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CHRISTIANITY'S AMERICAN FATE

HOW RELIGION BECAME MORE CONSERVATIVE AND SOCIETY MORE SECULAR

A critically important, authoritative history of great, immediate relevance.

A superbly concise examination of how American Christianity’s division into a Protestant two-party system parallel to the existing political one came to deeply alter the nation’s recent politics.

Among the preeminent scholars of American intellectual culture, especially of religious thought, Berkeley historian Hollinger, who admits to having “drifted away” from faith, focuses on how religious Christianity, previously only one among many sociocultural factors at play in public as well as private life, attained its current prominent role in politics. The author asks important questions: How did 20th-century American Protestantism break apart into evangelical and ecumenical camps? Why did White evangelicals gain such influence in the nation’s life? What made Donald Trump and the evangelicals take advantage of each other? While harshly condemning such figures as Billy Graham for racial prejudice, anti-intellectualism, and political favoritism, Hollinger never surrenders his scholarly balance. He fully acknowledges how evangelicalism “made it easy to avoid the challenges of an ethnoracially diverse society and a scientifically informed culture.” He sharply criticizes the mainline churches, the “ideological disarray of American ecumenical intellectuals,” and ecumenical Protestants generally for their failure to realize the growing strength of evangelicalism in their “multidecade campaign to achieve more cosmopolitan Protestantism.” Hollinger makes central to his story the roles both of anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic currents within evangelical Protestantism and the emergence of what he calls “Post-Protestants” and those claiming to be “nones”—people without any felt religious affiliation. The author’s only misstep is the relative lack of attention he pays to the growth among evangelicals of anti-Muslim bias since 9/11. In the end, for all his discouraging reflections, Hollinger, betraying some optimism, reminds us that the bitterness of evangelical opposition to recent social and cultural developments reveals how far post-Protestant social and ethical values have spread beyond religion into public life generally.

A critically important, authoritative history of great, immediate relevance.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-691-23388-8

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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READING GENESIS

In this highly learned yet accessible book, Robinson offers believers fresh insight into a well-studied text.

A deeply thoughtful exploration of the first book of the Bible.

In this illuminating work of biblical analysis, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Robinson, whose Gilead series contains a variety of Christian themes, takes readers on a dedicated layperson’s journey through the Book of Genesis. The author meanders delightfully through the text, ruminating on one tale after another while searching for themes and mining for universal truths. Robinson approaches Genesis with a reverence and level of faith uncommon to modern mainstream writers, yet she’s also equipped with the appropriate tools for cogent criticism. Throughout this luminous exegesis, which will appeal to all practicing Christians, the author discusses overarching themes in Genesis. First is the benevolence of God. Robinson points out that “to say that God is the good creator of a good creation” sets the God of Genesis in opposition to the gods of other ancient creation stories, who range from indifferent to evil. This goodness carries through the entirety of Genesis, demonstrated through grace. “Grace tempers judgment,” writes the author, noting that despite well-deserved instances of wrath or punishment, God relents time after time. Another overarching theme is the interplay between God’s providence and humanity’s independence. Across the Book of Genesis, otherwise ordinary people make decisions that will affect the future in significant ways, yet events are consistently steered by God’s omnipotence. For instance, Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, and that action has reverberated throughout the history of all Jewish people. Robinson indirectly asks readers to consider where the line is between the actions of God and the actions of creation. “He chose to let us be,” she concludes, “to let time yield what it will—within the vast latitude granted by providence.”

In this highly learned yet accessible book, Robinson offers believers fresh insight into a well-studied text.

Pub Date: March 12, 2024

ISBN: 9780374299408

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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