American Grace | How Religion Divides and Unites Us (Putnam and Campbell)

American Grace | How Religion Divides and Unites Us (Putnam and Campbell)


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American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us avoids a narrow approach to sociological study in favor of a more useful model: the sweeping chronicle of national change over time. Harvard professor Robert Putnam and his University of Notre Dame co-author David Campbell argue two apparently contradictory theses persuasively: first, that a "new religious fault line" exists in America, a deep political polarization that has transcended denominationalism as the greatest chasm in religious life; and second, that the culture (especially its younger generation) is becoming so much more accepting of diversity that thesis #1 will not tear America apart.

The bulk of American Grace explores in detail cultural developments--the boom of evangelicals in the 1970s and 1980s, largely concluded in the early 1990s; the rise of feminism in the pews; the liberalization of attitudes about premarital sex and homosexuality, especially among the youngest generations; and what may prove to be the most seismic shift of all: the dramatic increase of "nones," or people claiming no institutional religious affiliation. Putnam and Campbell have done the public a great service enabling readers to track mostly gradual change over time.

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and founder of the Saguaro Seminar, a program dedicated to fostering civic engagement in America. He is the author or coauthor of ten previous books and is former dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hardcover: 688 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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