In this original and riveting exploration, Susan Jacoby argues that conversion-especially in the free American "religious marketplace"-is too often viewed only within the conventional and simplistic narrative of personal reinvention and divine grace. Instead, the author places conversions within a secular social context that has, at various times, included the force of a unified church and state, desire for upward economic mobility, and interreligious marriage.Moving through time, continents, and cultures, Jacoby examines conversions to authoritarian secular ideologies. She also provides portraits of individual converts, including the Catholic Church father Augustine of Hippo; the German Jewish convert to Catholicism Edith Stein, murdered at Auschwitz and canonized by the church; boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who scandalized white Americans in the 1960s by becoming a Muslim; and even politicians such as George W. Bush. Finally, Jacoby takes on the question of why the freedom to choose a religion-or to reject religion altogether-is a fundamental human rights issue that remains a breeding ground for violence in areas of the world that never experienced an Enlightenment.
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by Susan Carrol
by Susan Fowler
by Elizabeth Berg
by Erica Silverman
by Julie Klassen
by Susan Page
by Susan Wittig Albert
by Susan May Warren
"Jacoby describes the development of Western religions and their practitioners, as well as the common reasons for religious conversions. Surprisingly, she does so from a secular, and often personal, perspective. Elizabeth Wiley narrates this complex work in steady, crisp tones, differentiating quotations from the narrative by slight shifts in pitch. The book begins with the rise of monotheism, including forced conversions under the Inquisition, and ends with a look at contemporary Islamic fundamentalism. While chronological, the history sporadically loops back to review earlier topics. Wiley's too consistent narration lacks emotional touchpoints, eventually becoming a recitation broken only by the author's personal comments. In this way, the audiobook challenges listeners as it delves into the complicated, emotional topic of conversion by extreme persuasion and by choice. M.B.K. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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