Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens

Marianne Williamson, Author, Mary A. Naples, Editor Simon & Schuster $24 (368p) ISBN 978-0-684-84270-7
Bludgeoning readers with grandiose good intentions, this exuberant exhortation by Williamson (Illuminata) to return to America's founding principles gives the sensation of being assaulted by a college roommate in the throes of a late-night epiphany. Williamson claims that in the ""yang"" of the Industrial Revolution and our subsequent technological and political expansion, the U.S. lost the ""yin"" spirit that suffused the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. ""We have the yang; we must reclaim the yin. We have the intelligence; we must retrieve our souls."" Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. that the means of change ""must be as pure as the end,"" she urges her readers to dare to be conduits of God's love. Williamson's desire to remind her vast readership of the courage and vision of the Founding Fathers and of the connection between social awareness and inner development is commendable, and she has a knack for rendering spiritual concepts in immediate terms (""Anger, like money and white sugar, is a temporary motivator of lower human energies""). Her sweeping generalizations, however, along with her tacit assumption of the banner of leadership, would probably bewilder Thomas Jefferson and company: ""We are moving into new territory where we are unable to plug into our own energy sources unless we learn how to convert our thinking. We need adapters--facilitators of the new consciousness...."" And though she promotes the noble idea of turning ""spiritual conviction into a political force, as Gandhi did in India and King did in the United States,"" she numbs with bombast rather than awakening us, as Gandhi and King did, through the living examples of their courage and commitment. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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