There is no doubt that Oprah Winfrey has heavily influenced a lot of the American people and even some non Americans all over the world as well. In Where has Oprah taken us, The Religious Influence of the World’s Most Famous Woman, Stephen Mansfield looks in to Oprah and her life as a spiritual being.
The book starts out innocently enough, telling of Oprah’s early life and how her mother didn’t know who her father was, but decided that it was Vernon Winfrey. She bounced back and forth between her mother and father’s house and while eventually it was found out that Vernon was not her father, he treated her as his daughter just the same. Oprah was promiscuous as a teen and ended up pregnant but lost the baby shortly after it was born.
The story goes on to chronicle Oprah’s start on television and how poor ratings affected her and only wanted to make her do better and in to the birth of the Oprah Winfrey show. It talks about how she had some crazy show topics in order to compete with Phil Donahue who was the top daytime host at that time.
Then the book goes on to completely rip apart a lot of the “gurus” that Oprah has had on her show and how Oprah needed to do more background on these people and what they were saying before having them on the show to spread it to her viewers, which ate up everything she mentioned making many, many books she has had on her show Bestsellers.
The book was interesting to me, because I am not the biggest fan of Oprah myself. I have to agree with a lot of the author says about how she doesn’t do her research (But my biggest pet peeve when it comes to her is how she compares ANYONE who has girls screaming for them to the Beatles!) It is only 5 chapters, but each one is decently long and broken up in to smaller sub-chapters. The end of the book has a lot of information about the research the author did and an in depth index in case you are looking to look up just certain topics that Oprah has had on her show.
About the Book:
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.
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