By People Staff
October 13, 1997 12:00 PM

by Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson has attracted a loyal following with her upbeat speeches and bestselling books stressing the power of spiritual values, optimism and self-esteem. Now this New Age guru is attempting to widen her audience and her ambitions, to help not only her followers but an entire nation. In The Healing of America, she asks (and answers) the question of what’s ailing our country and how we might cure it. Though her emphasis on our need for God might send some readers checking to make sure the Constitution was clear about separating church and state, much of what she says is so benign that hardly anyone could object. She wants us to return to the ideals of our founding fathers; to care about children, rich and poor; to practice compassion and transcend prejudice and greed; to contact our congressmen and make our wishes known. Still, one can’t help wondering whose mind will be changed by her prescriptions. It seems all too likely that most of her readers will agree with her already, so that she is only, one might say, preaching to the choir. (Simon & Schuster, $24)