New Books Network

Joshua Dubler, “Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)
In almost every prison movie you see, there is a group of fanatically religious inmates. They are almost always led by a charismatic leader, an outsized father-figure who is loved by his acolytes and feared by nearly everyone else. They’re usually black Muslims, but you also see the occasional born-again Christian... Read More
Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit (Oxford UP, 2011)
I have a colleague at Newman who takes students to Guatemala every summer.  Since I arrived she’s encouraged me to join her.  I would stay with the order of sisters who sponsor our university. I’d learn at least a few words of rudimentary Spanish.  And, she says, if I’m really... Read More
David N. Livingstone, “Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011)
A report to the General Assembly of Scottish Presbyterians of 1923 contains the following passage: “God placed the people of this world in families, and history which is the narrative of His providence tells us that when kingdoms are divided against themselves they cannot stand. Those nations homogenous in race... Read More
Brent Nongbri, “Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept” (Yale University Press, 2013)
We all know that religion is a universal feature of human history, right? Well, maybe not. In Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (Yale University Press, 2013), Brent Nongbri, Post Doctoral Fellow at Macquarie University, argues that throughout time people have conceptualized themselves in various ways but did... Read More
Molly Worthen, “Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism” (Oxford UP, 2013)
Molly Worthen, author most recently of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2013), spoke with Ray Haberski about the ideas that moved a variety of evangelicals in America over the last seventy years.  Worthen argues that attentive observers of American evangelical history must... Read More
Vincent Geoghegan, “Socialism and Religion: Roads to Common Wealth” (Routledge, 2011)
“Christianity and socialism go together like fire and water,” remarked August Bebel, Germany’s leading socialist, in 1874. The anticlerical violence of revolutions in Mexico, Russia, and Spain in the early twentieth century appears to confirm his verdict. Yet, not everyone in interwar Europe accepted the incompatibility of religion and socialism,... Read More
Robert Yelle, “The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India” (Oxford UP, 2012)
What is the nature of secularization? How distant are we from the magical world of the past? Perhaps, we are not as far as many people think. In the fascinating new book, The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India (Oxford University Press, 2012), we witness... Read More