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God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  486 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Since 2000, America’s most ambitious young evangelicals have been making their way to Patrick Henry College, a small Christian school just outside the nation’s capital. Most of them are homeschoolers whose idealism and discipline put the average American teenager to shame. And God’s Harvard grooms these students to be the elite of tomorrow, dispatching them to the front li ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 10th 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2007)
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Jul 29, 2013 Lani rated it it was amazing
I read this probably a year ago (or more even?) and just kept putting off a review because I had so much I wanted to say about it. At this point, I don't really remember what I wanted to say anymore, so I guess I may as well clear out my currently-reading list.

Basically, I grabbed this because its about a school located very close to my parents' house. I'd never heard of it, and the title was interesting.

I thought it was FASCINATING. Rather like the movie Jesus Camp in that it revealed Christian
Sep 28, 2007 ellen rated it really liked it
This is one of the most well written and interesting books I've read in a long time. I recently watched the movie Jesus Camp and was in shock as to the level of evangelical indoctrination that's going on in this country. I didn't realize just how strong and how organized the evangalicals were / are, and as a liberal and lesbian this frightens me. This book allowed me a peek into the conservative Christian world and the people within it -- I kept waiting for someone to "fall", and in the eyes of ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Gail rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
The book is about Patrick Henry's College (never had heard of it) for fundamentalist homeschooled college age students who dream of entering politics and love George Bush...The author follows some of the 350 students for a year and tries to explain founder Michael Ferris' experiment to train a new generation of religious right to take over top political positions and influence political and social thinking. Surprising that they shared anything with the liberal, nonpracticing jewish author, but s ...more
Feb 02, 2008 Renee rated it it was amazing
An "outsider's" insider view of Patrick Henry College. Which, near as I can tell from reading the book, is for homeschooled, evangelical, right winged, politically motivated students. Wow, scary stuff and a very fascinating read. Because of my own evangelical leanings (I hate labels) and the fact that I homeschool my kids I found this book on one level to be embarrassing. Kind of like "yessh, I can't believe I have basic beliefs in common with these people". However, it is in Rosin's honest and ...more
Mar 23, 2008 Denise rated it really liked it
Yikes. Well, I was drawn to this book after watching "Jesus Camp," which everyone who cares about the future of this country's separation of church(goers) and state should watch. This was a great follow up. While Jesus Camp gives us a window into the methods that Evangelical Christians are using to indoctrinate their younger children (did you know, by the way, that 75% of homeschooled kids in this country identify as born agains?), God's Harvard is an investigation of Patrick Henry College, an e ...more
Jul 26, 2008 Elyssa rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The author of this book spent a year and a half in Patrick Henry College, a Christian college designed to create a new generation of evangelist politicians. Her in-depth reporting includes the creation of the college, portraits of the college's founder, professors, and students. The main reason I give this book 4 stars is for the solid and well-rounded exploration of this topic.

Prior to reading this book, I was aware of the growing evangelical movement; however, if was interesting to learn about
Jun 11, 2008 Letitia rated it did not like it
Since I could essentially write an entire thesis inspired by this book, I will attempt to keep my comments brief for the sake of this review, but I apologize in advance for verbosity.

Rosin's diatribe on the recently founded Patrick Henry college unfortunately alienated me even in the introduction, where home education is described as "a relic of the age of separatism and retreat." I nevertheless attempted to suspend my judgment until I had read the thing cover to cover.

Having done so, I will emp
May 25, 2008 jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jill by: Lani
Shelves: non-fiction, feminist
Interesting, quick read. I liked the sections in which Rosin focused on the student body. I felt like she did a good job of picking kids to whom she was sympathetic enough to be able to portray as normal and likeable, even if they believed things she obviously finds batshit insane. She also did a good job of showing the diversity of opinion amongst the student body. I think often people hear "evangelical Christian" (or "liberal feminist," or "libertarian", etc.) and think of that group as some h ...more
Dec 01, 2008 CMLiffengren rated it it was ok
I bought this book for $1 at Barnes and Noble. I had a passing interest in Patrick Henry College. I knew that PHC caters to Evangelical homeschooled students. Hanna Rosin focuses on a handful of students in her year long research of PHC. Rosin is upfront about her politics and views and they clash with the right-leaning PHC crowd. I was interested in the school's liberal arts program having attended a small liberal arts school for a while. After reading this, I'm not sure how I feel about the sc ...more
Nov 05, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing
I was first introduced to Patrick Henry college through my brother whom was given a grant by the Homeschooling Defense (something or another), from that time forward the premise of this college has completely intrigued me and so I was very eager to read Rosin's work.

Rosin does not hide her skepticism of PHC, and while she duly notes her biased nature, I found the book to lack the facts and startling statistics that makes PHC different from other distinctly Christian colleges. The fact that PHC i
Jan 19, 2009 Beckie rated it really liked it
Patrick Henry College was founded less than ten years ago to be the Ivy League equivalent for home-schooled, conservative Evangelicals who want to "change the culture" by working in the White House, on the Hill, or in Hollywood. Hanna Rosin, who has covered religion for the Washington Post, is even-handed in her treatment of the whole concept, though she does let the reader know what she thinks of it all from time to time.
Rosin is Jewish and was born in Israel. For the most part, I think her own
Apr 08, 2009 Maren rated it it was amazing
This book was a quick read and a satisfying one. Hanna Rosin is an extremely accessible writer and I mean that as a compliment and not as shorthand for, "not very challenging". She hits just the right tone between objective inquiry and gentle (and appropriate) judgment of her subject, which is a small Christian college made up of mostly former home schooled students.

She's at her best when she profiles individuals and she makes the solid choice to settle on a select few to follow through the sch
Apr 10, 2009 Katie rated it did not like it
Horrid, biased book. Now let me point something out right off the bat: I definitely could not teach at Patrick Henry College, and I wouldn't exactly be thrilled to send my kids there. I'm a moderate in a lot of ways, including politically. It's not that I don't have opinions, on the contrary, I have very strong opinions. I just don't fit neatly enough into either "left" or "right" to feel comfortable among ideologues of either stripe. On the other hand, I am a Christian and a stay at home mother ...more
Wendy Rabe
May 29, 2009 Wendy Rabe rated it liked it
This book was a well-written account by a reporter who spent a year and a half embedded at Patrick Henry College. Many of her observations are what you would expect from an unbeliever, observing Christians as though they belong to some strange tribe out of National Geographic, with the potential of doing grave danger if not kept in their place. However, many of her jabs do correctly expose the shallowness and silliness of the evangelical subculture.
The author, Hanna Rosin, seems to have been
Aug 16, 2009 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
While the author is clearly troubled by the Christian Right, this book actually seems a backhand compliment to the school. If only society in general could get the same things right that PHC does.
Aug 03, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2010 Besim rated it really liked it
Important read for anyone who cares about religion, education, parenting, or politics in the West. Rosin did her best to remain neutral but there was a clear slight biased to those wanting a more liberal culture at PHC.

For those that think PHC is a failed attempt, are probably being a bit myopic. There are obvious struggles early on but it seems to be more of growing pains than anything else.

It's obvious that there are clear problems at the core of PHC's mission but you can't help but sympathi
Patrick Henry University - breeding place for the next conservative government -- at least, that's the plan. The students there are determined, driven, and intend to change the course of current American politics and government.

I found this book to be very informative and in some ways entertaining -- but really, a little bit depressing. I am a conservative myself, but I can't quite countenance the extreme idea(l)s driven into the student's every cell. The intention of the founder seems to me to
Nov 13, 2010 Amy added it
To be fair, enough years have passed since I read it that I barely remember this book. It was brought to my attention again, though, by a friend's reccomendation.
I couldn't remember it well enough to give a review, I just remember getting ticked at the author. While I don't trust my own words, then,I do trust Michael Zeller. For those Gen Jers who are familiar with him, this is what he said about the book:


God's Harvard is little more than a poorly researched op-ed on modern evangelical cul
Feb 09, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing
Hanna Rosin, an Israeli-born Jew, finds herself "catnip" to the students and faculty of Patrick Henry, the select college for home-schooled evangelical kids; they are on a mission to convert everyone in the world to born-again Christianity and espousing another religion offers no immunity. Rosin is a terrific writer; she very much likes the students (one stayed for several months in her home in D.C.) and seems as terrified as I am that religious fanaticism is inculcated at such a putatively high ...more
Mar 01, 2011 Dereka rated it it was amazing
My thought while reading was how well Hanna Rosin conveyed a positive image of the students at PHC. While fundamentally unable to share their religious views, she found them to be intelligent, hardworking, likable and admirable in other ways. Likewise she was sympathetic to Ferris and PHC faculty members. Then I read the reviews that flayed her as biased, mean spirited and snarky. Did we read the same book?
Feb 22, 2012 Philip rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Patrick Henry College Alumni looking for an outsider's view of their alma mater.
Overall impressions: While obviously from a non-Christian worldview, Rosin remains quite charitable in my opinion (except perhaps to Farris). The places she is very critical and less charitable are where she perceives incongruity or inherent inconsistency in what people say as Christians and what they do, particularly where she sees hypocrisy. Largely, however, I agree with those criticisms. It's sad that it takes an "outsider" to critique the inconsistencies of the "Christian right" when as con ...more
Mar 31, 2012 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: hac-group, kindle
I had listened to an audio recording of this book shortly after it came out and re-read it (on Kindle) for a book discussion. Hanna Rosin was an embedded reporter at Patrick Henry College, an evangelical college offering government and liberal arts courses of study. Rosin did a very good job at portraying the administration, faculty and (especially) the students in a sympathetic light They came across as likable, and I felt myself wishing them happiness and success even though I personally find ...more
Even the least politically aware Americans among us cannot fail to see the dramatic rise of the Christian Right in the last few decades. Extremists have taken center stage in a way that they hadn't since the days of Scopes. God's Harvard profiles Patrick Henry College, one of the educational bastions of this movement, and it's students. Although Rosin makes her own religous and political views clear from the beginning, she does a good job of presenting a balanced view of PHC. She does not treat ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Shana rated it liked it
Next on the list: God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America, a book by Hanna Rosin that provides a look into Patrick Henry College, a small conservative Christian school whose aim is to raise up the young Christian leaders of tomorrow. Some of the beliefs expressed in the book go right along with the stereotypes, such as that they’re all Bush lovers, anti-choice, and creationists. But Rosin goes beyond that to get at how these students ended up Patrick Henry College, and wh ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Kayt rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It's not that Hanna Rosin isn't a good writer. And it's not that the book is full of caricatures. And it's not that it's not completely fascinating. But there's something, something, that's off about it.

Maybe it's the subtly implied inferiority of many people and their beliefs or values. The book does a very good job examining the politics of conservative evangelical Republican-Christianity, and how the politics are often built in to the culture itself. I know--I didn't go to Patrick Henry Coll
Mar 26, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
I have a sick fascination with the religious right. This was a very informative and generally well written story about Patrick Henry College, a conservative Christian evangelical school in Virginia with the mission to educate young Christians to enter politics and "take back the nation." It is both fascinating and horrifying to me as a liberal-minded person. A lot of characters come into play, so by the end, it was a little hard to keep some names straight -- some people are featured more promin ...more
Dan Secor
Oct 21, 2013 Dan Secor rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I really did.

This was the first selection in the book club I recently joined at my UU congregation. I was hoping I would enjoy this as much as The Unlikely Disciple. It didn't come close. In fact, I initially gave it three stars, but now that I have digested it a bit, I took away another star.

First, the content. The subject matter scared the living hell out of me. The type of backward thinking exhibited by those described here will do serious damage to the righ
Jodi Jacobson
Apr 06, 2014 Jodi Jacobson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Terrific book. Rosin examines the evangelical Christian right from inside Patrick Henry College, a school created primarily for homeschooled Christian right students, with the intention of building the leadership necessary to take over the country (literally). Rosin appears to have won the trust of enough of the students, as well as Michael Farris, the founder of the homeschooling movement, and of PHC, to get an inside perspective on the school, the students, and the families from which they com ...more
Pat Roberts
The problem with ultra-liberals is that they can be so intolerant. I found Rosen's observations regarding the students of Patrick Henry College to be smirky. At least in the beginning of the book, she let's the reader know loud and clear that she doesn't care for home schooling. In fact, one is led to believe that home schoolers are just plain weird. She pokes fun at the values of the Evangelical Christian students' families. Let me list those values for you: 1) Academic excellence of their chil ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: God's harvard 1 3 May 25, 2012 01:19PM  
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Hanna Rosin was born in Israel and grew up in Queens, where her father was a taxi driver. She graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1987, where she won a number of competitions on the debate team with her partner David Coleman. She attended Stanford University, and is married to Slate editor David Plotz; they live in Washington, D.C. with their three children.
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