If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

by Eric Metaxas


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#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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101979990
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 59,130
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Promise 1

1 The Idea of America 17

2 The Golden Triangle of Freedom 51

3 "The Wonder of the Age" 79

4 Venerating Our Heroes 115

5 The Importance of Moral Leaders 149

6 "The Almost Chosen People" 181

7 Loving America 219

Epilogue: This Is America 247

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 259

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If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If this book doesn't give you thought to pen a letter to everyone you know encouraging them to love, really love through God's eyes, this wonderful country and to do whatever they can to pass that love along, then nothing else will.
ThePatriotPrinciple More than 1 year ago
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. 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.
AnnaLeBaron More than 1 year ago
Eric Metaxas, "If You Can Keep It" is a bold, patriotic reminder about what our country once was, the state it currently is in, and what it can be once again, if we each do our part to love our country. He explains the Golden Triangle of Freedom, which is: freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith requires freedom. He reminds the reader about how the stories of the heroes of our nation inspire others to greatness and warns us about abandoning the "vital tradition of venerating heroes". He makes a case for loving America, an idea that is increasingly backward, and even offensive to some because of certain historical realities, which he enumerates. Heroism and ignominy are both a part of the historical record. We must rejoice and be inspired by the former, and repent of of the latter. "For a nation is a partnership between the people who have died, the people who are alive now, and the people who have not yet been born." - Edmund Burke "We are a great country and our song has not yet been sung." - Daniel Hannan, speaking of Great Britain, but that can also be said about America. I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Tangen More than 1 year ago
This book eloquently reminds us of what our country has been and gives hope that we, as a people, could regain and practice the ideals that once characterized America. There is more than a little religiosity, but it remains a sound piece of encouragement in these or any other times, as demonstrated by the variety of sources quoted. You won't be sorry that you read this one. Won in a Giveaway.
Celebrate More than 1 year ago
This is an important book to read now. Now. I was raised to understand and highly value America’s history and promise. I struggle to find strong enough words to express my current concerns for what’s going on. Eric Metaxas brilliantly reviews important people and events from our country’s past – some I was familiar with; many I was not. That’s 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. That’s part of the book’s 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.”
lahbluebonnet More than 1 year ago
If You Can Keep It is the book I've been waiting for to reach this generation of modern readers. Metaxas writes in a conversational style (imagine sitting down to a cup off coffee with him) while he shares the story of America as well as the background and intent behind "if you can keep it." Although full of complex ideas, it is an easy read. If You Can Keep It is even an enjoyable read because of all the heartwarming stories of real people who influenced the opportunity for us "to keep it." This book is for everybody, from student to adult. As a school teacher I've had to pull various books and resources to teach many of the same ideas presented in this one book that makes a great a starting point for a grand journey. If You Can Keep It is a must have to understand our part in keeping America as the Founding Fathers intended!
SirBobby More than 1 year ago
Eric Metaxas’s addresses a vital need for the hour of this country. The views that one holds of one’s own country will affect how one lives. How one lives affects how a country functions. And how a country functions determines the lives of countless others. There is no doubt that Metaxas loves the United States of America. Almost every story is told with attention to detail, but more than that, a love of the people who helped shaped this land for over two centuries. He writes with the tone of a mother who is grieving for a wayward son. He writes in the introduction, “We have a charge to keep. This book is about seeing that we understand this again—and that we keep that charge, that republic, that glorious promise.” [Eric Metaxas, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (New York, Penguin: 2016), 15] His book reads as if he is sitting across from you, briefly taking sips of steaming coffee before continuing his discussion about the country he loves. He tells you of stories about many men and women who have stood firm in the face of unsurmountable difficulties, who forged ahead on uncertain and challenging roads, and who made incredibly tough decisions. From great men like Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr., Eric Metaxas draws on an even greater idea, that of self-government. In fact, more than the individuals he addresses, Metaxas’s focus is on the basis of the greatness of this country and the wild requirements to maintain such a place. The book encourages the reeducation of Americans, whether they are Jewish or Muslim, whether agnostic of atheist. He draws on personal experience and history from America to help create a hunger for the rich diversity that is the United States. One drawback is the lack of citations. There are only eight notes, and of those only four are citations. If one is familiar with the writings of Metaxas, particularly of his historical biographies, one may feel disappointed. However, it is more of a manifesto for a revival of love for America. So it suits his purpose to provide a more readable and less dense work. Eric Metaxas is a Christian, so it should not come as a surprise that his work is filled with Scripture and references to accounts of the life of Jesus. For some this may be an issue, particularly to those who tend to hold negative views of religion. But it is written from a neighborly perspective, and not as one who is simply speaking to one to make a proselyte. If you would like to know more about America, this is a great start. Addressing everything from our beauty to our warts, Metaxas presents a magnificent view of the United States. If you have lived in this country for long, then it is more than likely that you have ill-feelings toward this nation. Metaxas’s work is a wonderful reminder of the genesis of America, a birds-eye view of arguably the greatest nation in the history of civilization.
Stan_S More than 1 year ago
I was provided a copy of the book in return for reading and my honest review. I have read the book now and this is my review. In “If You Can Keep It” by Eric Metaxas we are reminded the responsibility for keeping our government in check and ensuring they are not abusing their power and functioning as it should resides with “We The People.” The government we have is the government we deserve. So if you are not happy with how the government is “working” it is our responsibility as “we the people” to change it. You may have heard this before. I was taught this in Civics class in high school but I am not sure it is being taught in many schools today or over the past several years. The author supports his case very well with stories from our country’s history, some you probably have heard but some you probably haven’t. One of those is the story of Cincinnatus and his similarities to George Washington. This was one I had not heard before. These stories are not being shared as they once were and because of this we are losing our heritage and on our way to becoming America In Name Only. If we the people do not take our responsibilities to “keep it” the America we once knew will cease to exist. A few more quotes from the book and some of my thoughts… “In 1776, a nation was formed in a way that a nation had never been formed. It was something entirely new: the nation as idea...and the idea in which they believed was, in a word, liberty…So what is the secret of our success? You might simply call it the idea of American liberty, which might also simply be called self-government.” Alexis de Tocqueville said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor without faith.” Os Guinness built on this when he described what is known as the Golden Triangle of Freedom which says, “Freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; faith requires freedom. If any one of the three legs of the triangle is removed, the whole structure ceases to exist.” If you do choose to add this book to your collection you will learn about William Wilberforce, George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley and the beginning of the Methodist movement, and The Miracle of Squanto too. You will also learn about why Abraham Lincoln thought America was the “almost chosen people” and why he “felt that America had been called by God to fulfill a role and to perform a duty for the rest of the world.” If we the people do not cultivate and pass down our love for America to those that will follow us we WILL become America in name only. In much the same way we cannot love others individually unless we love ourselves, we, as America, cannot love others outside our borders unless we genuinely love America. If you enjoy history and want to be challenged and maybe learn something new get your copy of “If You Can Keep It” today and rekindle your love for America and then pass it on!
CEThornton More than 1 year ago
Important and informative book that reminds us not only how the ideas behind the concept of America came to exist, but why they worked for so long, and also, since we have forgotten, how they worked, what the original concepts were, without glossing over the ugliest mistakes in our history. A must-read for everyone and anyone who wants to make our country and our world better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago