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What happens when a secular Washington Post reporter spends hundreds of hours hanging out with the students, faculty, and founder of a Christian college full of homeschooled students who aim to take America back for God? You might expect a hatchet job, but Hannah Rosin, the author of God's Harvard, produced a book about Patrick Henry College (PHC) that is a model of engagement between two worlds.

Rather than attempt to disguise her worldview, Rosin writes about life at Patrick Henry from a frankly personal perspective. Feminism is of the standards by which she measures the college and students. In the high value PHC and its homeschooled students place on traditional marriage and family roles, Rosin sees a system that marginalizes women and forces them to embrace motherhood at the price of their career ambitions. She sees a sadness in the lives of the PHC girls she studies. It's difficult to discern whether that sadness is really there or whether it is superimposed by her worldview.

Rosin also sounds a warning to the secular culture she identifies with: The kids of PHC are more sophisticated in their approach than earlier waves of Christian conservatives. The current crop of homeschoolers has been groomed to "take back the nation" and rescue "a lost and fallen world," she writes. She concludes, "If Christians want to take back the culture and shape the nation, this is the first generation that has a real shot at it."

Although Rosin seems alarmed by the bright and ambitious students of Patrick Henry because of their conservative agenda and Christian worldview, she is not sure she likes where mainstream culture is going. At one point, she describes a New York Magazine story about her old high school and "bi-queer, metroflexible ...

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Innocence and Ambition at Patrick Henry College
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October 2007

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