The Social History of American Religion

Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People by jon butler harvard university press, 360 pages, $29.50  Jon Butler’s Awash in a Sea of Faith is the most ambitious and successful effort to date to link the social or behavioral history of American religion with that of medieval . . . . Continue Reading »

Religion and the New South Africa

Since Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, the prospects for peaceful change in South Africa have seemingly improved. Whether those prospects are realized, and whether South Africa will join the family of democratic nations, will depend in important ways on a factor almost always overlooked by . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion and the Neutral State

The search for the American political mainstream is a risky enterprise. It can be a salutary and enlightening exercise when it causes us to reflect upon the fundamental principles and purposes that define the American experiment in self-government. But it can also lead to disastrous consequences if . . . . Continue Reading »

Poverty and Morality

The Undeserving Poor: From the War on Poverty to the War on Welfare by michael b. katz pantheon books, 293 pages, $22.95  In The Undeserving Poor, there are two Michael Katzes on view, the historian and the social commentator, and the former is much the more persuasive. Katz, who teaches . . . . Continue Reading »

Editorial: Equality After Socialism

Socialism is dead, and, except within certain academic and religious circles, there will be few mourners. A system that in Marx’s vision would result in economic abundance and political liberation wound up in practice as economically ruinous and politically tyrannical. The world is well rid of it. . . . . Continue Reading »

Hank Gathers and Cultural Christianity

When the Loyola Marymount basketball team, riding the crest of an emotional high after the death of star player Hank Gathers, was making its spirited run in the NCAA basketball tournament last spring, CBS did a short feature on Gathers before one of the team’s games. At one point. Brent Musberger . . . . Continue Reading »

Michael Harrington’s Socialism

Socialism: Past and Future by michael harringtonarcade publishing, 320 pages, $19.95  If one is going to be a socialist, Michael Harrington’s variety is perhaps the best kind to be. Before his premature death from cancer this past year, Harrington worked with Dorothy Day to help the poor in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Fate of Republicanism

Revolt against Destiny: An Intellectual History of the United States by paul a. carter columbia university press, 331 pages, $24.95 The only thing really wrong about this thought-provoking book is its subtitle. Whatever else it may be —and it is actually several fine things — it is not . . . . Continue Reading »

A Third Way?

Whose Keeper? Social Science and Moral Obligation by alan wolfe university of california press, 361 pages, $25 Let it be said at the outset and without ambiguity: this is an important book. Alan Wolfe, a professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, . . . . Continue Reading »

Religion and Science

The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History edited and translated with an introduction and notes by maurice a. finocchiaro university of california press, 382 pages, $50 cloth, $12.95  The Galileo affair lasted twenty years. It began pleasantly, almost innocently, in December 1613 in Florence at . . . . Continue Reading »