Cover image for Memoirs of the spirit
Memoirs of the spirit
Gaustad, Edwin S. (Edwin Scott)
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 356 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 27 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL2525 .M455 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This collection of autobiographical sketches offers an intriguing representative sample of the many religious options expressed throughout America over the last three and a half centuries.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

GaustadÄemeritus professor of history and religion at UC Riverside and author of several sweeping narratives, an atlas and other primary-source readers on American religious historyÄstrikes gold again with this diverse collection of 26 spiritual autobiographies. There are of course the classic texts, such as Jonathan Edwards's sin-sick "Personal Narrative." (Readers may chuckle at Edwards's own contention that his conviction of sin was "exceeding small, and faint.") Other pieces reveal watershed events in the writers' spiritual lives, such as Billy Graham's memories of the 1949 Los Angeles revival that propelled him to celebrity status, or Richard Allen's account of the 1787 exodus of African-Americans in Philadelphia from a white Methodist church to form what was the start of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. Some of the 20th-century selections are refreshingly unconventional. Readers may be surprised by what Gaustad has chosen to emphasize about each pilgrim; the passage from Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness, for example, highlights her pacifism, not her famous conversion to Catholicism. Gaustad's use of such unpredictable selections demonstrates that American spirituality transcends religious institutions to encompass politics, economics and other arenas of "secular" America. Moreover, the inclusivity of his choices (Parahamsa Yogananda, Black Elk and Richard Rodriguez share space with William F. Buckley, Thomas Merton and Isaac Mayer Wise) should make this a popular text for survey courses in American religion. Full-page photographs complement Gaustad's witty introductions to each author. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This striking anthology of poignant extracts from American autobiographies embraces the full range of religions that have found a place in this country. Authors include Frederick Douglass, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Thomas Merton, and Maya Angelou. Gaustad has made a skillful selection and, like any good anthologist, whets our appetite for more. For most collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.