August 11, 2010
By louiseconverse

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism
This is the best overview of American religion in the last half century that I have ever read.  Sophisticated but accessible, it contains a treasure trove of fascinating information:  why religious Americans are better neighbors and more conscientious citizens than their secular counterparts; what role personal sexual morality plays in American religion; and why so many young Americans are drifting away from religious tradition.  And despite some sobering findings, it continually reminds us of the vibrancy, strength and diversity of America?s congregations and of our religious culture.  If you care about American religion, you must read this book.

Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of Notre Dame
For anyone interested in the role of religion in America?s civic life, Robert Putnam and David Campbell?s American Grace is a must read.  Their findings from rich case studies and sophisticated analysis of original national surveys will be of great value to academics, politicians, community organizers, religious and non-religious leaders, and American citizens who wonder about why and how religion continues to matter so much in American civic and private life.

Jon Meacham, Editor of Newsweek and author of American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation
Religion is perhaps the most significant but little understood force in American life, and this new book goes a long way toward illuminating how faith affects our politics and our culture.  As ever, Robert Putnam has produced an original and thought-provoking work.

Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Center for African American Studies, Princeton University
American Grace is an instant canonical text.  It is indispensable for any grasp of our pluralistic religious culture.  And it inspires us to deepen our ecumenical democracy!

Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners and author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street
Religious America is becoming increasingly pluralistic and interfaith.  In American Grace, Robert Putnam and David Campbell analyze survey data and congregational profiles to give us a comprehensive look at religion in our county, and reach conclusions that will provide much thought for reflection.  For those interested in the role of religion in society, this is an important book to read. It will be the topic of much discussion.

Robert Wuthnow, chairman, Dept. of Sociology, Princeton University
Putnam and Campbell have produced an impressive interpretation of American religion that is likely to be debated for years to come.  Eschewing dry theoretical speculation and cant punditry, American Grace paints a compelling portrait of the centrality of religion in American culture and offers a provocative narrative of how it is changing.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian
I love this book. American Grace is a monumental work, an elegant narrative built on a solid foundation of massive research. This surprising, absolutely fascinating, and ultimately uplifting portrait of the changing role of religion in American life deserves the widest possible audience.  It is a triumph.

Alan Dershowitz, author of The Genesis of Justice and The Trials of Zion
“This remarkable book does to religion what the Kinsey Report did to sex: document, dissect, and assess the role religion-broadly defined to include disbelief and uncertainty-plays in our national experience. Whether you are a fundamentalist or atheist (or anything in between) this book matters, because religion matters.”


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