Politics+Society

Books

Religion and the Civil War

Essential books

God's Almost Chosen Peoples: A Reli­gious History of the American Civil War, by George C. Rable.

Books

Religion and the nation’s founders

Essential books

Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation 1776–1826, by Edwin S. Gaustad. This is the best short, accessible, single-volume treatment of the religious lives, intellectual pathways and church-state politics of the pre­eminent founders of the United States—Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin.

Books

Tocqueville’s Discovery of America, by Leo Damrosch

To European visitors in the first half of the 19th century, Americans were like their newfangled steamboats: noisy, combustible, always on the move—and dirty. "I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans," Frances Trollope reported.