There is perhaps no more compelling example of the power of words than Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. In merely 272 words, Lincoln gave the nation "a new birth of freedom" by tracing its history to the Declaration of Independence, as well as incorporating elements of the Greek revival and Transcendentalism. Garry Wills breathes news life into words we thought we knew and reveals much about a President so easily mythologized but often misunderstood.
"A Review in 292"
In what are billed "culture wars", people on the political right and the political left cite Jesus as endorsing their views. Garry Wills argues that Jesus subscribed to no political program. He was far more radical than that. In a fresh reading of the gospels, Wills explores the meaning of the "reign of heaven" that Jesus not only promised for the future but brought with him into this life.
"The best book on Jesus I've read."
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope and the first from the Americas, offers a challenge to his Church. Can he bring about significant change? Should he? Garry Wills argues that changes have been the evidence of life in the Catholic Church. It has often changed, sometimes with bad consequences, more often with good - good enough to make it perdure. In this brilliant and incisive study, he gives seven examples of deep and serious changes that have taken place within the last century.
"Not even close to Catholic Theology"
Throughout history, Christians have debated Paul's influence in the church. Though revered, Paul has also been controversial. In this masterly analysis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Garry Wills chronicles Paul's tremendous influence on the first explosion of Christian belief, the controversy surrounding Paul through the centuries, and the meaning of his words.
For centuries, Augustine's writings have moved and fascinated readers. With the keen eye of a writer whose own intellectual analysis won him a Pulitzer Prize, Gary Wills examines this famed fourth-century bishop and seminal thinker whose grounding in classical philosophy informed his interpretation of Christian doctrine. Saint Augustine explores Augustine's thought as well as the everyday man who set pen to parchment. It challenges many misconceptions.
New York Times best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills, a two-time National Book Critics Circle Award winner, takes a bold and fresh look at Thomas Jefferson. Negro President reveals just how strong slave influence was on determining Jefferson’s policies. Through thorough research Wills shows precisely how this “slave power” helped shape the course of a fledgling nation.
"Interesting Book with a Misleading Title"
Bestselling author of Papal Sin and Why I Am a Catholic, Garry Wills spent five years as a young man at a Jesuit seminary and nearly became a priest himself. But after a lifetime of study and reflection, he now poses some challenging questions: Why do we need priests at all? Why did the priesthood arise in a religion that began without it and opposed it? Would Christianity be stronger without the priesthood, as it was at its outset?
"An eye opening read"
The eternal conundrum about James Madison - a key framer of the U.S. Constitution, a formidable political figure, and a man of penetrating analytical intellect and tremendous foresight - is why, when he became chief executive, did he steer the ship of state with such an unsteady hand? In this examination of Madison's life and career, Garry Wills outlines the union of unfortunate circumstance, misplaced temperament, and outright poor judgment that bogged down Madison's presidency.
"Biography Is OK"
In Bomb Power, Garry Wills reveals how the atomic bomb transformed our nation down to its deepest constitutional roots - by dramatically increasing the power of the modern presidency and redefining the government as a national security state---in ways still felt today. A masterful reckoning from one of America's preeminent historians, Bomb Power draws a direct line from the Manhattan Project to the usurpations of George W. Bush.
The struggle within American Christianity, Garry Wills argues, now and throughout our country's history, is between the head and the heart: between reason and emotion, Enlightenment and Evangelism. Why has this been so? How has the tension between the two poles played out, and with what consequences, over the past 400 years? How "Christian" is America, after all? Wills brings a lifetime's worth of thought about these questions to bear on a magnificent historical reckoning.
Bookish and retiring, Garry Wills has been an outsider in the academy, in journalism, even in his church. Yet these qualities have, paradoxically, prompted people to share intimate insights with him - perhaps because he is not a rival, a competitor, or a threat. The result is the most personal book Wills has ever written.