Book Review: “The Spiritual Roots of Kansas City”

Emily Arnold, Staff Writer

From the rivers to the roads, “The Spiritual Roots of Kansas City”, written by Bill High and Annika Bergen, explores the rich, prophetic history of Kansas City. The book starts where the city began – with the European missionaries and fur traders landing in Kansas City after journeying west. The city began to grow spiritually as the missionaries brought the Bible to the Native Americans and economically as the fur traders began building their industry. High and Bergen describe the rise of church plants throughout the city as it continued to grow. They tell the history behind each church and the history of the roads which lead to each church – all which lead to the development of Kansas City. The book then discusses how Kansas City was shaped through floods, wars and riots, industrial growth, immigration, diversity, and cultural changes. It tells the story of Pendergast’s mob rule and other negative historical events and contrasts these events with the citywide prayer movements that brought Kansas City closer together.

As someone who has lived in Kansas City their whole life, this book changed my perspective of my home. I learned so much about the historic sites I see around town or the different houses and their architecture I see when I drive downtown. I discovered the meaning behind road names that I travel on everyday. Quite frankly, I didn’t know half of the places the High and Bergen mentioned in “The Spiritual Roots of Kansas City.” I like the fact that the book not only included the names of places around Kansas City but showed photos of these specific places and often giving their address making it easy if you wanted to see these places in person. Each chapter introduced a new aspect of Kansas City’s history, therefore it was able to easily keep my attention. Additionally, the way the book was written was easy to follow and understand; it was as if you were having a literal conversation with the authors.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about how God moves through cities and people, or anyone wanting to learn about the history of Kansas City from a spiritual perspective. Our city is so rich and so full of lively history that this book captured perfectly.