Clearly written and richly detailed, Garrett's work is an excellent study of such dramatic spiritual performances, what he pictures as the sacred theater of popular religion.
(Journal of American Culture
The description is outstanding. Nowhere else can one find such a succinct and eminently readable account that places Shakerism in its broadest context. Garrett makes character and personality come alive throughout the book, from the Prophets' strange gyrations to Mother Ann Lee's drinking problem.
(Journal of American History
[Unravels] the subtle links among such apparently divergent manifestations of popular religion as that of the Camisards and French Prophets of the seventeenth century, German pietism, the early Methodists in England, the revivals of the Great Awakening, the Amana community, and the Shakers... Garrett's study deserves the attention of all who would understand the history and nature of ecstatic experience and its continuing presence in Western religion.
Shaker buffs will not find this study very comforting, but serious students of Shakerism and historians interested in other communal societies stand in Garrett's debt for his excellent contribution to the field, for his determination to address a range of important but difficult interpretive issues, and for his willingness to employ a critical approach to texts too long handled uncritically.
(American Historical Review
A carefully researched, methodologically sophisticated, and lucidly written work.
(Catholic Historical Review
The most successful study yet written of transatlantic spiritual enthusiasm in the century of the Enlightenment.
(Jon Butler, Yale University)
About the Author
Clarke Garrett is Charles A. Dana Professor of History Emeritus at Dickinson College. He is the author of Respectable Folly: Millenarians and the French Revolution.