That omnivorous reader Kathryn Lofton reviews Ed Blum's W. E. B. DuBois: American Prophet, in Books and Culture's "book of the week" series. As with her previous review of Tracy Fessenden's Culture and Redemption, we have here a meeting of the minds between compelling book and extraordinarily interesting reviewer, so be sure to check it out. A little excerpt:
Yet perhaps Blum's most important contribution is not a religious remapping for Du Bois but rather an academic reimagining of religious biography. A myopic modernism has informed a generation of Du Bois biographers. Blum's accomplishment is to lasso a widely scattered body of evidence showing that when it comes to religion, biographers of Du Bois (and, we fear, others) are routinely tone-deaf to subjects sacred. May Blum's biography stand as the necessary rejoinder, inspiring future writers to find ways between the drily agnostic and the inevitably sacrosanct Du Bois.