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The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers Paperback – February 23, 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen J. Stein received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1970 and subsequently taught in Indiana University's Department of Religious Studies for 35 years. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including two from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1994, he served as the President of the American Society of Church History. In 1995, Stein received the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research at Indiana University. He edited three volumes in The Works of Jonathan Edwards. He also edited The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards. Stein's volume, The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers, was awarded the Philip Schaff Prize by the American Society of Church History in 1994. He is a historical advisor on The Joseph Smith Papers and a co-editor of the journal Religion and American Culture.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 574 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (February 23, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300059337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300059335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By frumiousb VINE VOICE on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ann Lee said "Do all your work as though you had a thousand years to live, and as you would if you knew you must die tommorrow." That sentiment carries much of the flavor of the American Shaker sect and acts as a guiding principle for understanding their history.
And that history is important, particularly if you want to understand the US during the nineteenth century. These highly successful communities managed to contribute to the fabric of a nation while living out their ideals of celibacy, simplicity of life, separation from the world, and community of goods. Industrialization and the US Civil War caused the circumstances that led to their inevitable decline, as the new country became more interested in class struggle than utopian visions.
Extremely interesting reading.
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Format: Paperback
Having visited the Shaker Handcock site during 1997, I became interested in the Shaker experience. Found this publication to be well researched and written so that it kept ones interest and provided material that took the reader inside the whole concept and idea that they believed in. Would recomend this book to anyone with an open mind and who enjoys different subjects and views.
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Format: Paperback
Hang onto your bonnets...this book purports to be the true, un-romanticized history of the Shakers, which it is. It includes all the struggles, the in-fighting amongst the Shakers and between the various communities, the split between religious ideals and worldly dealing, their long and painful downfall in the hands of trust funds and lawyers, and includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. You won't find lyrical descriptions of their peaceful daily lives, beautiful craftsmanship or joyful personal worship. If you want that, go watch Ken Burns' documentary. I must say that this nitty-gritty, warts-and-all story is just as one-sided as a glamorous photo book of oval boxes, architecture and rhapsodic poetry about Shaker purity. We need to experience both sides, not one or the other.
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By JeanL on March 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had purchased the book as was taking part in a Road Scholar trip to Pleasant HIll in Kentucky, a restored Shaker Village. The book is extremely well documented but found I sometimes did read through great amounts of detail. But it is well worth reading to discover the more complicated history of the group which goes beyond furniture and songs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book describes the Shaker life, but it did so in a way that seemed dry to me. I tried to read it for a college level course, but honestly did not make it all the way through. That is saying something, coming from a person who reads every book she starts from cover to cover, especially if it is an assignment!
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Format: Paperback
This book is for anyone who wants to understand "the shaker experience in America". I have to admit, it is a bit dry and text book like but this book is factual and dispells many myths that people have about the shakers. A must for anyone interested in this religion , in addition to visiting a Shaker site or museum collection
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