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Covering Protestant, Hindu, Jewish, New Age, Mormon, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, and many other faiths, Religion in Twentieth Century America is a dynamic look at religion in America through two World Wars, vast industrialization, the civil rights movement, and massive immigration. Included are crucial moments, such as:
* The appointment of Louis Brandeis, a Jew, to the U.S. Supreme Court
* The contentious court trial of John T. Scopes, which dramatized the debate over Darwinism
* The extraordinary rise of evangelist Billy Graham at mid-century
* The Presbyterian church's decision to ordain women
*The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
*The federal government's decision to attack the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
With a chronology, index, and suggestions for further reading following, these momentous events and others are tied together in an absorbing narrative in Religion in Twentieth Century America, providing an illuminating guide to the complex issues of 21st-century religion.
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Randall Balmer is at Barnard College.From School Library Journal:
Gr 9 Up-From the Pentecostal revival sparked by Agnes Ozman in Kansas, 1901, to the flare and fade of the millennium in 1999, this text covers a century of events, ideas, and trends. Its seven chapters tell one story, but can also be read independently, as they cover and characterize specific periods: "The Age of Militancy" for the interwar years, for example, or the "Age of Upheaval" for the `60s and `70s. Balmer includes a few original-source excerpts (e.g., from Autobiography of Malcolm X), and there is a useful chronology as well as a list for further reading (exclusive of online materials). Unfortunately, there is no glossary nor is there an index entry for "humanist" or "secular humanist," though the concept figures significantly in portions of the text. This is as much a social as a religious history, and the author had to, of course, be selective. One theme-the tension between fundamentalism and modernism-does recur, and many of the items treated in passing here will find an expanded place in another volume of the series. Overall, this title is accessible and reliable, brief and lively, and makes a fine addition to most libraries.
Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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