her own Patrick Henry College was founded less than ten years ago to be the Ivy League equivalent for home-schooled, conservative Evangelicals who want to "change the culture" by working in the White House, on the Hill, or in Hollywood. Hanna Rosin, who has covered religion for the Washington Post, is even-handed in her treatment of the whole concept, though she does let the reader know what she thinks of it all from time to time. Rosin is Jewish and was born in Israel. For the most part, I think her own background is an advantage: she never strays into arguing that the Patrick Henry model is, or isn't, the right way for Christians to engage in the world, as a Christian writer would be sorely tempted to do. She has a solid background knowledge of religion, but isn't so mired in Evangelical culture that she forgets to explain it to the reader. Along the way, students, faculty and administrators who remarkably gave Rosin incredible access go through revisions to their strict behavioral code, navigate school-encouraged courtship relationships, wrestle with the tension between fundamentalist religion and the liberal arts and watch their power base of Conservative-Christian-endorsed politicians recede. The book really picks up when the most popular members of the faculty butt heads with the college's president, from that point on I couldn't put it down.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jodi Jacobson

    Terrific book. Rosin examines the evangelical Christian right from inside Patrick Henry College, a school created primarily for homeschooled Christian right students, with the intention of building the leadership necessary to take over the country (literally). Rosin appears to have won the trust of enough of the students, as well as Michael Farris, the founder of the homeschooling movement, and of PHC, to get an inside perspective on the school, the students, and the families from which they com Terrific book. Rosin examines the evangelical Christian right from inside Patrick Henry College, a school created primarily for homeschooled Christian right students, with the intention of building the leadership necessary to take over the country (literally). Rosin appears to have won the trust of enough of the students, as well as Michael Farris, the founder of the homeschooling movement, and of PHC, to get an inside perspective on the school, the students, and the families from which they come. The book provides a unique look into a deeply patriarchal culture in which gender norms are strongly proscribed and though women get an education, it is basically in service of their role as helpmeet to the men they expect to marry and who in turn are supposed to eventually take over the United States as political leaders. The book explores the deep commitment of PHC to using politics to change laws and policies such that they accord with fundamentalist evangelical beliefs and practices. The entire book was an interesting, engaging read. At the end, Rosin talks to some of the couples who met and courted at PHC and eventually married after graduating. I was sorry the book did not go further because it was evident in the conversations with these couples that the women were already having problems sublimating themselves to their husbands.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    The book is about Patrick Henry's College (never had heard of it) for fundamentalist homeschooled college age students who dream of entering politics and love George Bush...The author follows some of the 350 students for a year and tries to explain founder Michael Ferris' experiment to train a new generation of religious right to take over top political positions and influence political and social thinking. Surprising that they shared anything with the liberal, nonpracticing jewish author, but s The book is about Patrick Henry's College (never had heard of it) for fundamentalist homeschooled college age students who dream of entering politics and love George Bush...The author follows some of the 350 students for a year and tries to explain founder Michael Ferris' experiment to train a new generation of religious right to take over top political positions and influence political and social thinking. Surprising that they shared anything with the liberal, nonpracticing jewish author, but she was able to gain insights into their thoughts and life at college. The college's biggest challenge is in preparing the overprotected homeschoolers for the big bad world of politics which they enter almost immediately as interns and campaigners. So, can the graduates of Patrick Henry College handle the task of converting, reforming, and transforming a "godless" culture once they are out of the protected environment of the academy? It is an interesting book, could be disturbing, but since we are still talking about a very small segment of society, hopefully these young fundamentalists still have time to find a better role model than George Bush and team

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Hanna Rosin, an Israeli-born Jew, finds herself "catnip" to the students and faculty of Patrick Henry, the select college for home-schooled evangelical kids; they are on a mission to convert everyone in the world to born-again Christianity and espousing another religion offers no immunity. Rosin is a terrific writer; she very much likes the students (one stayed for several months in her home in D.C.) and seems as terrified as I am that religious fanaticism is inculcated at such a putatively high Hanna Rosin, an Israeli-born Jew, finds herself "catnip" to the students and faculty of Patrick Henry, the select college for home-schooled evangelical kids; they are on a mission to convert everyone in the world to born-again Christianity and espousing another religion offers no immunity. Rosin is a terrific writer; she very much likes the students (one stayed for several months in her home in D.C.) and seems as terrified as I am that religious fanaticism is inculcated at such a putatively high level of intellectual life. Patrick Henry has a political mission -- it sent a lot of kids to internships at the Bush White House and to Congress; most of the kids are veterans of numerous political campaigns, from local elections to those in 2006 engineered by Karl Rove. They want all of America to revert back to the (imagined) past where everybody was Christian, Republican and heterosexual. Oh yes, and where women did not work and were submissive to men. Unbelievably, one of the big issues on campus is the assumption that most women will get their education, marry, have kids and stay home to school them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Even the least politically aware Americans among us cannot fail to see the dramatic rise of the Christian Right in the last few decades. Extremists have taken center stage in a way that they hadn't since the days of Scopes. God's Harvard profiles Patrick Henry College, one of the educational bastions of this movement, and it's students. Although Rosin makes her own religous and political views clear from the beginning, she does a good job of presenting a balanced view of PHC. She does not treat Even the least politically aware Americans among us cannot fail to see the dramatic rise of the Christian Right in the last few decades. Extremists have taken center stage in a way that they hadn't since the days of Scopes. God's Harvard profiles Patrick Henry College, one of the educational bastions of this movement, and it's students. Although Rosin makes her own religous and political views clear from the beginning, she does a good job of presenting a balanced view of PHC. She does not treat it as an abnormality, something which would be quite easy to do. One of the most important questions this book poses is whether an evangelical Christian worldview is really compatible with higher education. While Rosin refrains overtly stating her view, it seems clear from the students and professors she presents that this compatibility is anything but certain. It is telling that many of the rock stars of PHC have departed--or been driven out. Still, it is undeniable that PHC is, at least in some circles, a force to be reckoned with. It will be interesting to see what the coming years bring for this college, and for our country.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    An "outsider's" insider view of Patrick Henry College. Which, near as I can tell from reading the book, is for homeschooled, evangelical, right winged, politically motivated students. Wow, scary stuff and a very fascinating read. Because of my own evangelical leanings (I hate labels) and the fact that I homeschool my kids I found this book on one level to be embarrassing. Kind of like "yessh, I can't believe I have basic beliefs in common with these people". However, it is in Rosin's honest and An "outsider's" insider view of Patrick Henry College. Which, near as I can tell from reading the book, is for homeschooled, evangelical, right winged, politically motivated students. Wow, scary stuff and a very fascinating read. Because of my own evangelical leanings (I hate labels) and the fact that I homeschool my kids I found this book on one level to be embarrassing. Kind of like "yessh, I can't believe I have basic beliefs in common with these people". However, it is in Rosin's honest and sometimes embarrassing descriptions of the students & their families, faculty and administration where the book really shines. The "characters" are real people and she portrays them as such, without caricature or judgement. Against the backdrop of the birth and growing pains of Patrick Henry College she chronicles the personal growth, failings & achievements of the people that make the college what it is. She is honest in her writing and the people are real - intelligent, kind, stupid, honorable, devious, courageous, struggling & discovering - and that is what I liked most about the book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MissJessie

    Patrick Henry University - breeding place for the next conservative government -- at least, that's the plan. The students there are determined, driven, and intend to change the course of current American politics and government. I found this book to be very informative and in some ways entertaining -- but really, a little bit depressing. I am a conservative myself, but I can't quite countenance the extreme idea(l)s driven into the student's every cell. The intention of the founder seems to me to Patrick Henry University - breeding place for the next conservative government -- at least, that's the plan. The students there are determined, driven, and intend to change the course of current American politics and government. I found this book to be very informative and in some ways entertaining -- but really, a little bit depressing. I am a conservative myself, but I can't quite countenance the extreme idea(l)s driven into the student's every cell. The intention of the founder seems to me to be a good one, but he seems to have gone way over the edge in protecting his students from the evil ways of the world. That said, the education itself seems fairly good, given the good internships these kids seem to obtain. But I question whether or not any of the graduates have a balanced enough experience of and view of life as it really is, sex, rock and roll, TV, homosexuality, miniskirts and all, to be truly able to change the country. In the end, I almost hope they don't succeed in doing so.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    I bought this book for $1 at Barnes and Noble. I had a passing interest in Patrick Henry College. I knew that PHC caters to Evangelical homeschooled students. Hanna Rosin focuses on a handful of students in her year long research of PHC. Rosin is upfront about her politics and views and they clash with the right-leaning PHC crowd. I was interested in the school's liberal arts program having attended a small liberal arts school for a while. After reading this, I'm not sure how I feel about the sc I bought this book for $1 at Barnes and Noble. I had a passing interest in Patrick Henry College. I knew that PHC caters to Evangelical homeschooled students. Hanna Rosin focuses on a handful of students in her year long research of PHC. Rosin is upfront about her politics and views and they clash with the right-leaning PHC crowd. I was interested in the school's liberal arts program having attended a small liberal arts school for a while. After reading this, I'm not sure how I feel about the school. It's almost fundamentalist in nature. There's a chapter about the Biology department and some of the Young Earth studies. (That could be a whole other book.) The college tends to focus on politics and how the Christian student can change the culture working in Washington. Perhaps I'm just not too motivated by politics. I felt pretty ho-hum about the school after reading the book and I wonder how objective Hanna Rosin was in her assessment of the school.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.