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Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization Hardcover – September, 1999

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From Publishers Weekly

Historian Baumgartner (France in the Sixteenth Century, etc.) chronologically charts how millennialism snakes through the ages, from early Christianity right on up to Jonestown and Waco and beyond. Historically, writes Baumgartner, people have always longed for the Day of Doom. Millennial cults and sects, from Jesus and his disciples to the 19th-century English millennialist John Wroe and David Koresh, have inextricably been tied up with religion, and Baumgartner limits his book to "Christian groups and those heavily influenced by Christianity." Baumgartner's most interesting passages illustrate how millennialism comes to the fore during times of revolution and crisis: the French, American and Russian revolutions, as well as the bomb-crazed Cold War. While Baumgartner for the most part avoids overarching hypotheses about what all this millennial brouhaha might mean, he gives readers a concise survey of the end of the worldAas it has been imagined and, sometimes, actively pursued. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


A lucid and readable survey of the many varieties and permutations of millennialism in Western thought. Paul Boyer, Author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1St Edition edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312210922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312210922
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,476,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. McQueen on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Frederic J. Baumgartner offers a very readable introduction to the history of millennialism in the West. I have now read a fair number of such histories. What makes Baumgartner's different is that, apart from providing the familiar history (which touches on outbreaks of millennialism from the birth of Christianity through the Cold War and Waco), it offers lots of original observations along the way. Nitpickers will notice a few errors in dates or small facts in the book. Scholars of the history of millennialism may also quibble with Baumgartner's interpretation of particular periods and events. However, on the whole, it's a strong and very accessible contribution.
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