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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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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)
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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.