Synopses & Reviews
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest single religious body in the nation, claiming just under fifty million members in 1980. This book, written by one of today's foremost historians of American Catholicism, tells the story of that community from colonial times to the present. The book is, in the author's term, "a people's history." While not neglecting structures and institutions, bishops and clergy, Hennesey is most concerned with the ordinary people of the Roman Catholic Church. Where did Catholics come from? Why did they come to America? How did the environment into which they came affect their Catholicism?
"James Hennesey's book tells this story of American Catholics very well. In less than 400 pages, Hennesey offers the most complete, most balanced history of American Catholicism yet written....The reader of this volume can confidently relax in the hands of a master historian who has done his homework and who has a knack for telling a good story." William R. Barnett, National Catholic Reporter
"If Catholics are still sorting out their own accommodations with the American culture, that is a live question for many other Americans today, religious or not. This rich history of one community's struggle is relevant to the more general search for an honest American identity." James L. Franklin, The Boston Globe
"A rich mine of information...It will quickly become the standard one-volume history." Robert T. Handy, Union Theological Seminary
Traces the development of the Catholic community in the United States from colonial times to the present and examines their influence on American history.
Written by one of the foremost historians of American Catholicism, this book presents a comprehensive history of the Roman Catholic Church in America from colonial times to the present. Hennesey examines, in particular, minority Catholics and developments in the western part of the United States, a region often overlooked in religious histories.
About the Author
James Hennesey, a Jesuit priest, is Professor of the History of Christianity at Boston College and author of The First Council of the Vatican: The American Experience.