BUTLER, J. W.,
Religion in American Life. A Short History.
Oxford University Press, 2011. 576p. Paperback. Series: Religion in American Life. This 'short history' of American religion is actually quite ambitious, tracing religion in the United States from European colonization up to the 21st century. The three authors, esteemed historians at Yale, Duke and Columbia, respectively, each tackle a century or two: Butler takes on the colonial period and the 18th century, Wacker continues the tale with the 19th century, and Balmer explores the flowering of religious diversity in the 20th. If the prose sounds familiar, it's because these three sections were originally issued as three separate books for the young adult nonfiction market; they have been gathered together here as one survey. Each chapter closes with a primary source, as in the original books, and the survey boasts tip-ins of the same facsimiles, photographs and illustrations that made the YA books so special.The writing is strong throughout, and will be accessible to undergraduates. Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review (Publisher's information).