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Religion in America: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – July 29, 2008
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About the Author
Timothy Beal is the Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University. Author of several books, including the critically acclaimed Roadside Religion (2005), he has published essays on religion and American culture for The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Washington Post. He has been featured on national radio shows including NPR's All Things Considered and The Bob Edwards Show.
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Top Customer Reviews
All of these topics are relevant to a study of religion in America ... but I question the space given to some topics, and the neglect of others, in a “very short introduction.” That is, page after page is devoted to a description of the author’s commute, noting the variety of religions represented in the physical landscape. It’s a remarkable landscape, without doubt, but it is merely a listing, a catalog, emphasizing variety without giving the reader any understanding of the activity or belief within those buildings. Likewise, his coverage of the religious aspects of the political, economic, and geographical dispossession of Native Americans seems too specialized, too monopolizing of scarce space in what purports to be a general introduction to the broad role of religion in American life.Read more ›
The subject of the book, religion in America, has aspects which are both local and personal and extremely broad. In addition, the subject lends itself to a variety of treatments, including historical, sociological, philosophical and more. As Beal recognizes, treatment of the subject in a book of under 100 pages necessarily only skims the surface. Yet, Beal offers a readable, informed account with its own perspective that encourages thought about its subject.
In his brief account, Beal takes a variety of approaches with the aim of explaining the American paradox of unity in diversity. He takes the reader on a tour of the many (over 50) different religious sites and places of worship in the short drive from his home to his university. From this local point of view, Beal shifts to statistics which show the breadth of religious commitments in the United States with its many religious denominations, Christian and non-Christian. He talks as well about "outsider religion" practiced by some individuals with no particular denomination. In its early years, the United States was predominantly but not exclusively Protestant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another class out of the way soon! Liked that it is a small book with a lot of information!Published 21 months ago by dagidives
I did not have any real issues with the time it took for the book to actually come and it was in perfect condition also.Published on January 23, 2014 by Joseph
Author spends too much space on describing his particular religious environment -- which is rather boring for readers. The historical overview is ok, though.Published on February 16, 2009 by Dr. David J. Bos