The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinners Semester at America’s Holiest University

January 01, 1970

(Grand
Central Publishing)

 

www.hachettebookgroup.com

 

BY JOHN B. MOORE

 

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinners Semester at America’s Holiest University (Grand Central Publishing) could not possibly have been
written by anyone else.

 

Sure, the journalist/author Kevin Roose is a novice (he was still in college
when he researched and started writing this book), but that’s exactly what
makes this expose on college life at an evangelical university come off genuine:
Roose has none of the cynicism and practiced story-telling clichés of a
longtime reporter.

 

The premise is so obvious, it’s a wonder no one has
attempted before. Surprisingly, he manages to turn out a book that’s
refreshingly original. Roose, a sometime Quaker from a family of Liberals is your
average Left-wing kid at Brown
University. A journalism
student, he decides to spend a semester imbedded as a student at Rev. Jerry
Falwell’s Liberty
University – one of the
most conservative evangelical colleges in the country. Roose didn’t exactly lie
about who he was, but wasn’t exactly forthcoming either, saying little more
than he was a transfer student from Rhode
Island.

 

Some of the findings are predictable: Homophobia? Check.
Plenty of prayer circles? You bet. Irrational understanding of how the real
world works?  Is the Pope… never mind. But
he also found kids who are questioning the rules they are living under. Like
his hall mate from Jersey who thinks about sex
24/7, knows he will likely lose his virginity over the summer and feels immense
guilt over it. Liberty
even has a few Democrats (gasp).

 

Roose does a phenomenal job of taking a potentially
one-dimensional study and adding in all the details, highlighting not only the
expected, but the unforeseen as well. Roose even managed to get one of the last
interviews with Falwell before the one-time Conservative kingmaker died.

 

 

 

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