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November Book of the Month

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us
Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell
Simon & Schuster
(October 2010)

The latest from Harvard academic Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, the landmark study of American civil society. Along with his co-author and fellow political scientist David Campbell, Putnam explores the state of religion in the United States and its contribution to civic life. Among the authors’ striking findings: People of faith are better citizens and better neighbors; the U.S. is more diverse and devout than other nations; and a majority of religious Americans agree that non-believers can be saved or go to heaven.

How can America be devout, diverse, and tolerant? “America manages to be both religiously diverse and religiously devout because it is difficult to damn those you know and love,” Putnam and Campbell conclude. This is “America’s grace.”

The book has won raves from no less than the New York Times, William Galston, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, and Peter Steinfels.