Book Review: If You Can Keep It

If You Can Keep It:  The Forgotten Promise Of American Liberty, by Eric Metaxas

There are at least a few aspects of this book that are worthy of comment.  It is a quick read, and demonstrates Metaxas’ love of the United States as well as his commitment to the preservation of the republic in these difficult times, a commitment that includes critique as well as deep love for this country.  The book is also one that encourages further reading.  In looking at this book one can see some similar points to the author’s other works [1], from his works about politics to his children’s books about American history.  Metaxas is an author who knows how to use insights gained in researching one book to help with other writing efforts, the sign of an immensely efficient writer, at any rate.  And there is no doubting the significance of this book, in that it examines what is necessary for America to preserve its freedom and its responsible self-government, coming up with some solutions that are not going to make some people very happy to see it put on paper, particularly his comments about virtue, which are sufficient for this to be worth reading.

This book is a bit more than 250 pages, and is divided into seven chapters.  After the book’s introduction on the promise of America, first the author examines the idea of America and points out that America (almost) unique in being based on a creed rather than on ancestry or coercion as has been the case in nations and empires of the past and present (1).  After that the author looks at the “Golden Triangle” of freedom, an idea based on another author’s work, in which freedom, virtue, and faith are interdependent as part of a virtuous cycle (2).  Then there is a look at the important role of Whitfield in encouraging American independence and self-identity (3) as well as a discussion of the importance of venerating our heroes and in cultivating genuine heroism ourselves (4).  There is a discussion of the importance of moral leadership, something which has unfortunately fallen by the wayside in our corrupt times (5), before the author closes this book with a discussion of Lincoln (and others’) contentions about America being an “almost chosen people” (6), as well as what it means to love America, a finely balanced and tricky area to maintain.  After that the author gives a brief epilogue along with some acknowledgements and notes.

Can this republic be kept?  It is not a straightforward question to ask, but the author seems to be a bit pessimistic and it is easy to understand why.  If freedom requires virtue and virtue requires faith and faith requires freedom, it is difficult to see how our generation will preserve any of those.  Godly religious faith is being viewed with increasing unfriendliness because of its demands upon us with regards to virtue that many people are simply no longer willing even to listen to or read, much less struggle to obey, and without godly people it is difficult to imagine freedom being able to endure, not least when there is so little faith in other people or in the goodness of government, to say nothing of God and of His judgment.  Overall, there is a lot in this book that should give a reader pause, as it manages to ask some tough questions both to those who are blind to the flaws of our nation and also to the fact that our nation and its heroes deserve our love, and not only our carping criticism about how they have failed to meet our standards.  Perhaps we should be more conscious of how we are failing them as well.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Book Reviews, Christianity, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Book Review: If You Can Keep It

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Pirates Who Usually Don’t Do Anything | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s