Cover image for Religion in America since 1945 : a history
Religion in America since 1945 : a history
Allitt, Patrick.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 313 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
1. Anxious victory: 1945-1952 -- The war's end -- The American religious landscape -- Cold War of the spirit -- Spiritual peace in the 1940s -- 2. Religion and materialism: 1950-1970 -- Fighting godless communism -- Religious intellectuals in the 1950s -- Eisenhower spirituality -- Church buildings -- 3. Religion, respect, and social change: 1955-1968 -- African American religion -- The civil rights movement begins -- White Christians and civil rights -- Nonviolence in decline -- Mormon America -- 4. New frontiers and old boundaries: 1960-1969 -- The Catholic president -- The supreme court and religion in schools -- Vietnam, part I -- Radical theology -- Catholic reform -- 5. Shaking the foundation, 1963-1972 -- American Judaism -- Vietnam, part II -- Catholic challenges to church discipline -- African American religion after king -- 6. Alternative religious worlds: 1967-1982 -- Space travel -- Feminism and ministry -- Feminist theology -- New religions, "cults, " and their critics -- Asian spirituality in American dress -- 7. Evangelicals and politics: 1976-1990 -- Jimmy Carter and the evangelical presidency -- The new Christian right and the Reagan campaign -- The abortion controversy -- Wives and mothers -- 8. The Christian quest for justice and wisdom: 1980-1995 -- The antinuclear movement -- Sanctuary -- Creationism and evolution -- Christian academies and home schooling -- 9. Profits, profligates, and prophets: 1987-1995 -- The Evangelical scandals -- A minister in the White House? -- American Islam -- 10. The new world order: 1989-1999 -- End of the Cold War -- Religion and violence -- Environmental spirituality -- Megachurches -- 11. Fears, threats, and promises: 1990-2000 -- Homosexuality and religion -- Promise keepers -- Millennial expectation -- 12. The new millennium: 2001 -- Religion ar ground zero.
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Material Type
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BL2525 .A44 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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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.

Author Notes

Patrick Allitt is professor of history at Emory University.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Allitt (history, Emory Univ.) presents an overview of religion in America from the end of World War II to the post-9/11 era. Each of the chapters deals with influential aspects of the period in overlapping chronological order (e.g., Chapter 6, "Alternative Religious Worlds 1967-1982"; Chapter 7, "Evangelicals and Politics 1976-1990"). Allitt presents the main events, trends, and movements within the religious world as well as the connection between religion and the major issues in national life at the time. Strongly influenced by such sociologists and historians as Robert Wuthnow, Peter Berger, and R. Laurence Moore, the author proposes that during this time America's religious situation changed to one of "greater diversity and greater politicization even though the separation between church and state is stronger than ever." Much has been written about religion in the late 20th century, but few books examine the entire period. As a general survey, this one is accurate and readable enough to interest informed readers at many levels. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Anxious Victory: 1945-1952
2 Religion and Materialism: 1950-1970
3 Religion, Respect, and Social Change: 1955-1968
4 New Frontiers and Old Boundaries: 1960-1969
5 Shaking the Foundations: 1963-1972
6 Alternative Religious Worlds: 1967-1982
7 Evangelicals and Politics: 1976-1990
8 The Christian Quest for Justice and Wisdom: 1980-1995
9 Profits, Profligates, and Prophets: 1987-1995
10 The New World Order: 1989-1999
11 Fears, Threats, and Promises: 1990-2000
12 The New Millennium: 2001
Bibliographic Essay