Bruce Feiler’s America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story is yet another book I discovered through the History Book Club catalog that I was able to grab from my local library. I’ve been curious about this author for several years, ever since a co-worker of mine spoke favorably of his books Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born. So, despite having a mountain of unread library books waiting for me at home, I grabbed America’s Prophet. And I’m really glad I did.
By traveling thousands of miles and examining 400 years of history, Feiler explores the biblical prophet’s powerful and enduring influence on America’s political and social landscape. From the Liberty Bell to the Underground Railroad to the comic book hero Superman, Moses’s inspiration projects an enormous and unrivaled footprint deep within the American experience.
Last February I featured Tony Horwitz’s A Voyage Long and Strange, (“Before Plymouth Rock“) and I must say that Feiler’s book feels like the unofficial sequel to Horwitz’s book. Whereas A Voyage Long and Strange ends with the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, Feiler starts his book with their 1620 arrival in the New World. And just like Horwitz he visits with Havard chaplain, theologian, and Pilgrim Society trustee Peter Gomes. From there, just as Horwitz traveled across America interviewing historians, officials and average citizens, Feiler does the same. Founding Fathers, Abolitionists, Civil Rights champions, (especially Martin Luther King ) and the creators of the Statue of Liberty monument are each examined in the light of their Mosaic inspirations.
Without a doubt, I thoroughly enjoyed Feiler’s newest book. While it’s only March, I’m quite confident by late December America’s Prophet will be on my Top Ten List for 2010.