Catalogue


God and Hillary Clinton : a spiritual life /
Paul Kengor.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : HarperCollins, c2007.
description
xiii, 334 p.
ISBN
0061136921 (hardcover), 9780061136924 (hardcover)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : HarperCollins, c2007.
isbn
0061136921 (hardcover)
9780061136924 (hardcover)
catalogue key
6251219
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
God and Hillary Clinton
A Spiritual Life

Chapter One

Park Ridge Methodist

Hugh Ellsworth Rodham was tough as nails. Born in 1911, he grew up in the mining town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and managed to get himself educated during the Great Depression by winning a football scholarship to Penn State University, where he studied physical education. Phys ed looked like a good choice for Hugh, and had he chosen that path he might have matched the image that many young men have of a high school gym teacher who barks out instructions and calls them “ladies,” generally questioning their manhood until they successfully bean a classmate or two in the head with a dodgeball.

Hugh, however, did not follow that road. Instead, he graduated from Penn State with his bachelor’s degree in education in 1935 and went to work in the mines—the expected course for the Rodhams of Scranton—before later joining his father in the notably less dismal Scranton Lace Company. Still not content with the gray mining and manufacturing town, he packed his bags and began hopping on and off freight cars all the way to Chicago, where he found employment selling curtains at the Columbia Lace Company. It was in that capacity that he spotted a young lady named Dorothy.

Eight years younger than Hugh, Dorothy Emma Howell had a disturbing childhood. Born to a fifteen-year-old mother and a seventeen-year-old father in Chicago in 1919, little Dorothy saw her parents divorce in 1927. Her mother, Della, sent eight-year-old Dorothy along with her three-year-old sister across the country by train on a four-day trek, reportedly with no adult accompaniment, to a small town near Los Angeles, where the children lived with a badgering, cruel grandmother who criticized the innocent girls’ every move.

By the time Dorothy turned fourteen, she had found life in her grandmother’s home intolerable. Without much ceremony, the young woman grabbed her one blouse, one skirt, and one sweater—her entire wardrobe at the time—and sought employment as a mother’s helper for two children at a nearby home. The job paid $3 a week, but it also gave her room and board, an experience that gave Dorothy the chance to discover what love between parents and their children was supposed to look like. It was a literally life-changing experience for Dorothy, and years later Hillary would say that her “mother often told me that without that sojourn with a strong family, she would not have known how to care for her own home and children.”1

As she worked to help the family, Dorothy continued to attend high school. The young girl loved to read and hoped somehow to attend college, but shortly after Dorothy’s successful completion of high school, Della got in touch with her daughter. Della, who was still living in Chicago, had remarried, and according to Della, her new husband promised to pay for Dorothy to attend college back in Illinois. Eager to learn and aspiring to be a part of a family like the one she had worked for, Dorothy arrived “home” to find that Della, a weak basket case of a woman, had lied. The whole situation had been a cruel hoax to try and lure Dorothy back to Chicago so that she could work as a housekeeper for Della. Sadly, her mother could not have cared less about giving her an education.2

Despite her mother’s attempt to put Dorothy to work, the young woman refused to be ensnared, opting instead to go off on her own once again. It did not take her long to find an apartment, and soon after she began searching for a low-paying office job to pay her rent. She was in the middle of her search, filling out an application for a position as a clerk-typist at a textile company, when she caught the eye of a traveling salesman named Hugh Rodham. That one glance was all it took, and the couple courted for a while before marrying in early 1942.

Hugh continued his sales job through the war years, but contributed his part to the war effort, serving his country as a trainer for navy recruits sent abroad to fight in the Pacific theater. In these efforts, he applied the same tenacity that had made him a successful competitor on the football field, barking orders at young men and forcing them to push their bodies to the brink. Hugh took great pride in this form of military service, and though he did not see combat or ever travel abroad to fight, he rose to the rank of chief petty officer in the navy.

When World War II ended, Hugh started a drapery-fabric business called Rodrik Fabrics in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago’s Loop. By 1950, his company was thriving, and he was suddenly able to give Dorothy the comfort and stability she never had and much deserved. He paid cash for a two-story brick house situated on a corner lot between Elm and Wisner streets in the affluent Park Ridge suburb of Chicago. It was a defining move for the young couple, one that offered them the perfect opportunity and location to start raising a family.3

Hillary Rodham was born on October 26, 1947, and three years later her mother gave birth to Hugh Jr., who was followed four years later by Anthony (Tony). Once she gave birth to Hillary, Dorothy became a full-time wife and mother, never working outside the home, and never treating her children or grandchildren the way her mother and grandmother had mistreated her and her siblings. Dorothy showered them with the care and love that had evaded her for much of her adolescence, while Hugh helped to provide a stable and dependable environment for the kids to grow up.

From the start, Hillary seemed born with a strong, determined personality, full of confidence and certitude and tenacity, much like her father. While Dorothy was an influential force among her children, it was Hugh who dominated the family and always made his presence felt within . . .

God and Hillary Clinton
A Spiritual Life
. Copyright © by Paul Kengor. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life by Paul Kengor
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-12-01:
Kengor, a conservative Catholic professor of political science (Grove City Coll., PA) has written several books on religion and politics in modern America. He strongly supports conservative and Republican values, and it is surprising that he has written a book on Hillary Clinton that is neither censorious nor politically hostile. Kengor judges rightly that Clinton's election to the presidency will depend on how much her religious thinking agrees with that of the general American population. He tries to find the roots of her thinking in her faith (liberal Methodism), upbringing (Midwest conservatism), and education (liberal Wellesley and Yale). There is also a discussion of the effects of her husband's past misdeeds. A major flaw in Kengor's well-researched text is that he himself has not interviewed Clinton, which results in his relying too readily on secondary interpretation. It may also be off-putting to some that Kengor depicts liberal Democrats as covert socialists and even insultingly as "fellow-travelers." Those criticisms aside, this book is recommended for all libraries with strong collections in political affairs.-James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2007
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Summaries
Main Description
For over fifteen years, Hillary Clinton has been one of the most polarizing names in politics, but while many writers have taken a close look at her stances on the issues, few have addressed her long-held religious beliefs. Talking with people who witnessed her faith firsthand the author seeks to answer the elusive question: What does Hillary Clinton believe? God and Hillary Clinton intertwines Clinton's spiritual evolution with her personal history, discussing how her Methodist upbringing laid a strong Christian foundation that resulted in her leading Bible studies and prayer throughout her years in the Arkansas Governor's mansion While Clinton's spiritual past is important, it alone does not tell the full story. Here Kengor also delves into the complicated and fraught relationship that has long existed between Clinton's spiritual beliefs and her politics. Exploring how her faith has influenced her secular policies, Kengor looks at which of her religious beliefs appear genuine and which seem rooted in more political ends. In addition, Kengor scrutinizes her clear and undeniable pro-choice stance, examining how she reconciles this controversial issue with her Christian beliefs.
Main Description
For over fifteen years, Hillary Clinton has been one of the most polarizing names in politics, but while many writers have taken a close look at her stances on the issues, few have addressed her longheld religious beliefs. Now, historian Paul Kengor writes the first ever spiritual history of the former first lady, talking with people who witnessed her faith firsthand as he seeks to answer the elusive question: What does Hillary Clinton believe? Based on Kengor's exhaustive research, God and Hillary Clinton intertwines Clinton's spiritual evolution with her personal history, discussing how her Methodist upbringing laid a strong Christian foundation that resulted in her leading Bible studies and prayer throughout her years in the Arkansas Governor's mansion. But although she is unarguably a Christian, Clinton has also encountered periods where she has strayed from her roots. Kengor offers readers some of the stranger revelations about Clinton's spiritual past, elucidating the times in her life when she drifted from the devout, including the erosion of her faith during the 60s and 70s and her experimentation with New Age mysticism in the White House. Furthermore, Kengor closely investigates her religious struggles incited by the Monica Lewinsky scandal as he looks at the spiritual implications of her husband's infidelities. While Clinton's spiritual past is important, it alone does not tell the full story. Here Kengor also delves into the complicated and fraught relationship that has long existed between Clinton's spiritual beliefs and her politics. Exploring how her faith has influenced her secular policies, Kengor looks at which of her religious beliefs appear genuine and which seem rooted in more political ends. In addition, Kengor scrutinizes her clear and undeniable prochoice stance, examining how she reconciles this controversial issue with her Christian beliefs. Blending thorough research and provocative analysis, God and Hillary Clinton is a book on Clinton unlike any otherone that traces her lifelong relationship with Christian practice and addresses her complex connection to faith.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Kengor intertwines Clinton's spiritual evolution with her personal history, discussing how her Methodist upbringing laid a strong Christian foundation that resulted in her leading Bible studies and prayer throughout her years in the Arkansas Governor's mansion.
Long Description
For nearly three decades, political observers have sought to understand the complex relationship between Hillary Clinton's faith and her politics. Now, in this first spiritual biography of the former first lady, acclaimed historian Paul Kengor sets out to answer the elusive question: What does Hillary Clinton believe? Based on exhaustive research, "God and Hillary Clinton" tells the surprising story of Hillary's spiritual evolution, detailing how her lifelong religious beliefs have intertwined with her personal history to make her the politician that she is today. Born into a strict Methodist family and raised on a spiritual diet of private prayer and self-reliance, Hillary, at a young age, used the Methodist Church's emphasis on community service to catalyze her involvement in the changing world. From this unique foundation, Kengor looks at how the chaos of 1960s and 1970s America challenged Hillary's religious underpinnings, as she found herself drifting from her roots. Following her faith through her relationship with an aspiring politician named William Jefferson Clinton, Kengor examines the motivations that eventually led Hillary back to church as first lady of Arkansas and how her revitalized beliefs shaped her time there--from her Bible-study group to her husband's infidelities as governor. Although Hillary endured many hardships in Little Rock, her days in the White House tested her faith like no other time. Sifting through the spiritual impact of Hillary's ill-fated experimentation with New Age mysticism and the disastrous Monica Lewinsky scandal, Kengor investigates how she relied on God for the power to save her marriage and survive the most difficult chapterof her political career. While this spiritual chronology of Clinton's life is important, it does not tell the full story of her belief. Here Kengor fills in the gaps between the facts, analyzing the fraught relationship between her faith and her secular policies--most notably how she reconciles her pro-choice stance on abortion to her Christian beliefs--and scrutinizing how these policies have changed over the course of her political career. What emerges is an unexpected portrait of a political figure whose ideals have been shaped by both the power of her politics and the depth of her faith.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Park Ridge Methodistp. 1
The Don Jones Influencep. 13
Hillary Hits Wellesleyp. 25
God and Woman (and Bill) at Yalep. 37
The First Lady of Arkansasp. 55
Hillary's Causes and Bill's Demonsp. 77
Taking Powerp. 93
The Clintons, the Pope, and Mother Teresap. 121
The Debacle of November 1994p. 133
New Agers and Eleanor's Ghostp. 141
Surviving the Second Termp. 161
Transitionp. 187
Senator Clintonp. 207
Moving to the Middlep. 235
Hillary and the Faith Factorp. 261
Acknowledgmentsp. 283
Notesp. 287
Indexp. 317
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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