Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

The American Religion 2nd Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0978721008
ISBN-10: 0978721004
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Trade in your item
Get a $2.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
More Buying Choices
7 New from $127.12 17 Used from $48.94
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University, is the author of more than thirty books, including The Anxiety of Influence, The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human and How to Read and Why. His many honors include a MacArthur Award, the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the International Prize of Catalonia, the Alfonso Reyes Award of Mexico, and the Hans Christian Andersen Prize of Denmark.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Chu Hartley Publishers Llc; 2nd edition (October 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978721004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978721008
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,293,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University is always an interesting read, regardless of his subject. He is among the best read individuals in America. It is pleasant to read such a work about the coming forth of the religions spawned by the great American experiment. In this book he documents his own bias as a cultural non-believing Jew which does not seem to color his opinion of the Christian faiths he observes. His is an interesting critique of the rise of these American religions including: Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism, Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Southern Baptism and Fundamentalism, and African American spirituality.

He seems to treat each fairly and justly as one from a background in literature and humanities, one with such an intellect and critical mind would do. History must judge each of these religious movements without the jaundiced eye of one who wants desperately to defend or equally angrily to defame the groups about which they write. Thus, this work is refreshing in the fairness with which it treats each. No religious movement is without its problems. Their founders and promulgators are always men and women who, even if they claim to be representing Deity or the Son of Deity, are mere mortals like ourselves. They are subject to foibles as well as we and few claimed to be perfect.

Among the numerous books that seek to defame many of these religions, particularly the Mormons or LDS, it is refreshing to see a fair appraisal by one who has nothing to gain nor to lose. Objectivity is something that is often missing in books such as this. Professor Bloom deserves praise for looking at an interesting, but not an easy subject to critique with an unbiased eye.
Read more ›
2 Comments 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I have read and re-read this for years, starting with the first edition, and I have bought and loaned more copies than I can count. Many of them I didn't get back but I always figured that was in a good cause. Anyone who wants to understand the present-day American religious scene should have this basic understanding of the history of how America changed religions which came from Europe and how America invented new ones. When the Jehovah's Witnesses knock at your door, when a devout Mormon runs for President, and when a Southern Baptist preacher waves the bible at you but doesn't seem to know it very well - do you wonder where all that came from? Well, read this book.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was a disappointment to me. Bloom is one of our most admired literary critics and philosophers. He recognizes that religion in America has immense diversity, yet common characteristics. However despite being a scholar of religion, I was unable to get a clear idea of just what he means by 'the American religion.' He regards it as Gnostic, but Gnosticism is a slippery concept, in part because if was originally defined by its early Christian enemies.

The book is a product of original thought, but one wishes for greater clarity.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
I once watched Sarah Palin say this at a campaign rally: "What this country needs is more divine intervention in the White House." I think she meant "inspiration." Still, the crowd went wild with applause. Her quote illustrates one of the theories of Bloom's book, that for many Americans the only politics they know is religion. God would be right there with Palin in the White House as her chief adviser. And her fans loved it.

Bloom makes his case that this new American Religion is an entirely personal experience of God(or Jesus), uncontaminated by scripture or exegesis. It claims to be a submission of will; in effect it is an apotheosis of the self. Its method is to invite God into one's own mind. Enthusiasm, that is Happiness and Joy, are the payoff.

But is it Christian? No, says Bloom. It is Gnosticism, or something very like it. Once engulfed by the Spirit, one's mind realizes that this material world is the present battle ground of Good vs. Evil. And that very soon the Apocalypse shall herald an End of Days. Yeah for the Apocalypse! Yippee!

Clearly Bloom intends the book to be a warning. America is the most religious of Western Nations. It is the most powerful on earth. And it has forged a religion of narcissism and self-righteousness that claims that this country is the new Jerusalem. And out there, were the Evil lurks, it will battle God's enemy. Meanwhile, out there, others are thinking the exact same thing about us.

I cannot fault the premise of the book, which is thoughtfully constructed. There is more to be found in it than criticism. True believers should stay away, nonetheless. While Bloom is careful to express his admiration, it can at times seem feint praise.

Given Bloom's profession, literary criticism, I thought he might prove to be a more compelling storyteller. Sadly, the book reads as one written by a professor. That explains the four-star rating.
1 Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an American & a Mormon it's quite interesting to read a pretty much honest, outsider's treatise on these religions.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harold Bloom makes some very good points here that perhaps even those faithful members of the "American Religions" should consider reading. The members of these faiths he discusses would do well to read what he has to say and then go back and live their faiths the best they can. In my opinion - much of the book is uplifting.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: comparative religion, christianity