Reagan’S Christian Soldiers
Under Fire: An American Story,by Oliver L. North, with William Novak (HarperCollins/Zondervan, 446 pp.; $25.00, hardcover);Koop: The Memoirs of America’s Family Doctor,by C. Everett Koop, M.D. (Random House, 342 pp.; $22.50, hardcover). Reviewed by John Wilson, an editor and writer for a publisher of reference books in Pasadena, California.

Although autobiography may not be an exclusively Western literary genre, it has flourished in the West as in no other culture. The notion that each person’s life has a discoverable meaning—an assumption basic to autobiography—is Christian at its roots.

Also Reviewed In This Section:

40 Spare the Child,by Philip Greven

40 The Scattered Voice,by James W. Skillen

42 Faithful Attraction,by Andrew M. Greeley

44 How to Be Pentecostal Without Speaking in Tongues,by Tony Campolo

44 Wake Up America!by Tony Campolo

From the Confessions of Augustine to C. S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy, classic autobiographies have looked inward as well as outward, not content with a mere record of events. Many of the earliest texts in American literature are spiritual autobiographies or conversion narratives.

Oliver North and C. Everett Koop are distant heirs to this rich tradition. In their autobiographies, both men unambiguously profess an evangelical Christian faith; both discern a pattern of God’s working in their lives. Neither man, however, is much given to introspection; these books focus on public life, particularly on controversies that brought them to national attention during the Reagan years.

While each of these autobiographies has something to offer on its own terms, the two books are more interesting when read together, not only for their dovetailing accounts of how the Reagan administration ...

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