The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation

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9780062123435: The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation

The New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and God Is Not One presents a provocative crash course in the great “American scriptures”—those texts that have both divided and defined our understanding of what it is to be American. Stephen Prothero gives readers an exciting and user-friendly introduction to American cultural history in The American Bible. Highlighting the touchstones of our collective cultural legacy, from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense to Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial; from the speeches of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan to the novels of Mark Twain and Ayn Rand, and beyond, Prothero’s stirring and provocative handbook peels back the curtain on the inner workings of what makes America tick.

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From the Back Cover:

Since Thomas Jefferson first recorded those self-evident truths in the Declaration of Independence, America has been a nation that has unfolded as much on the page and the podium as on battlefields or in statehouses. Here Stephen Prothero reveals which texts continue to generate controversy and drive debate. He then puts these voices into conversation, tracing how prominent leaders and thinkers of one generation have commented upon the core texts of another, and invites readers to join in.

Few can question that the Constitution is part of our shared cultural lexicon, that the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision still impacts lives, or that "The Star-Spangled Banner" informs our national identity. But Prothero also considers lesser known texts that have sparked our war of words, including Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In The American Bible Christopher Hitchens weighs in on Huck Finn, and Sarah Palin on Martin Luther King Jr. From the speeches of Presidents Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan to the novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Ayn Rand—Prothero takes the reader into the heart of America's culture wars. These "scriptures" provide the words that continue to unite, divide, and define Americans today.

About the Author:

Stephen Prothero is the New York Times bestselling author of Religious Literacy and God Is Not One and a professor of religion at Boston University. His work has been featured on the cover of TIME magazine, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, NPR, and other top national media outlets. He writes and reviews for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, The Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Slate, and other publications. Visit the author at www.stephenprothero.com or follow his tweets @sprothero.

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