From Publishers Weekly
Historian Baumgartner (France in the Sixteenth Century, etc.) chronologically charts how millennialism snakes through the ages, from early Christianity right on up to Jonestown and Waco and beyond. Historically, writes Baumgartner, people have always longed for the Day of Doom. Millennial cults and sects, from Jesus and his disciples to the 19th-century English millennialist John Wroe and David Koresh, have inextricably been tied up with religion, and Baumgartner limits his book to "Christian groups and those heavily influenced by Christianity." Baumgartner's most interesting passages illustrate how millennialism comes to the fore during times of revolution and crisis: the French, American and Russian revolutions, as well as the bomb-crazed Cold War. While Baumgartner for the most part avoids overarching hypotheses about what all this millennial brouhaha might mean, he gives readers a concise survey of the end of the worldAas it has been imagined and, sometimes, actively pursued. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"A lucid and readable survey of the many varieties and permutations of millennialism in Western thought. This admirably accessible overview provides a useful historical context for ideas that remain pervasive and potent today." - Paul Boyer, Author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture