Book Review

God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith Is Changing the World by John Micklethwait and Adrian Woldridge. The Pengiun Press, NY, 2009; 416 pages, ISBN 978-1594202131, hardback, $27.95.

In the introduction to this 400 page book the reader is told that it was written by an American Roman Catholic and an Atheist. The authors state “no doubt some of the holy warriors on both sides will uncover examples of bias. Our hope, however, is that whatever biases we bring have cancelled each other out.” At least there is acknowledgement of bias in this book! It is written in four parts. Part 1: why Europe and America have evolved in such different ways over the past 20 or 30 years. Part 2: the way religion is thriving in today’s America as an economic force, an intellectual catalyst and a political influence. Part 3: how America is exporting its version of religion. Part 4: the spread of wars of religion from the battles for people’s souls to cultural wars, terrorism, and religiously-fuelled violence of all kinds. In conclusion the authors,  writers for the Economist, look at the best formulae for avoiding future conflict. On its cover G. Hodgson, independent observer, claims: “an immensely knowledgeable description of the history and beliefs of modern American conservatism.” Whilst agreeing with this evaluation, I feel that the contents of this book, which devotes 75% of its pages to the development of religious thought in America and its export overseas, does not come to terms with its title. God is Back is an interesting and informative read, particularly Part 4, even if the reader is not an American Roman Catholic or an Athiest! – Tony Downey (November 2009)

Book Reviews