The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University, Softcover
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Grand Central Publishing / 2010 / Paperback
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The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University, Softcover

Grand Central Publishing / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 0446178438
ISBN-13: 9780446178433

Publisher's Description

No drinking.
No smoking.
No cursing.

No dancing.
No R-rated movies.

Kevin Roose wasn't used to rules like these. As a sophomore at Brown University, he spent his days drinking fair-trade coffee, singing in an a cappella group, and fitting right in with Brown's free-spirited, ultra-liberal student body. But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional.

Liberty is the late Reverend Jerry Falwell's "Bible Boot Camp" for young evangelicals, his training ground for the next generation of America's Religious Right. Liberty's ten thousand undergraduates take courses like Evangelism 101, hear from guest speakers like Sean Hannity and Karl Rove, and follow a forty-six-page code of conduct that regulates every aspect of their social lives. Hoping to connect with his evangelical peers, Roose decides to enroll at Liberty as a new transfer student, leaping across the God Divide and chronicling his adventures in this daring report from the front lines of America's culture war.

His journey takes him from an evangelical hip-hop concert to choir practice at Falwell's legendary Thomas Road Baptist Church. He experiments with prayer, participates in a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach (where he learns to preach the gospel to partying coeds), and pays a visit to Every Man's Battle, an on-campus support group for chronic masturbators. He meets pastors' kids, closet doubters, Christian rebels, and conducts what would be the last print interview of Rev. Falwell's life.

Hilarious and heartwarming, respectful and thought-provoking, THE UNLIKELY DISCIPLE will inspire and entertain believers and nonbelievers alike.

Author Bio

Kevin Roose graduated from Brown University in 2009, where he studied English literature and wrote regular columns for the Brown Daily Herald. His work has been featured in Esquire, SPIN, mental_floss, and other publications. You can visit his Web site at www.kevinroose.com

Editorial Reviews

"Hallelujah for Kevin Roose. This is a remarkable book. He takes us on a fascinating, funny, nuanced journey that doesn't condescend or make glib judgments. It's just what the culture wars need. If I didn't already have kids, I'd adopt Kevin."

--A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year Of Living Biblically

"What happens when a Brown undergrad goes undercover at Liberty University? If he's a writer as insightful and open-minded as Kevin Roose, he ends up learning as much about himself as he does about the evangelical Christians he lives with. The Unlikely Disciple provides a funny, compassionate, and revealing look at Jerry Falwell's 'Bible Boot Camp,' and the surprisingly diverse band of true believers who make it their home."

--Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher
"Kevin Roose has produced a textured, intelligent, even sympathetic, account of his semester at Liberty University. He eschews caricature and the cheap shot in favor of keen observation and trenchant analysis. THE UNLIKELY DISCIPLE is a book of uncommon wisdom and insight. I recommend it with enthusiasm."

--The Rev. Dr. Randall Balmer, Episcopal Priest and Professor of American Religious History at Barnard College, Columbia University
"[Kevin] tells his story entertainingly...level-headed, nuanced, keenly observant."
--Booklist
"Kevin Roose is a delightful writer, and this is a humane book. Read it and I predict you'll have less paranoia, more exposure to 'the other,' and a larger dose of Roose's generous and hopeful faith."
--Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and Everything Must Change
"Keenly observed, funny, and compassionate. Kevin Roose parachutes us into a seldom-glimpsed and little understood pocket of America, then guides us through a story of religion and country more resonant than any of us could have imagined."
--Robert Kurson, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers and Crashing Through

"This is a brilliant book. Absolutely brilliant. Roose's wisdom, humanity, and love kept me going. And I laughed. A lot."
-- Rob Bell, founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church and bestselling author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God

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  1. Wick
    Evansville, Indiana
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    An Interesting Read
    February 18, 2018
    Wick
    Evansville, Indiana
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is not the typical book I read, but because I took an online class through Liberty last year, I found Kevin Roose's story extremely intriguing. Kevin Roose transferred from the very liberal Brown University to the very conservative Liberty University three years ago and wrote about his one-semester experience at Liberty. What is unique about this story is that Kevin is not a Christian, but he presented himself as a Christian in an attempt to truly learn what it is like to be a student in a conservative Christian environment.

    You can see from my reviews that most of the books I read are Christian and cover deep topics, many from a reformed perspective. The Unlikely Disciple was a nice little break from the weightier material that I usually digest. It was also good for me to read from an author who has a totally different outlook on life.

    I first noticed that The Unlikely Disciple is endorsed by a couple of guys that I strongly disagree with on a number of important theological matters, but despite that, I found this book to be interesting for the most part. I do want to emphasize that I find Kevin Roose's decision to lie about his identity to be morally wrong, but I am glad he was able to learn that the overwhelming majority of the people at Liberty are not the crazy fundamentalists he thought they would be. It should also be noted that Kevin and his friends are crude at times, much like the typical male who attends a secular college in America (which was me).

    It is obvious that Kevin, who started writing the book when he was 19 years old, is a talented writer with a great deal of support. This book will make some ultraconservatives upset, but I am sadder than anything. Yes, I smiled and laughed at times and felt great to see Kevin grow in many ways, but Kevin failed to see that life is more than just trying to be good and having fun. I'm sure there are some reading this review and rolling their eyes, but I cannot help but feel sad. I hope one day Kevin writes a book where he tells us how his time at Liberty was a time when a seed was planted that God grew.
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