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Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History [Hardcover]

By James A. Morone (Author)
Our Price $ 34.00  
Retail Value $ 40.00  
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Item Number 159425  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   592
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.66" Width: 6.28" Height: 1.77"
Weight:   2.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2003
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300094841  
EAN  9780300094848  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The American Constitution firmly separates church and state. Yet religion lies at the heart of American politics. How did America become a nation with the soul of a church? In Hellfire Nation, James Morone recasts American history as a moral epic. From the colonial era to the present day, Americans embraced a Providential mission, tangled with devils, and aspired to save the world. Moral fervor ignited our fiercest social conflictsbut it also moved dreamers to remake the nation in the name of social justice. Moral crusades inspired abolition, woman suffrage, and civil rights, even as they led Americans to hang witches, enslave Africans, and ban liquor. Today these moral arguments continue, influencing the debate over everything from abortion to foreign policy. Written with passion and deep insight, Hellfire Nation tells the story of a brawling, raucous, religious people. Morone shows how fears of sin and dreams of virtue defined the shape of the nation.

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More About James A. Morone

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James Morone is Chair of the Department of Political Science and Urban Studies at Brown University where he received multiple citations for excellence in teaching. His research has been featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Law and Medical Ethics, Journal of Health Policy and Law, and many other publications, as well as on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. A prolific author, Dr. Morone's eight published books include Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. The New York Times, Washington Post, and several T.V. and radio shows have featured his essays and op-ed pieces on politics, history, and morality. A Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Morone speaks frequently for organizations around the world, sits on the Board of Editors for several scholarly journals, and has shared his expertise through congressional testimony and on special government panels. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

James A. Morone was born in 1951 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Brown University.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > General   [4738  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General   [16214  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States   [399  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General   [22730  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics   [765  similar products]
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity   [1828  similar products]
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Church & State   [1182  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
worthwhile  Sep 25, 2006
i really love this book. it's got a great set of foundational lines of inquiry, a slick usage of data, and a broad enough focus to consider the politics of gender, race, nationality, class, and so on with coherence.

the only significant problem is that part one ends at 1776 and part two begins at 1800; this skips over both the revolutionary war and the constitutional convention. it might be argued that this period merits a book of its own (perhaps several dozen have already been written), but i would've liked morone's investigatory reasoning to extend over it. that caveat aside, an extremely important contribution.
A very readable book!  Jun 25, 2006
I am a 50 year old German, who lived in the Southern United States from 1980 to 1990. Is has always intrigued me, why religion plays such a prominent role is the USA, while it plays essentially no role at all in Germany (and in most of Western Europe ). This book explains why this is so.

On the way, one learns a few interesting facts, e.g. that it was King George, who had to tell the settlers to leave the Quakers alone (before, the Puritans took great pride in persecuting and killing much for the quest of freedom of religion...)

The author never leaves any doubt, as to which side he is on, and this renders the book even more believable.

I highly recommend it!
Stunning.  Jun 9, 2004
If, like me, you are a bit of a history buff who regrets having paid scant attention in those American history courses, this is an essential book.

Professor Marone reconsiders our national history, in its more wrenching periods, as the struggle for a shifting moral high ground. The result is literally stunning, uprooting, and wise.

History buffs support an entire industry that is spinning out "how-then, what-now" books about the founders, the civil war and the current hit parade of latter day pols. Professor Marone delivers something very different: a brilliant archeology of the winner-take-all contest for righteousness that has so thoroughly characterized our national life, from John Winthrop to yesterday afternoon.

And he can write: in places a little breezily, in others quite densely, but always clearly and engagingly.

Professor Morone's personal political stance is clear enough, and yes, it's left of Fox News. I can only hope that people who don't share his views on the present will take time to relish this masterful, sweeping interpretation of our past.

Good history, but only average politics  Jun 8, 2004
Morone's study is a fascinating attempt to reinterpret American history through the lens of religion and morality. However, this laudable effort is damaged by his insistence upon maintaining the traditional academic liberal lenses of "race, class, gender" in every historical era, as if there were no other ways to understand what happened. He also does not take religion seriously enough to understand why it causes people to act as they do -- I walked away feeling like he was openly contemptuous of religion, despite his apparent interest in it.
Society's moral revolution and "the other"  May 25, 2003
By far the most interesting book I've read in a *long* time, Morone's _Hellfire Nation_ examines the 200+ years of America's history, but takes a wholly different approach from the norm; instead of seeing the early Puritan settlements as an anomaly that would gradually fade as history progressed, he cites the Puritanistic "us versus them" outlook of morality as being an integral part of most of American history.

And yes, this is a very refreshing and fascinating way in which to view history. Morone's basic thesis is that a) "popular" American morality is frequently cited as the only thing that can protect "us" from "them," whether "they" are blacks, the Irish, Jews, et cetera, and b) that this emphasis on those frightening Un-Americans is what fuels "moral fanaticism," like prohibition, Comstockery, the VD/social hygiene movement, c) and from this, laws are put into place which persist long after their spawning social movements have died down, leaving them in the hand of fanatics. The thesis doesn't just hold up; it *thrives*, adequately explaining many facets of much of American moral history, and while Morone's constant repetition of the final point stated above (that fanaticism eventually dies down, leading a select few to continue its legacy to the detriment of a no-longer-incensed society) becomes a bit wearisome, it really does show how *well* so many social events fit into this pattern.

Verdict? Yes, Morone's clearly "biased," if one must use that term, to a classical liberal side of things (i.e. don't expect any sympathy for Jim Crow here), yet he is certainly open-minded, wondering for example how prohibition would have turned out if its emphasis had been on the positive nature of sobriety instead of punishing and routing bootleggers (he has similar semi-misgivings about the social hygiene movement's relentless pursuit of prostitutes). But that doesn't dimish Hellfire Nation's power. If you have a passing interest in the intersection of morality and society, you must give this one a shot!


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