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One Nation, Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics (Religion by Region) Hardcover – June 27, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Religion by Region (Book 9)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (June 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742558452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742558458
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,386,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


For the past several years, Mark Silk and Andrew Walsh have presided over an ambitious, richly textured study of religion and regional variations in the United States. Their findings, which are nicely distilled in this summary volume, point out the importance of geography and regional cultures in decoding both the nation's religious life and its political behavior. I commend this book to anyone seeking to understand the complex mosaic of religious life in America. (Randall Balmer, Columbia University)

This book not only confirms what we already suspect, but goes much further in detailing regional religious differences and how they influence American politics. For general readers, the message is clear: Beware broad generalizations about religion and politics in the United States. For politicians, preachers, and pundits seeking to mobilize the populace one way or another, the message is crucial: Overlook regional views of religion and of its relation to politics at your peril. (Wade Clark Roof, University of California, Santa Barbara)

With the clarity of its analyses and its demonstration of how important the nation's diverse religious regions are—for social mores, for politics, for religion itself—One Nation, Divisible is a splendid and much-welcomed study. (Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame)

The authors create a most compelling mosaic of this phenomenon through their use of history and personal stories. Excellent notes, bibliography, index. Recommended. (CHOICE)

Includes a fascinating final chapter that revisits American history through the prism of regional religious affiliation. This scholarly work will appeal mostly to historians and political scientists, but it will also inform citizens and officials who want to gain insight into the often ignored role of religion in American society. (Foreword Reviews)

One Nation, Divisible is a masterful account of the potent nexus of religion and region in the United States. Silk and Walsh offer an insightful retelling of the American national story through the lenses of piety and place. (John C. Green, University of Akron)

It doesn't happen very often but on occasion books surprise and even delight you for their perspicuity, and the persuasive nature of their argument. Mark Silk and Andrew Walsh's One Nation, Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics does just that. Regional differences in religion and politics matter in America, but showing it and doing it with data, interpretation and occasional pithiness is welcome. I found Silk and Walsh's analysis fresh, unique, and determinative for the case that they make: regional differences matter, both in terms of religious majorities in each region and the unique regional and cultural ecologies.

(Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion)

Mark Silk and Andrew Walsh's excellent One Nation, Divisible presents a valuable corrective should any of us forget the reality and importance of regionalism in American religion or regionalism's consequences for religion and politics and politicians. The authors' regionalist perspective is fascinating, and it is a pleasure to read how fully and skillfully these articulate authors develop this theme in their book. (Robert Booth Fowler, University of Wisconsin, Madison Politics and Religion)

About the Author

Mark Silk is professor of religion in public life at Trinity College and director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. Andrew Walsh is visiting assistant professor of history and religion at Trinity College and associate director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Bw Smith on August 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the last publciation in a series titled "Religion by Region." The book in the series on religion in the Pacific Northwest (a.k.a "The None Zone") has been a hot topic of discussion among Mainline Protestants in that region. I have found the books in the series very informative, employing the scholarly work of historians, geographers, sociologists, theologians/social scientists, journalists and people with an artistic background. When I first looked at this text, I was a bit surprised that the primary editor of the series, Mark Silk, turned the interpretation of regional religious differences toward politics--mostly because politics weren't necessarily covered in the individual books about religion in each region. Learning more about Silk's other publications, I'm not so surprised about this turn. This topic is applicable for this election year, which I'm sure will sell a few more books. However, I was looking for a little more interpretation regarding what was broadly learned about the research about regional religious differences from several years of research and writing. The American political application seems timely, but I was hoping that more could be gleaned. I was going to read this book regardless of the angle--the books in the series are valuable teaching and reference tools. One Nation, Divisible is an excellent text, using politics that could bring the concept of regional religious differences to a wider audience. I was hoping for a more broad interpretation of religion by region than merely American politics.
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Format: Hardcover
This book does have some good insights on how religion shapes politics, especially in the "Southern Crossroads" region, being more conservative and more politically active than the Old South. Since the Crossroads is the driver of the modern GOP of the last 15 years, that alone makes this book worth reading.

That said, I have a criticism of the geographic divisions and, if I'm following another person correctly, it applies to this whole series, not just this book.

First, in a couple of cases, divisions should be made within states. Three come immediately to mind.
1. Northern Missouri belongs in the Midwest, not the Crossroads. Its German Catholicism, especially in St. Louis, and its German Lutheranism, just aren't part of the "Crossroads."
1A. Kansas is really becoming a Crossroads state more than a Midwest one.
2. The Boise area and the Panhandle areas of Idaho probably should be carved out of the Mountain West and attached to the Pacific North West.
3. Northern Virginia is really becoming more and more part of the Middle Atlantic and not the South.

As you read this book, or any in this series, I guess, you might have to do some mental filtering for this.

Otherwise, this is a decent book.
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