Moving far beyond the realm of traditional "church history,"
Patrick Allitt here offers a vigorous and erudite survey of the
broad canvas of American religion since World War II. Identifying
the major trends and telling moments within major denominations and
also in less formal religious movements, he asks how these
religious groups have shaped, and been shaped by, some of the most
important and divisive issues and events of the last half century:
the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, feminism
and the sexual revolution, abortion rights, the antinuclear and
environmentalist movements, and many others.
Allitt argues that the boundaries between religious and
political discourse have become increasingly blurred in the last
fifty years. Having been divided along denominational lines in the
early postwar period, religious Americans had come by the 1980s to
be divided along political lines instead, as they grappled with the
challenges of modernity and secularism. Partly because of this
politicization, and partly because of the growing influence of
Asian, Latino, and other ethnic groups, the United States is
anomalous among the Western industrialized nations, as church
membership and religious affiliation generally increased during
this period. Religion in America Since 1945 is a masterful
analysis of this dynamism and diversity and an ideal starting point
for any exploration of the contemporary religious scene.
Subjects: Religion, History
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