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Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life Paperback – May 13, 1996
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Habits of the Heart is required reading for anyone who wants to understand how religion contributes to and detracts from America's common good. An instant classic upon publication in 1985, it was reissued in 1996 with a new introduction describing the book's continuing relevance for a time when the country's racial and class divisions are being continually healed and ripped open again by religious people. Habits of the Heart describes the social significance of faiths ranging from "Sheilaism" (practiced by a California nurse named Sheila) to conservative Christianity. It's thoroughly readable, theologically respectful, and academically irreproachable. --Michael Joseph Gross
""Habits of the Heart is, rare among works of scholarly origin, an outspoken and even emotional plea for attention to an argument, and a danger. Its power is in the passion of its analysis, the vision of us . . . narrowing the gap between the inordinate rewards of success and the not less inordinate punishments for failure, in economic terms, in the society."--"Los Angeles Times
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After Chapter 1, though, the authors drop most of the interview subjects and change to editorializing pundits. They pour their interview subjects into their own framework which grows more and more Procrustean, as they claim that their subjects don't understand their own lives and communities.
It's very interesting and reasonably well presented editorializing, though. Three stars for that.