Tri-Faith America, Uni-Year Later

by Edward J. Blum

Blogs like this one let us know about books that are about to come out and those that have just been published. But with time, it is scholarly reviews which help us know what books we should definitely read. And, after one year available in print, it seems pretty clear to me that Kevin Schultz's Tri-Faith America is one of those books. Here's some praise I found from pretty notable reviewers:

  • Mark Noll: "Kevin Schultz’s diligent mining of the NCCJ records, combined with his skillful integration of the Conference’s actions alongside other important developments, convincingly describes the significant cultural movement away from Protestant hegemony toward general religious tolerance."
  • Mark Noll again: "Schultz’s story becomes even more interesting as he charts the complexities and unintended consequences that attended the triumph of the Tri-Faith ideal."
  • Noll in sum: "unusually fine book"
  • Philip Gleason: "The broadly interpretive claims Schulz makes in part 2 are definitely provocative, but also plausible and well worth further investigation."
  • Philip Gleason in sum: "valuable book"
  • David Sehat: "Schultz has written a very good book. By tracing the genealogy and consequences of this important concept, he offers a work filled with contradiction, irony, and unintended consequence. It exemplifies good intellectual history."
  • Jason Stevens in JAH: "He has written a compelling, often trenchant, book that enriches our understanding of the abiding promise of religious pluralism and the failures to agree on what it would resemble in practice." 
  • David Reimers: "In sum, Schultz has explored an important topic and in doing so has suggested areas for future research."
  • Rachel Gordon: "For scholars of twentieth-century American Jewish history, this book is a must-read." 
  • Hilary Kaele: "Tri-Faith America incorporates significant archival material, touches on important issues, and moves effortlessly from elite perspectives to popular culture. Kevin Schultz does it all without producing a text that feels ponderous or over-written. Scholars will certainly profit from this book, but I would not hesitate to recommend it more widely or to assign sections to an undergraduate class."
  • Jeanne Halgren Kilde: "Timely...This important book opens up a promising new framework for reevaluating the American religious and political landscapes of the twentieth century." Carol Poll: "The reader who relishes a nuanced view of the forces that have shaped American history and the American Jewish experience will find this book a delight. "
  • Ed Blum: Religion Dispatches:  "I was David Barton once."


Mark T. Edwards said…
Thanks for this post, Ed. I think Kevin's complication of 1950s "conformity" is his book's enduring strength.

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