Rod Hilton's Reviews > The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University

The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
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's review
Aug 24, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: religion, audiobooks
Read from August 10 to 24, 2010

The Unlikely Disciple is simply a fascinating book. Kevin Roose maintains an even-handed, dispassionate tone as he gives an insider's account of life at Jerry Falwell's evangelical Liberty University.

The book contains a number of surprises, and is nearly impossible to put down throughout. Kevin, who once worked under A.J. Jacobs, completely apes the style and tone of Jacobs's other books, so any fan of A.J. should find this quite enjoyable.

As someone who was once the same kind of Christian as the folks who attend Liberty, I'm confident that Roose's portrayal of students is accurate and fair - I knew people exactly like those he describes, and in fact I once was one.

I learned a great deal about Liberty University, including things that were not surprising (tests include true/false questions such as "True or False: Evolution is a proven fact.") and things that were (despite the draconian rules, many students kissed, hugged for longer than three seconds, smoked, and watched R-rated movies).

Roose frames his story within a larger, personal narrative, ensuring that the people who we learn about are presented as real people, not caricatures. It's a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it.

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