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American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the History of Religious Intolerance Hardcover – November 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137278293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137278296
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is a fascinating historical journey for anyone with an interest in history, religion and community.” —Press Association

“Eclectic examples from the ample album of bigotry in American democracy.” —Kirkus Reviews

A must read in a 21st century when religious pluralism and religious intolerance are a global challenge. Peter Gottschalk’s American Heretics is a unique and powerful study and critique, a corrective to many American’s amnesia about our past history of religious intolerance and, in his last chapter, a wakeup call to “The Sum of All Fears: Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Sentiment.” —John L. Esposito, author of The Future of Islam and Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism.

“American Heretics is a heartfelt plea to Americans to take responsibility for their xenophobia and racism. Gottschalk is relentless in presenting the grimy shame of U.S. nativism, giving new detail to both past and current events we thought we knew, all the while insisting that all Americans share in this shame." —Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

About the Author

Peter Gottschalk is the chair of the Religion department at Wesleyan University. He is the co-author of the scholarly text Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, which examines the depiction of Muslims in political cartoons. It was reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, and he was interviewed on CNN, NPR, Air America, and Voice of America,and was featured in USA Today, and The Washington Post’s "On Faith" website. He lives in Middletown, CT.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darcia Helle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
American Heretics is a fascinating look at the history of religion and the associated intolerance within the United States. For a nation supposedly founded on freedom of religious choice, our society is remarkably judgmental. This book offers surprising insight into the way our religious snobbery has evolved over the years.

While not an overly long book, Peter Gottschalk manages to fit in an astounding amount of information. The book is well organized and easy to read. Gottschalk makes no religious or moral claims, nor does he attempt to lecture or preach. He simply provides the mirror reflecting our hypocrisy.

This is one of those books that pertains to everyone, regardless of your religious base (or lack thereof). I highly recommend this book to everyone. And please read with an open mind. You might be surprised at how much of yourself you see within these pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Penny Thoughtful on December 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book for its readable history and its sensible yet surprising conclusions. A nation founded on religious freedom has a history of discriminating against one religion after another after another; as each religion is assimilated into the larger culture, another becomes the target. One wonders who will be next after we tire of persecuting Muslims.
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By Jonn of Mars on March 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
American Heretics has been a very satisfying book for me. It has answered, or put into new perspective, a few questions regarding religious intolerance I've had regarding this darker side of US history.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Conrad Hoss on February 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A good quick primer for those who have no background in true American history, i.e. those most Americans who have gone through school and never researched this on their own. Focuses on the history of religious discrimination against Quakers, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Branch Davidians, and Muslims, and contains cited sources and proposed solutions. Also covers racism and ethnic attacks against Irish and Hindu. Well researched. I am surprised of the low number of reviews here on Amazon- this is a controversial book and widely available in mainstream bookstores. I'm sure the folks at Jihad Watch will take issue with the chapter on Muslims, and conservative radio hosts and their fans would bash this book if they read it.

It's controversial because the author tackles debatable topics such as: all religions and cults are equal in the plurality, White Anglo Saxon Protestants seem to be the most detestable people in the world, Waco was not a cult, denies any Islamic Jihad in America, and stereotypes are all bad.

Ultimately I would have appreciated a chapter on how Protestants have been persecuted, after all the author implies all religions are equal, and victims of discrimination are all pure, as are their belief systems. Thus it seems hypocritical by the author to attack WASPs about labeling and stereotyping other religions and showing WASPs as close-minded, ignorant Bible-thumping racists and anti-Semitics, without devoting a chapter on how THEY have been attacked by Catholics, atheists, the left wing movement, and Muslims.

This would have shown that the author was not entirely biased, as he paints a horrific picture of WASPs.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Walter Jerry Raley Sr. on February 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very informational view of the diversity of people considered to be Hispanic but gave a very biased view overall.
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More About the Author

Peter Gottschalk writes both about Islamophobia in the United States and about Hindu-Muslim relations in India. At the heart of his work is a fascination with the dynamics of cultural interpretation and conflict. He is interested particularly in understanding how assumptions of mutual antagonism form between groups despite evidence of commonalities.

Peter enjoys presenting on these topics and has discussed them in the U.S., Europe, Turkey, India, and Bangladesh at colleges and universities, professional conferences, public events, and religious communities. He has appeared on CNN, Voice of America, and National Public Radio, while his work has been mentioned in USA Today and the On Faith website of The Washington Post. His books have been reviewed, among other places, in The New York Times and The Times Literary Supplement.

Peter is Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University. He received his B.A. in History at the College of the Holy Cross, his M.A. in South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his Ph.D. in the History of Religions from the University of Chicago.