In 1987 Phyllis Tickle, then the religion editor at Publisher’s Weekly, foresaw a rising demand for religious books. Books, she wrote, were about to become “portable pastors.” Her prediction proved true. Beginning in the early 1990s, sales of religious books began a steady increase.
Jean Bethke Elshtain began her career by challenging traditional gender roles—the assumption that the public realm is primary and belongs to men, and that the private realm is secondary and belongs to women. Characteristically, she applied her analysis in unpredictable ways, as indicated by the title of one of her early books, Women and War.
When you grow up on the prairie you learn to live with what you have. The Marty people—formerly the Martis, Swiss Lutherans who emigrated to America in 1869—had dirt. Nebraska dirt. They mixed it with water and made houses. They set their houses against caves and rock formations and brought organs, linens and teacups into them. In the mud houses, they sang songs to God.
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