Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography

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9780062503435: Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography

First published in 1985, this widely praised biography of Reinhold Niebuhr, perhaps the most important American theologian of the twentieth century, is once again in print.

"By drawing for the first time on the vast correspondence between Niebuhr and his secular colleagues, Mr. Fox demonstrates that no American theologian ever had such an impact on unbelievers. And no one has since. . . . [Fox] paints a lively picture of the beloved teacher [and] frenetic political organizer . . . Niebuhr seems to have been."--Harvey Cox, The New York Times

"Based on meticulous research which includes numerous interviews and a declassified FBI file, the book is written with a verve, grace, and depth of understanding worthy of its subject. Fox is remarkably successful in fusing criticism with sympathetic appreciation and in relating Niebuhr's evolving thought to his public career and private self-scrutiny."--David Brion Davis, The New York Review of Books

Fox's book is bound to establish itself as an indispensable contribution not just to our understanding of Niebuhr but to an understanding of the history of twentieth-century liberalism, which Niebuhr did so much to redefine."--Christopher Lasch, In These Times

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From Publishers Weekly:

Although he died only 14 years ago, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr seems an elusive figure. Neoconservatives claim him for their own as a foe of Soviet communism and utopianism. Leftists champion the angry critic of consumerism, the Socialist candidate, the supporter of workplace democracy who exposed Henry Ford's exploitative practices. This biography by Fox (a historian at Reed College) is the fullest and most thoroughly researched to date, offering a vibrant portrait of the prophet-like minister whose views throughout his life were proof of his tough-minded independence. Preaching to Detroit's working-class population in the 1920s, Niebuhr told his flock that true happiness meant constant struggle, or what the world called unhappiness. In the 1930s he shocked his fellow pacifists by arguing that violence is not intrinsically immoral. In 1943, he was one of very few Americans who urged FDR to allow more European Jews to emigrate to the U.S. After World War II, Niebuhr, an anticommunist, repudiated any simple contrast between an evil Soviet regime and virtuous American democracya message that seems especially timely today. This is a valuable starting point for an understanding of Niebuhr the theologian, the political thinker and the man of action. January 21
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Fox (History, Reed College) has produced the first full-scale biography of the man many believe to be America's foremost 20th-century theologian. The thoroughly documented work takes the reader from Niebuhr's small-town beginnings through his early pastoral ministry to his emergence as the academic priest-prophet who preached both the gospel of hope for coping with everyday life and the gospel of repentance for confronting personal sin and social evil. The author succeeds in combining journalism and scholarship. He has written a definitive biography which should appeal to both the wide general audience and the more narrow professional readership. Highly recommended for academic, public, and church libraries. Ken Phifer, Montgomery Cty. P.L. & Montgomery Coll. Lib., Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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