Monday 4 June 2012

Review - Where Has Oprah Taken Us? By Stephen Mansfield

Where Has Oprah Taken Us?Where Has Oprah Taken Us? by Stephen Mansfield
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Blurb From Goodreads
An evocative exploration of Oprah Winfrey's religious beliefs, from her rejection of her Baptist upbringing to her controversial rise as "an icon of church-free spirituality."

Born into poverty in Mississippi in 1954 and rising through talent, hard work and despite tragedy-she was raped at the age of nine and lost an infant son at 14-Oprah Winfrey has become one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most popular women of her age. These facts alone would make Winfrey worthy of study, yet what makes her of even more profound impact on American society is her decision to champion the cause of "New Age Christianity." She is, as "Christianity Today" has proclaimed, "a postmodern priestess-an icon of church-free spirituality." Rejecting her Baptist roots, Winfrey has become a champion of the "Course in Miracles," a seminar in which Christianity is reinterpreted in terms of self-actualization, personal divinity, and self-empowerment. She has also become a disciple of Eckhart Tolle, the increasingly popular teacher of a form of spirituality that blends Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity.

Author Stephen Mansfield explores the Winfrey spiritual phenomenon-much as Mansfield has with figures like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, and Winston Churchill.

My Review

Like most people I had heard of Oprah but didn't know much about her other than her role in the color purple (love that film/book) and she does a chat show. So I selected this book to review in order to learn a bit more about her.

The first part of the book focuses on her life, from childhood and upbringing, struggles as a teen, career choices up to present day. What I didn't know or expect was how much religion plays a part in her life and the unique path she takes with it.

The author is very much present in this book and after writing something of Oprahs view on one religion or another he puts his feelings about it afterwords in italics. He explains why he feels the views of Oprah and her religious gurus are wrong and how he feels they contradict each other. I did enjoy the first part of the book but then it was very much about religion and what was available when Oprah was a child, when she was a teen etc and not focusing on her so much. At one point I felt the book should actually have been called Oprahs religious views and why I think they are wrong as a huge chunk of the book focuses on this.

I think some people will find this book and some of Stephen's views perhaps offensive (some will no doubt agree whole heart-idly) and others interesting. I have certainly learned more about the other beliefs and religions out there which is fine but I had picked this up hoping to read more about Oprah so for that reason it's a 2/5 for me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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