American Grace by Robert D. Putnam
How Religion Divides and Unites Us

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 10 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

American Grace is a major achievement, a groundbreaking examination of religion in America.

Unique among nations, America is deeply religious, religiously diverse, and remarkably tolerant. But in recent decades the nation’s religious landscape has been reshaped.

America has experienced three seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In the 1960s, religious observance plummeted. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, a conservative reaction produced the rise of evangelicalism and the Religious Right. Since the 1990s, however, young people, turned off by that linkage between faith and conservative politics, have abandoned organized religion. The result has been a growing polarization—the ranks of religious conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling group of religious moderates in between. At the same time, personal interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has increased while religious identities have become more fluid. Putnam and Campbell show how this denser web of personal ties brings surprising interfaith tolerance, notwithstanding the so-called culture wars.

American Grace is based on two of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America. It includes a dozen in-depth profiles of diverse congregations across the country, which illuminate how the trends described by Putnam and Campbell affect the lives of real Americans.

Nearly every chapter of American Grace contains a surprise about American religious life. Among them:

• Between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith;

• Roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives;

• Young people are more opposed to abortion than their parents but more accepting of gay marriage;

• Even fervently religious Americans believe that people of other faiths can go to heaven;

• Religious Americans are better neighbors than secular Americans: more generous with their time and treasure even for secular causes—but the explanation has less to do with faith than with their communities of faith;

• Jews are the most broadly popular religious group in America today.


American Grace
promises to be the most important book in decades about American religious life and an essential book for understanding our nation today.
 

About Robert D. Putnam

See more books from this Author
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. David E. Campbell is the John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C. Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame as well as a research fellow with the Institute for Educational Initiatives. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, and his work has also appeared in the Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  He lives near South Bend, Indiana.
 
Published October 5, 2010 by Simon & Schuster. 720 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Grace

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Too much talk of Caesar risks driving them away.” The authors’ conclusion describes why, despite America’s religious diversity, “America is graced with the peaceful coexistence of both religious diversity and devotion.” Since Americans are intimately acquainted with others of diverse backgrounds ...

| Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

But black Protestants viewed Muslims more positively than they did Buddhists, perhaps, the authors point out, because many black Christians are acquainted with black Muslims.

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

But black Protestants viewed Muslims more positively than they did Buddhists, perhaps, the authors point out, because many black Christians are acquainted with black Muslims.

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Even the once stable norm of community life has shifted: one in five Americans moves once a year, while two in five expect to move in five years.

| Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Though each group is, as one person puts it, "recreating our neighborhood into the kind of village we want it to be," the book emphasizes no particular approach, juxtaposing the work of local governments with neighborhood associations and churchgoers with union organizers.

| Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Harvard professor Putnam (Bowling Alone) and his University of Notre Dame coauthor Campbell (Why We Vote) 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...

Sep 13 2010 | Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

After a seemingly endless procession of tendentious and hotly argued books espousing "the new atheism" and blaming religion for all that is wrong with the world, "American Grace" comes as a welcome balm, offering a reasoned discussion of religion and public life.

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Examiner

Although religion is very important to a large portion of American citizens, most Americans are well acquainted with someone of another religious faith.

Dec 05 2010 | Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Christian Science Monitor

In his bestselling “Bowling Alone,” Harvard professor Robert Putnam explored social isolation in the United States.

Nov 15 2010 | Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Stanford Social Innovation Review

(Indeed, the most highly religious 10 percent are less tolerant.) A common wisecrack about American religion is that it is “a mile wide but an inch deep.” That may also apply to American religious tolerance.

| Read Full Review of American Grace: How Religion ...

Reader Rating for American Grace
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 66 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×