New Historical Atlas of Religion in America

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9780195091687: New Historical Atlas of Religion in America
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In two editions over 40 years, Edwin Gaustad's Atlas of American Religion has been an essential guide to the American religious experience. Now the New Historical Atlas of Religion in America takes the story into the new millennium.
Expanded, reorganized, and now in full color, the new edition of this classic reference work is an arresting visual and narrative portrait of the growth, development, and diversity of America's communities of faith across nearly 400 years.
Here is a vastly more complex American religious life--from the decline of mainstream Protestantism to the emergence of evangelical churches and the growing influence of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths. Parts One and Two are a history--in maps and text--of American religions. Part Three focuses in-depth on Lutherans, Mormons, and Roman Catholics. Part Four examines the political, cultural, and social aspects of religion in American public life.
Lavishly illustrated with full-color maps, charts, and diagrams, the new Atlas is an essential resource for all readers--students, teachers, scholars, and everyone seeking to understand the remarkable religious history of the United States.

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About the Author:

Edwin Scott Gaustad is at University of California, Riverside. Philip L. Barlow is at Hanover College, Indiana.

From Booklist:

"Anyone hoping to comprehend religion in its historical context ignores geography at some peril." So begin the editors in their preface to a new and expanded edition of the Historical Atlas of Religion in America, first published in 1976. The landscape of religion in America has changed much in the intervening quarter century, the growth of non-Western religious traditions and the decline of denominational loyalty among many Protestants being two examples. This revised atlas shows in maps and other illustrations where these changes have taken place over time.

The atlas is divided into four parts, the first two constituting the revision of the earlier edition. Part 1 covers institutional and ethnic religions to 1800, where part 2 picks up the story and continues through to the present. Each part is subdivided into sections treating Christian denominations, Judaism, Native American religions, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, and others. The atlas clearly strives to provide a historical and comprehensive view of the pluralism of religion in America. Color maps, graphs, and other illustrations accompany brief histories of these specific religious groups. For example, the treatment of Episcopalians in part 2 includes a graph of growth and decline in church membership from 1800 to 1996 as well as maps showing the number of Episcopal churches by county in 1850, 1890, 1950, and 1990. Whenever possible, similar maps are provided for other groups, allowing for, say, a comparison of Roman Catholics and Episcopalians over the same period. Sections end with supplemental bibliographies.

Parts 3 and 4 are new to this edition. Part 3 presents case studies of three groups--Lutherans, Mormons, and Roman Catholics--in which a more detailed cartographic examination is provided. Part 4 is a less-than-successful hodgepodge of information, including a brief look at Canada, a list of religious place-names in the U.S., and the denominational composition of three recent U.S. Congresses. The "Conclusion" section of the atlas is wonderful, offering maps of denominational predominance in the U.S. by county from 1790 to 1990 as well as pie charts for each state that give 1890 and 1990 percentages of denominational affiliation. Then comes an assortment of appendixes, such as a table showing the number of churches by denomination in 1890 and maps of each state with county names. Finally, the atlas concludes with a detailed index.

New Historical Atlas of Religion in America contains as much text as it does maps. This is a good thing, as it can easily serve as an encyclopedia of sorts of American religious history. A more thorough treatment can be found in the Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience (Scribner, 1988). Those interested in more detailed statistics on churches and church membership should consult the many publications of the Glenmary Research Center.

This reference work contains a wealth of textual, cartographic, and bibliographic information. As such, it should not be lost in an atlas case. Recommended for academic and large public library collections. REVWR
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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