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Head and Heart: American Christianities Hardcover – October 4, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wills offers his insights into the ties between the history of the United States and Christianity, beginning with the founding fathers all the way to the current regime. The story is enlightening and a fascinating glimpse into a relatively unexamined past. However, Mel Foster's reading is wholly uninspired and all too familiar, offering only a straightforward narration that will surely lose most listeners with its mind-numbing approach. Foster has turned himself down a notch, reading at a sluggish pace as if the audience may not be able to follow along without extreme clarity. As thought-provoking as the material is, Foster's insipid narration makes listening a chore. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The history of Christianity in the U.S. is a dialectic of the intellect and the emotions, Wills maintains in this big new book, which ought to be the one volume everyone interested in the subject reads--it is lucid and grandly informative--and reacts to, thus keeping the conversation alive. Although intransigently theocratic, the Puritans brought both heart (passion) and head (reason) to their religious practice, passionately persecuting dissidents unto death, reasonably fostering broad tolerance and social justice in the words and deeds of Roger Williams and repentant witch-trial judge and abolitionist pioneer Samuel Sewall. Eighteenth-century Quakers merged head and heart to spread antislavery sentiment. The deist Founding Fathers observed the head-heart conflicts and with the First Amendment opted the new federal government out of them by forbidding a national church. That "disestablishment" has been a godsend because, ever since, head and heart have seesawed in influence. Although the Puritans and disestablishment occupy the best pages in the book, Wills' traversal of nineteenth- and twentieth-century developments is full of what will be not only revelations to most Americans but also, they may decide, things they really ought to know. If it is disappointing that Wills ends in contention, arguing that the Bush II administration poses the greatest threat ever to disestablishment, it is also true that his case for seeing abortion as a nonreligious issue is as cogent as it is refreshing. Olson, Ray

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (October 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594201463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201462
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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Format: Hardcover
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