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God and War: American Civil Religion since 1945 Hardcover – June 13, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"The idea that America has a civil religion has a notoriously slippery history. Raymond Haberski, Jr. gives us a wonderfully lucid and keenly perceptive account of how this idea has been variously appropriated and refashioned since World War II." 
(Gary Dorrien Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University 2012-01-23)

"A self-proclaimed 'nation under God,' the United States has a pronounced affinity for war. In this illuminating and important book, Raymond Haberski explores the intimate and largely pernicious relationship between these two abiding aspects of American identity."
(Andrew J. Bacevich Boston University 2012-01-23)

God and War perceptively reveals the component parts of America’s civil religion since 1945. It is a troubling story steeped in a mythical idea that the nation’s violence was blessed by God.”
(John Bodnar author of The Good War In American Memory 2012-02-02)

"The best book on American civil religion since The Broken Covenant. Haberski takes us up to the present day, illuminating how times of war can both summon and distort civil religion."
(Philip S. Gorski Yale University 2012-02-09)

"Haberski's analysis of civil religion in the US is timely given the recent Afghan and Iraqi wars. Haberski portrays the US as a country at a civil crossroads in search of a national identity and purpose. Whether it is the old one or a new one remains to be seen. Highly recommended."
(Choice 2012-12-01)

"Raymond Haberski Jr.'s book is a valuable contribution to the rich body of work addressing American civil religion. [It is] a highly recommended, absorbing study that will be of interest to scholars and students in a wide range of disciplines, as well as to general readers."
(Journal of American History 2014-09-01)

About the Author

RAYMOND HABERSKI JR. is an associate professor of history at Marian University. He is the author of several books, including It’s Only a Movie: Films and Critics in American Culture, The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court, and Freedom to Offend: How New York Remade Movie Culture.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (July 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813552958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813552958
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 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: #1,458,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Charles Albert Homsy on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
God and War: American Civil religion since 1945, is a vexing book. About 80 % of the book is given over to quotes of various religious figures on the role of religion in the directing the affairs and particularly the foreign policy of the United States since World War II. The authors commentary on these quotes is singularly neutral as the book develops a picture of the baneful effects that said religious commentators have had on our foreign policy especially as regards warfare. The penultimate chapter, entitled Civil religion Forsaken, includes the words of several anti-war commentators, as Anatol Lieven, Cornel West, Susan Sontag and Colonel (now Professor) Andrew Becevich after comments by Rev. Graham, and Catholic priest Richard Neuhaus. This chapter continued to deliver the author's careful neutrality on "civil religion and war" but left this reader with the clarity that religiosity had no place in the ethos of our nation's policies and had indeed had had a very baneful effect on same.

The final chapter was vexatious in concluding with the affirmation that "while prone to manipulation, civil religion is also the only way to acknowledge that we need to believe in something worthy of the sacrifices that have been and will continue to be made in the name of the nation". What nonsense to read this after the recitation throughout the tome of the ways organized religion, and its handmaiden civil religion have led the country to commit repeated acts of folly in its relations with other nations. The author has exposed the folly but shuns the conclusion that civil religion (and its source: faith based entities) have been proximate causes.
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By Tim Lacy on October 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a first-rate book on how war has been perceived in American society since World War II. I summarized my comments here: http://thinkingthroughhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/reflections-on-haberskis-god-and-war/.
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