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The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today


The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today Cover

ISBN13: 9780060630560
ISBN10: 0060630566
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A Dynamic Account of Religion's Central Role in American History

About the Author

Edwin S. Gaustad is a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. He is a noted church historian and the author of over a dozen books, including The Great Awakening in New England, Dissent in American Religion, and A Religious History of America.

Leigh Eric Schmidt is professor of religion at Princeton University and the co-author with Edwin S. Gaustad of The Religious History of America. Widely published as a cultural historian, essayist, and reviewer, he has won book prizes from the American Studies Association, the American Society of Church History, and the American Academy of Religion.

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Home School Book Review, May 28, 2012 (view all comments by Home School Book Review)
Several years ago I purchased a couple of volumes on American religious history to help in preparing lessons or classes on the history of religion in the United States to be included in a series about church history. Compared to Sydney E. Ahlstrom’s A Religious History of the American People, Gaustad’s work, of which I have the original edition, is not quite as detailed, is filled with illustrations to make it more eye appealing, and while it was probably also intended as a college textbook is written in a more popular than strictly academic style.

The 24 chapters are grouped into five parts. Part I covers the Age of Exploration, Part II the Age of Colonization, Part III the Age of Expansion, Part IV This Nation Under God; At Worship, and Part V This Nation Under God: At Work. The book starts with the first Catholic colonies established by Spain, Portugal, and France; moves on to the Anglican and English settlements; then covers topics that include the Puritans in New England, separation of church and state, slavery, the growth of the church in the twentieth century, and the effect that war has on religion. Two complaints are that the book completely leave outs the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a bias seems to creep in about more recent events as the activities of the religious left have a tone of approval while the activities of the religious right are written with a tone of disapproval.

Author Edwin Scott Gaustad, who was a Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside, and also wrote the Historical Atlas of Religion in America, said in his Preface, “Since the purpose of this book is to describe the role of religion in American life, national history more than denominational history is pursued.” Like Ahlstrom’s book, one would not expect the subject to be covered from a conservative standpoint, but Gaustad does approach it with more of a traditional view than a purely sociological one. It is a helpful resource for the student of American religious history. A Revised edition entitled The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today edited by Leigh E. Schmidt, one of Gaustad’s students, was published in 2002. It retains the core material with a revised chapter structure which replaces the five distinct ages of the previous editions with a four primary time-periods: the Colonial times; the Revolutionary War to the Civil War; Post Civil War to World War II; and World War II to the present, more explicit emphasis on specific historical markers that carry the multifaceted story of religion in the United States into the twenty-first century, updated bibliographies, and some text revisions.
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Product Details

The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today
Gaustad, Edwin S.
Gaustad, Edwin
Schmidt, Leigh
by Edwin S. Gaustad and Leigh Schmidt
Church History
United states
United States - General
School & Education
Religion Comparative-General
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 2 to 5
9 x 6 x 1.16 in 16.8 oz
Age Level:
from 7 to 10

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » US History » Reference
Religion » Christianity » Church History » American
Religion » Christianity » Church History » General
Religion » Christianity » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » American Religion

The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today New Trade Paper
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Product details 464 pages HarperSanFrancisco - English 9780060630560 Reviews:
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