The Quakers in America

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, Aug 1, 2006 - History - 293 pages
4 Reviews

Known best for their long-standing commitment to social activism, pacifism, fair treatment for Native Americans, and equality for women, the Quakers have influenced American thought and society far out of proportion to their relatively small numbers. Whether in the foreign policy arena (the American Friends Service Committee), in education (the Friends schools), or in the arts (prominent Quakers profiled in this book include James Turrell, Bonnie Raitt, and James Michener), Quakers have left a lasting imprint on American life. This multifaceted book is a concise history of the Religious Society of Friends; an introduction to its beliefs and practices; and a vivid picture of the culture and controversies of the Friends today.

The book opens with lively vignettes of Conservative, Evangelical, Friends General Conference, and Friends United meetings that illuminate basic Quaker concepts and theology and reflect the group's diversity in the wake of the sectarian splintering of the nineteenth century. Yet the book also examines commonalities among American Friends that demonstrate a fundamental unity within the religion: their commitments to worship, the ministry of all believers, decision making based on seeking spiritual consensus rather than voting, a simple lifestyle, and education. Thomas Hamm shows that Quaker culture encompasses a rich tradition of practice even as believers continue to debate a number of central questions: Is Quakerism necessarily Christian? Where should religious authority reside? Is the self sacred? How does one transmit faith to children? How do gender and sexuality shape religious belief and behavior? Hamm's analysis of these debates reveals a vital religion that prizes both unity and diversity.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaulsu - LibraryThing

If it is written by Hamm, it is worth reading. I read it before I began reviewing all the books I read....in other words, I was still in school and had no time! This book is good to read cover-to-cover and is also useful as a resource reference book. Read full review

Review: The Quakers in America (Columbia Contemporary American Religion)

User Review  - Genie - Goodreads

A good basic introduction to Quakerism in America- The different bodies and views of different branches as well as descriptions of services and practices. Nothing too in-depth, however. Read full review

About the author (2006)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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