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Beginning with the chaotic post–World War I landscape in which religious belief was one way of reordering a world knocked off its axis, Sacred Causes is a penetrating critique of how religion has often been camouflaged by politics. All the bloody regimes and movements of the 20th century are masterfully captured here, from Stalin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, and Franco's Spain to the war on terror. With style and sophistication, Michael Burleigh shows how the churches, in their various guises, have been swayed by–and contributed to–conflicting secular currents. Sacred Causes brilliantly exposes the way in which fears of socialist movements tempered the churches' response to the threat of totalitarian regimes.
Burleigh combines an authoritative survey of history with a timely reminder of the dangers of radical secularism. He asks why no one foresaw the religious implications of massive Third World immigration. And he deftly investigates what is now driving calls for a civic religion to counter the terrorist threats that have so shocked the West.
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