A Religious History of the American People

Second Edition

Sydney E. Ahlstrom; With a new foreword and concluding chapter by David D. Hall

View Inside Price: $50.00


July 11, 2004
1216 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300100129
Paper

This classic work, winner of the 1973 National Book Award in Philosophy and Religion and Christian Century’s choice as the Religious Book of the Decade (1979), is now issued with a new chapter by noted religious historian David Hall, who carries the story of American religious history forward to the present day.
Praise for the earlier edition:
“An unusual and praiseworthy book. . . . It takes a modern, almost anthropological view of history, in which worship is a part of a web of culture along with play, love, dress, and language.”—B.A. Weisberger, Washington Post Book World

“The most detailed, most polished of the works in its tradition.”—Martin E. Marty, New York Times Book Review

“An intellectual delight that one does not so much read as savor.”—America

“The definitive one-volume study by the leading authority.”—Christianity Today

“No one writing or thinking hereafter about America’s past will be able to ignore Ahlstrom’s magisterial account of the religious element.”—American Historical Review

Sydney E. Ahlstrom, an eminent scholar of the history of religious thought in America, taught at Yale University for more than thirty years and held the Samuel Knight Chair in American History and Modern Religious History at the time of his death in 1984. David D. Hall is Bartlett Professor of New England Church History at Harvard Divinity School.

“An intellectual delight that one does not so much read as savor.”—America

“No one writing or thinking hereafter about America’s past will be able to ignore Ahlstrom’s magisterial account of the religious element.”—American Historical Review

“The definitive one-volume study by the leading authority.”—Christianity Today

“The most detailed, most polished of the works in its tradition.”—Martin E. Marty, New York Times Book Review

“The second edition of A Religious History continues to rank among the classics in the field.”—Briane K. Turley, The American Religious Experience

“An unusual and praiseworthy book. . . . It takes a modern, almost anthropological view of history, in which worship is a part of a web of culture along with play, love, dress, and language.”—B.A. Weisberger, Washington Post Book World













"The book is a genuine classic . . . its argument stands the test of time."—Walter Sundberg, The Historian

"Ahlstrom's narrative is also notable for its prose; at many points the textbook reads more like a historical novel. The author is a master storyteller and a gifted wordsmith. . . . There is no single-volume history of religion in America that covers as much territory, and nearly every textbook since has been profoundly influenced by Ahlstrom's work. . . . Yale University Press has done a service to all scholars of American religious history with this updated edition of what is still the most important textbook in the field."—Nathan A. Finn, Faith and Mission

"Ahlstrom's massive study will long stand as a landmark in American religious historiography. . . . Its lucid style, monumental scholarship, comprehensiveness and balance make this work indispensable reading for all students of American civilization."—American Studies

"Without doubt the most thorough, complete, and contemporary explication of America's religious heritage yet published. . . . A monumental effort that deserves the attention of all those who want to know more about what it is that has molded the American experience. To understand what America is requires that we appropriate what its religious heritage has been."—Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"It is a mark of his own gifts and stimulating 'charm' that after so many pages the reader is left unsatiated, with much to ponder and with tantalizing questions in mind as to the future course of the religious life of the American people."—Winthrop S. Hudson, Christian Century

"The most complete one-volume history of American religion that we possess, and a book which will become a standard reference work. . . . It is an account of American religion from earliest colonial beginnings to the nineteen-sixties. . . . Professor Ahlstrom maintains an impressive standard of factual accuracy and, as might be expected, his chapters on American theology and intellectual history are distinguished by powers of synthesis and interpretation of a very high order."—Journal of American Studies

"The most comprehensive, most thorough, and best work on the subject to have appeared. . . . For a long time to come it will be the basic reference work, and all who write on American religious history will have to wrestle with the perspective from which it is written."—Studies in Religion

"The most extensive history of religion in America ever written by a single author, this is likely to be the most used and useful statement of main themes and summaries of events for decades to come. A very reliable account, it almost overwhelms with detail."—Journal of Religion

"This ground-breaking and highly successful volume gives attention not only to Western religions, but also to the rise of the cults, the influence of Eastern religions, and pertinent secular movements. This broad view includes church growth, grass-roots beliefs, issues of church and state, and the constant interplay between religion and the intellectual and scientific developments of the day. This carefully researched and documented analysis of the American religious consciousness deserves a place in libraries of all types: it will be essential for all theological schools and will be widely read by laymen as well."—Library Journal

"Professor Ahlstrom has surveyed a vast panorama of religions, sects, and spiritual movements in this country from earliest days to the current Age of Aquarius. The schisms, dissents, and quarrels of the various denominations are told in fascinating detail. Their leaders, saints, sinners, and false prophets are brought alive and many unknown figures are given their due. Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, and Eastern Orthodoxy are examined and their influence on the country explained."—Publishers Weekly

"A labor of love which was ten years in the making and will undoubtedly have the field to itself for the indefinite future. There is really nothing like it on the market. It's a model of historical scholarship and also makes for delightful reading. Enthusiastically recommended."—George G. Higgins, Commonweal

"Ahlstrom writes well and does not try to be ingratiating or "easy" at the expense of details. He lets the facts convey their own excitement, and the result is a book with the wonderful flavor of academic erudition and exploration."—International Review of History and Political Science

"Professor Ahlstrom's magnificently comprehensive history of the religion of the people of the United States of America, from the beginning of European settlement to the present day, creates a new landmark in the study of religion. . . . "—Religious Studies

"This is a well-written, you-are-there look at the pivotal phase of the Ardennes Campaign and is definitely recommended."—Stuart McClung, The Journal of America's Military Past

Winner of the 1973 National Book Award in Philosophy and Religion

Won the National Mass Media Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Inc.