When I read about this book on My Friend Amy's blog, her review and the subject matter caught my attention.
The subtitle of Andrew Hime's book is The roots of fundamentalism in an American family.
What drew me to this book? I am a Bible-believing Christian, who takes the Bible very seriously and yes, literally. Now obviously, I know that there are parts of Revelation and so on that are symbolic and parts of the law that were cultural, like men growing their beards. But this is where I come from.
As for fundamentalism, well, to be honest I'm not very comfortable with the term. I suppose its because I believe most of America uses the word "fundamentalist" as almost a dirty word. Our family attends a Bible-believing church, we homeschool our children, and don't have cable TV...so I suppose we fit into some of the supposed "stereotypes" to this movement.
The part of the book I found most compelling was Himes' personal memories particularly relating to race and religion. His personal journey during the integration of the school system and how this shaped his young adult years lead to a decision to join the radical left and then later to try to reconcile justice and Christianity.
I wish he would have focused more closely on his own journey as it related to his family. I would have loved to have seen more memories shared of his parents and grandparents and what it was like to grow up as part of the Himes/Rice clan. Small memories were interspersed throughout but I suppose I had expected more about his personal pilgrimage.
Himes provides the reader with a fascinating slice of American history as it was lived by one family in the South and it was a treat to hear about Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and other well-known voices in evangelicalism. Although Himes and I probably don't see eye to eye on matters of theology (although I'm not entirely sure, as it is hard to ascertain his current beliefs, and perhaps that is what he intended) I enjoyed looking at a slice of history through his lens.
**Thank you to Andrew Himes and Chiara Press for providing a review copy. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.**