The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief

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Basic Books, Feb 11, 2014 - History - 264 pages
In the aftermath of World War II, the United States stood at a precipice. The forces of modernity unleashed by the war had led to astonishing advances in daily life, but technology and mass culture also threatened to erode the country’s traditional moral character. As award-winning historian George M. Marsden explains in The Twilight of the American Enlightenment, postwar Americans looked to the country’s secular, liberal elites for guidance in this precarious time, but these intellectuals proved unable to articulate a coherent common cause by which America could chart its course. Their failure lost them the faith of their constituents, paving the way for a Christian revival that offered America a firm new moral vision—one rooted in the Protestant values of the founders.

A groundbreaking reappraisal of the country’s spiritual reawakening, The Twilight of the American Enlightenment shows how America found new purpose at the dawn of the Cold War.

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User Review  - joshrskinner - LibraryThing

Interesting look at how our worldviews have been formed. Always good to remind myself that I have never been a "tabula rasa" and cannot divorce myself completely from the reality I inherited from my ... Read full review

THE TWILIGHT OF THE AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENT: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief

User Review  - Kirkus

Marsden (Emeritus, History/Univ. of Notre Dame; Jonathan Edwards: A Life, 2003, etc.) employs historical analysis to suggest why the United States is so badly split between secular-oriented ... Read full review


one Mass Media and the National Character
two Freedom in the Lonely Crowd
three Enlightenments End? Building
five The Latter Days of the Protestant Establishment
Consensus Becomes a Fighting Word
conclusion Toward a More Inclusive Pluralism

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About the author (2014)

George M. Marsden is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus at Notre Dame, where he taught from 1992-2008. He has taught history at Calvin College and the history of Christianity in America at The Divinity School of Duke University, and has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, St. Andrews University, and Harvard Divinity School. Marsden is the author of many books, including Fundamentalism and American Culture, The Soul of the American University, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, and Jonathan Edwards: A Life.

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