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Covenant and Crisis in American History Review by Becky Voytek

Dennis Oliver Woods
Brightrock Press
617 Homestead Place
Moscow, ID 83843

Covenant and Crisis in American History presents a unique perspective on American history by revealing how our nation, even before it was officially founded, had departed from a Biblical covenant model for civil government and embraced a secularized man-centered social contract model. Upon the foundation of this latter model, our Constitution was formulated and our nation established. Because we left our Biblical roots, our nation's history since its founding has been a history of cultural conflict and crisis. With this in mind, Mr. Woods guides the reader through the six eras of American history. The first era is that of the Puritans, who attempted to establish a covenant government in America but whose efforts failed in the long term. The next five eras are designated as the Neoclassical, Romantic, Militant Unitarian, Realist, and Modern eras. Each section of the book contains an overview, a timeline, and representative poetry and prose illustrating the soul of the American people during each respective era. Included in my copy for review is a supplemental article about the art of each era and representative samples. The author is currently seeking permission to use this article as a separate Appendix or to insert each part into the appropriate section.

Covenant and Crisis in American History was designed by the author to accompany his book Discipling the Nations: The Government Upon His Shoulders in the American history course for the high school level at Classical Free Virtual Academy. The author founded this online Classical Christian Academy to serve grades 7-12.

I found the book very enlightening and thought provoking. It definitely challenged some of my pre-conceived ideas about the foundation of our civil government. I have not used it with my children, who are eleven and twelve, because it is above their intellectual level. Some of it they might be able to understand, but I would need to read and digest it better before I could expose them to it. I think when they hit high school it will be worthy reading.

I have two criticisms of this book. First, it is cheaply bound with a spiral notebook binding and a clear plastic cover. Perhaps the intention was to make it more affordable. The listed price is $25.00. My second concern is the narrow focus of the book, which is to show how America strayed from the biblical model of civil government and the negative effects throughout history up to the present. I believe that this book should not be used as the only textbook in an American history course. Having not read the companion book, I may be missing what would make this a complete study of American history.

In summary, I would recommend this book--not only for high school homeschoolers but for every American Christian who wants to better understand our past and how it is affecting our present and future as a nation.

Product review by Becky Voytek, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2007