New Books Network

Luke E. Harlow, “Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880” (Cambridge UP, 2014)
Luke E. Harlow, Religion, Race and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) examines the role of religion, and more specifically, conservative evangelical Protestant theology, in the struggle over slavery and abolition in a crucial period of American history. The book makes an impressive case that we... Read More
John Cornwell, “The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession” (Basic Books, 2014)
I’ve never been in a confessional box, but I’ve seen a lot of them in films. And if the depiction of them in films is in any way a reflection of popular attitudes toward confession, then I can say with some confidence that the act has a rather poor reputation.... Read More
Nathan Schneider. “God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet” (University of California Press, 2013)
Nathan Schneider‘s monograph, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet (University of California Press, 2013), explores the timeless challenge of how to explain God. Are such explanations rational? Why are some attempts more popular than others? Indeed, can one really “prove” God? Isn’t... Read More
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