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Wills offers his insights into the ties between the history of the United States and Christianity, beginning with the founding fathers all the way to the current regime. The story is enlightening and a fascinating glimpse into a relatively unexamined past. However, Mel Foster's reading is wholly uninspired and all too familiar, offering only a straightforward narration that will surely lose most listeners with its mind-numbing approach. Foster has turned himself down a notch, reading at a sluggish pace as if the audience may not be able to follow along without extreme clarity. As thought-provoking as the material is, Foster's insipid narration makes listening a chore. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Jan.)
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*Starred Review* The history of Christianity in the U.S. is a dialectic of the intellect and the emotions, Wills maintains in this big new book, which ought to be the one volume everyone interested in the subject reads--it is lucid and grandly informative--and reacts to, thus keeping the conversation alive. Although intransigently theocratic, the Puritans brought both heart (passion) and head (reason) to their religious practice, passionately persecuting dissidents unto death, reasonably fostering broad tolerance and social justice in the words and deeds of Roger Williams and repentant witch-trial judge and abolitionist pioneer Samuel Sewall. Eighteenth-century Quakers merged head and heart to spread antislavery sentiment. The deist Founding Fathers observed the head-heart conflicts and with the First Amendment opted the new federal government out of them by forbidding a national church. That "disestablishment" has been a godsend because, ever since, head and heart have seesawed in influence. Although the Puritans and disestablishment occupy the best pages in the book, Wills' traversal of nineteenth- and twentieth-century developments is full of what will be not only revelations to most Americans but also, they may decide, things they really ought to know. If it is disappointing that Wills ends in contention, arguing that the Bush II administration poses the greatest threat ever to disestablishment, it is also true that his case for seeing abortion as a nonreligious issue is as cogent as it is refreshing. Olson, Ray --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
A great look at history. Well written and easy to read, it also presents an interesting look at our legal system.Published 15 months ago by Doris S COLE
When I was in grade school, they didn't teach us much about religion in the US.
And no wonder. Read more
I purchased this book because it had caught me attention several years ago and it was on my list to read. Read morePublished on July 25, 2012 by Eric Bierker
I will begin by stating that I am only halfway through the book at this point, and I plan to return and edit this review once I've finished it. Read morePublished on March 9, 2012 by R. M. Lozano
Your head may ache from Garry Wills' lengthy quotes and minute analysis. Your heart may suffer acid reflux from the bitter bile sometimes spewn at the religious right in his book's... Read morePublished on January 23, 2012 by Anthony G Pizza
"We remonstrate against the said Bill,...3. Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. Read morePublished on December 18, 2011 by Ash Ryan
Gary Wills, a distinguished scholar in this field, provides readers with a lively round-up of American church history, from the Great Awakening of the 1730s to today's... Read morePublished on September 6, 2011 by RBourne
Wills explores in great detail the streams of thought in religion and philosophy behind the American Revolution and the founding of the American Republic. Read morePublished on July 7, 2011 by Orville B. Jenkins
I first read Wills when he was a syndicated political columnist during the Nixon administration; I rather liked his ability to write clearly and intelligently while all about him... Read morePublished on April 25, 2011 by Caleb Hanson