If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty  -     By: Eric Metaxas
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If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

Viking / 2016 / Hardcover

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Product Description

On July 4, 1776, our Founding Fathers penned the Declaration of Independence. Are we living up to their lofty vision of liberty and justice? In a stirring call to action, Metaxas explains why the signers' "noble experiment" has been forgotten and encourages us to recommit ourselves to following their radical ideals of freedom. 288 pages, hardcover from Viking.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Viking
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.30 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1101979984
ISBN-13: 9781101979983

Publisher's Description

#1 New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas delivers an extraordinary book that is part history and part rousing call to arms, steeped in a critical analysis of our founding fathers' original intentions for America.

In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people. "A republic," he shot back, "if you can keep it." More than two centuries later, Metaxas examines what that means and how we are doing on that score.

If You Can Keep It is at once a thrilling review of America's uniqueness—including our role as a "nation of nations"—and a chilling reminder that America's greatness cannot continue unless we embrace our own crucial role in living out what the founders entrusted to us. Metaxas explains that America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based on liberty and freedom for all. He cautions us that it's nearly past time we reconnect to that idea, or we may lose the very foundation of what made us exceptional in the first place.

Author Bio

Eric Metaxas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery; and Miracles. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and Metaxas has appeared as a cultural commentator on CNN, the Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. He is the host of The Eric Metaxas Show, a nationally syndicated daily radio show. Metaxas is also the founder and host of Socrates in the City, the acclaimed series of conversations on "life, God, and other small topics," featuring Malcolm Gladwell, Dr. Francis Collins, and N.T. Wright, among many others. He is a senior fellow and lecturer at large at the King's College in New York City, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for If You Can Keep It

"Profound and thoroughly entertaining . . . This book has made me think in ways that I haven’t in years. Metaxas is a major writer. Not to be missed." —Dick Cavett

"If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty—along with such essentials as Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington and The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen—must be front and center on every reading list." The Washington Times

"Everyone in every country, at every socioeconomic level, of every religious and secular persuasion, of every political bent, should read it. . . . It’s the book you must read this year." —Martha Rogers, PhD, coauthor of Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage
"Eric Metaxas [is] one of our nation’s most brilliant and morally serious public intellectuals." —Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University
"Irresistible . . . compellingly written . . . important. Not only should every American read it—they should then reread it aloud to their children and grandchildren." —Dennis Prager
"Eric Metaxas has done a great service to the country." —Gregory Alan Thornbury, PhD, president of the King’s College, New York City

"A faith-based argument for American exceptionalism . . . that will appeal to Christian readers." —Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Miracles

"Miracles is the sort of book that—once you've read it—you'll wonder where it's been all your life." —Kathie Lee Gifford, Emmy Award—winning host, The Today Show 

"If you’re a skeptic, read this book with an open mind and you might just discover that miracles are real. If you’re already a believer, be ready to be inspired." —Kirsten Powers, columnist for USA Today and The Daily Beast

"Take the brilliant mind of Eric Metaxas, add the provocative topic of miracles, and get ready to change the way you see reality forever." —Erwin Raphael McManus, founder of MOSAIC and author of The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art 

"Metaxas has done it again. . . . He presents hope for the tone deaf who cannot hear the splendor of the music of the spheres, and he brings in sunlight for modern cave dwellers who have become accustomed to only shadows on the wall of our increasingly windowless world." —Os Guinness, author of Long Journey Home

"The miracles in Miracles—and Eric's own amazing miraculous experience—bring out the fact that the miraculous gift of eternal life that God provides can be experienced here on earth." —Luis Palau, international evangelist 
Praise for Bonhoeffer

"Eric Metaxas tells Bonhoeffer's story with passion and theological sophistication." The Wall Street Journal

"A captivating and inspiring read from start to finish . . . Buy it. This book could change your life." —James N. Lane, founder of the New Canaan Society and former general partner, Goldman, Sachs & Co.

"Eric Metaxas has written the kind of extraordinary book that not only brings Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his times and his witness vividly alive, but also leaves us yearning to find the same moral character in ourselves.  No biographer can achieve anything higher.Archbishop Charles Chaput
"Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is a modern-day classic that should be on ’best of’ lists for the decade." —Relevant Magazine

"[A]n electrifying account of one man’s stand against tyranny." —Human Events

Product Reviews

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Great Primer on American Liberty - Broad in Scope and Very Well-Written
    July 4, 2016
    The Patriot Principle
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This last week I had the pleasure of reading If You Can Keep It, the latest book from renowned author Eric Metaxas. Metaxas is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, best known for biographies of such greats as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce. An acclaimed speaker and cultural commentator, he is also the host of a syndicated daily radio show, The Eric Metaxas Show. In this latest book, he examines the fundamentals of American liberty, offering a critique and recommendations on how we the people can safeguard this precious gift.


    In the books first chapter, the author contemplates the ideas behind Americas founding, such as What is liberty, How did the founders see Americas position in the world, and the what and why of self-government. He makes a great case for delving deeply into these concepts. [T]he strangeness and foreignness of this new nation conceived in liberty is simply impossible to appreciate fully today . . . for . . . the United States and the ideas . . . that came together to create it have been so successful that theyve been copied endlessly in the two centuries since.

    Chapter two discusses the idea of a golden triangle of freedom, an idea Metaxas borrows from Os Guinness. In this concept, freedom, virtue, and faith are seen as interrelated, mutually necessary elements of American freedom. Echoing Guinness, he writes, If any one of the three legs of the triangle is removed, the whole structure ceases to exist.

    The third chapter takes an unexpected turn, as Metaxas examines the preaching of George Whitefield, a mid-eighteenth century preacher who took America by storm and contributed greatly to what has become known as The Great Awakening. Even having read a great deal about Whitefield already, I was struck by Metaxes descriptions, and particularly his assertions regarding the effect of the preachers message on the revolutionary generation. Using first-hand accounts, including those of Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Edwards wife Sarah, Whitefields preaching and message come to life in Metaxes work.

    Chapter four is, perhaps, my favorite chapter of the book. The author encourages the reader to understand the importance of hero veneration. Telling the stories of revolutionary spy-turned-martyr Nathan Hale and of Paul Revere, one cannot help but be inspired by their patriotism. Every generation, he asserts, needs to be reminded not only of the ideas that formed our nation, but of the heroes who brought those ideas to life, that we might draw on those memories as we battle to preserve the liberty they fought and died for. These tales are woven in with personal reflections on telling the stories to his daughter, and inspire the reader to remember the great tales of American history.

    In the fifth chapter, Metaxas considers how the character of our nations leaders comes into play with regard to our ability to keep the fragile republic of ordered freedoms entrusted to us. Acknowledging that character is not the only thing we look for in leaders and, in fact, may be less important in some types of leaders than others, he suggests that strong moral character is important for two reasons. The first is that the character of a leader affects everyone their peers and those they lead. The second is that a system of self-government simply cannot exist without virtuous leaders. Using stories of the ancient Roman Cincinnatus, George Washington, and William Wilberforce, he paints a clear picture of virtuous leadership and encourages the reader to see this as a critical bulwark of liberty.

    Chapter six serves the authors purpose by setting the record straight about the concept of American exceptionalism. This oft-misunderstood term, which comes from the writings of the early nineteenth century Alexis de Tocqueville, is examined in the light of the American idea which, importantly, existed before the American nation. From John Winthrops idea that this new land would be a city on a hill, shining a beacon of hope to all the world, to the miraculous story of Squanto, to the halls of the Constitutional Congress, Metaxas paints a convincing picture of both the unique purpose of America to evidence of a providential guiding of its destiny. He then turns to the words of Abraham Lincoln, from which he draws the chapters title, to show Lincolns idea of American exceptionalism nearly a hundred years after its founding.

    In the books final chapter, Metaxas turns his eye to current perceptions of America today, and encourages his readers to experience a renewed love for the nation. This love of country, in Lincolns words, mystic chords of memory, are something without which the nation cannot survive. The chapter contrasts the love of America exhibited by Lincoln and, later, Ronald Regan, with the trend over the last fifty years to focus more on Americas faults than her greatness. Then he suggests a pattern of truly loving America that encompasses both pride in her accomplishments and a recognition of her shortcomings. In the end, he speaks of remembrance and ritual and of poetry as ways that we can keep our love for America strong and instill the same in our children.


    If You Can Keep It is a fantastically penned call-to-arms for the American people, and is a must-read for all who fancy themselves patriots. As I write this conclusion, the morning of July 4th, my appreciation of this day is far richer for having read Eric Metaxas book. What I appreciate most is the scope of topics covered in such a short volume (258 pages). To touch on the puritan settlers of the New World, the Great Awakening, the creation of the Constitution, American heroes, Abraham Lincoln, and admonishments for modern living is a lofty goal. Metaxas has done so admirably and sufficiently for most readers. By synthesizing this array of subjects around the love for and preservation of our country, If You Can Keep It provides a broad look at the subject for those wanting a small book and, at the same time, works as a springboard for those wishing to study further into any of its many subjects. I highly recommend it to all Americans, particularly those of us who have children, as we are training up the next generation who must hear the promise of American liberty and be challenged to see if they can keep it.

  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    This book has power
    June 19, 2016
    Kathy Koch, Ph.D.
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This is an important book to read now. Now. I was raised to understand and highly value Americas history and promise. I struggle to find strong enough words to express my current concerns for whats going on. Eric Metaxas brilliantly reviews important people and events from our countrys past some I was familiar with; many I was not. Thats part of what I especially enjoyed about this book. And, there are many great quoteables that make the ideas easy to discuss with family and friends. Thats part of the books power. If enough of us read it, take to heart his challenges, and share them with others, we can be a part of reason our liberties remain. Read this now. (For example, this quote from page 147 is inspiring: [People died] for the promise of America, for the promise of who she was destined to become. That is the proper role of the heroic, to call us higher than ourselves. To call us to fight not merely for what is ours but for what should belong to everyone for what is right.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Another Metaxas masterpiece
    June 14, 2016
    Flippin 4 This
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    From the very beginning, Eric Metaxas, writing from a Christian worldview, engages the reader with reminiscent historical accounts and thoughts of patriotism. He skillfully brings you along on his own eye-opening journey of discovery of his deep and reverential awe for America. He begins with both a charge to educate and also to be an active participant in the keeping of the trust that has been given us through the founding of the United States of America. He reminds us of what it means to love our country and what it means to be an American.

    Fascinating and detailed biographical sketches and quotations from Americas founding fathers and from other significant leaders of our country are woven throughout in Metaxas-style masterful storytelling with skillful command of language and vocabulary, along with colorful and vivid descriptions. He delivers impassioned pleas to recover the spirit of patriotism, to recall biblical virtues, remember our responsibilities, recall both the good and bad of our past, and most importantly, to take action in doing our part to preserve America for ourselves, our future, and the world.

    Eric Metaxas builds a strong argument for the multi-dimensional components of the how and why our country, Constitution, and government was established, and then he dissects the fundamental aspects of virtue and leadership that contributed to its founding. Heroes are extolled and remembered for their lack of selfishness and pride and for their desire only for the good of our country.

    This book is an enjoyable and moving read, written intellectually but on a level that it easily comprehendible. Metaxas builds a strong case for the charge of keeping and defending America, and I made copious notes of his quote-worthy statements. Many of the biographical sketches will be familiar if you have read his books Amazing Grace and Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness, but they are, nonetheless, crucial to the complete understanding of the concepts he puts forth in this book. Once again, Metaxas delivers a compelling read.
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