Sincerity by R. Jay Magill Jr.
How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars, modern art, hipster chic, and the curious notion that we all have something to say (no matter how dull)

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"Sincerity" is a delightful work just as it is. I mean that. Sincerely.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

“A serious and engaging cultural history painted on an admirably large canvas.”—Laura Kipnis, New York Times Book Review


What do John Calvin, Sarah Palin, Jean-Jacques Rosseau, and Bon Iver have in common? A preoccupation with sincerity. With deep historical perspective and a brilliant contemporary spin, R. Jay Magill Jr. tells the beguiling tale of sincerity’s theological past, its current emotional resonance, and the deep impact it has had on the Western soul. At a time when politicians are scrutinized less for the truth of what they say than for how much they really mean it, Sincerity provides a wide-ranging examination of a moral ideal that remains a strange magnetic north in our secular moral compass.
 

About R. Jay Magill Jr.

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R. Jay Magill, Jr. is an independent scholar living in Berlin, where he works for the American Academy as a writer and editor, as well as a host of a radio program on NPR Worldwide. He is the author of Chic Ironic Bitterness, published in 2007, and from 1999-2005 was an editor, staff writer, and then Executive Editor of the National Magazine Award winning DoubleTake Magazine. During that time, Magill was also a teaching fellow at Harvard University, for which he received the Derek Bok award. He has written for, among other publications, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, American Prospect, Der Spiegel, and Print; and as an illustrator he has produced scores of political cartoons and caricatures for a variety of newspapers, periodicals (e.g. The Believer), posters, and books (e.g. The Ultimate Guide to the US Economy). Since 2005 he has been a staff illustrator at the political bimonthly The American Interest, in Washington, DC.
 
Published July 16, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 272 pages
Genres: History, Self Help, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Sincerity
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Laura Kipnis on Aug 10 2012

“Sincerity” is a serious and engaging cultural history painted on an admirably large canvas, yet Magill is careful not to take himself too seriously, as evidenced in his snarky asides and chatty footnotes.

Read Full Review of Sincerity: How a moral ideal ... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Daniel Akst on Jul 08 2012

"Sincerity" is a delightful work just as it is. I mean that. Sincerely.

Read Full Review of Sincerity: How a moral ideal ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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