Horace Greeley: Print, Politics, and the Failure of American Nationhood, James M. Lundberg (Johns Hopkins University Press). Horace Greeley, the 19th-century American newspaper editor and publisher, was a widely read and discussed man of his day. As an editor, Greeley “understood himself as an indispensable figure in achieving national consensus,” writes Lundberg, an assistant professor of the practice and director of undergraduate studies in the history department. The founder of the New-York Tribune may be best remembered today for popularizing a slogan about westward expansion: “Go West, young man, and grow up with the country.” He was also a politician who served three months in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he angered many colleagues by investigating Congress in his newspaper. A man of contradictions who never managed to achieve that elusive national consensus, Greeley died shortly after his failed 1872 campaign for the presidency. Lundberg tells Greeley’s story for modern readers and relates a larger story about newspaper journalism, politics and the problems of American nationalism in that era.
Religious Parenting: Transmitting Faith and Values in Contemporary America, Christian Smith, Bridget Ritz and Michael Rotolo ’18M.A. (Princeton University Press). Amid an overall decline in traditional religion, many religious parents are still trying to hand on their beliefs, values and practices to their children. Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the University’s Global Religion Research Initiative, and Notre Dame graduate students Ritz and Rotolo base their examination of this phenomenon on 235 in-depth interviews with parents of many faith traditions across the United States. Looking closely at issues of religious practice and child-rearing, the volume argues that people of very different backgrounds — including evangelical, mainline and black Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist parents — share the same broad “cultural models” when passing on religion to their children.
Islamic Law and International Law: Peaceful Resolution of Disputes, Emilia Justyna Powell (Oxford University Press). The more than 900 million Muslims who live in the globe’s 29 Islamic-law states are required to adhere to a legal tradition based on nonconfrontational dispute resolution, writes Powell, an associate professor of political science and law. Powell compares this tradition with international law and considers those instances where Islamic law is the primary legal resource shaping state governance and international relations. Drawing upon interviews with scholars in both legal fields, she explains why some Islamic states accept the authority of international courts while others avoid them and concludes that the Islamic legal tradition contains key elements compatible with modern international law.
Allah: God in the Qur’an, Gabriel Said Reynolds (Yale University Press). Who is the God of Islam’s central sacred text? Reynolds, professor of theology, scholar of Muslim-Christian relations and author most recently of The Qur’an and the Bible: Text and Commentary, presents here a portrait of a paradoxical God who is both personal and enigmatic, compassionate and vengeful — a God to be both trusted and feared. Keeping the nature of Allah’s mercy in the foreground and adhering closely to the language of the holy book rather than wandering too far into later theological debates, Reynolds’ work has been praised for its insights into Islamic piety as well as its “illuminating comparisons to the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels.”