HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Faith of the Presidents
Author: Anne E Schraff
Illustrator: Don Kueker
Publisher: Concordia Pub. House, 1978
ISBN-13: 978-0570078777 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0570078776 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0570078821 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0570078822 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Schraff, Anne E. The Faith of the Presidents (published in 1978 by Concordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118). This book, part of Concordia’s “Greatness with Faith” series, contains biographical sketches of ten United States Presidents focusing on their deep religious beliefs and inspirational moments in their lives. They include John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin VanBuren, John Tyler, James Buchanan, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley. One need not agree with all their political views to appreciate the influence of religion in their lives. In the Prolog author Anne Elaine Schraff , who grew up in Cleveland, OH, received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University at Northridge, and taught high school for ten years, explains why there are no chapters on George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and all twentieth century Presidents.
Various common denominational practices are mentioned, such as baptizing babies and calling a preacher “pastor.” However, in addition to emphasizing these Presidents’ faith in God, there are also side lessons about maintaining a clear conscience, purity before marriage, drinking alcohol, exhibiting honesty and integrity, smoking, swearing, and gambling. Also, how many of the earlier Presidents played a part in the eventual abolition of slavery is reviewed. In the Epilog, two more Presidents who relied on their religious faith in times of personal and national crisis, Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson, are cited, and the purpose of the book is explained. “Many examples from the lives of the Presidents could be given to show that men of politics need not be godless.” Certainly, these vignettes from our nation’s glorious history are a welcome contrast to the present administration, which many think is about as godless as they come.