The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream (Paperback)

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A tightly crafted historical survey of Protestant Christianity in America and its relationship with money from just before the America Revolution to the present day. It is much more detailed in its treatment of Prostestantism, including colorful portraits of charismatic preachers and revivals, than in its descriptions of how America developed its love affair with capital. Lehmann has distilled the development of this country’s obsessive focus on the individual and that individual’s money down to American Protestantism’s antithetical stress on a single person’s Gnostic contact with God and its stress on the worldly success of that person as a marker of their divine favor. The book provides part of the answer to the question of how America became so inequitable.

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A grand and startling work of American history

America was founded, we're taught in school, by the Pilgrims and other Puritans escaping religious persecution in Europe--an austere and pious lot who established a culture that remained pure and uncorrupted until the Industrial Revolution got in the way.

In The Money Cult, Chris Lehmann reveals that we have it backward: American capitalism has always been entangled with religion, and so today's megapastors, for example, aren't an aberration--they're as American as Benjamin Franklin.

Tracing American Christianity from John Winthrop to the rise of the Mormon Church and on to the triumph of Joel Osteen, The Money Cult is an ambitious work of history from a widely admired journalist. Examining nearly four hundred years of American history, Lehmann reveals how America's religious leaders became less worried about sin and the afterlife and more concerned with the material world, until the social gospel was overtaken by the gospel of wealth.

Showing how American Christianity came to accommodate--and eventually embrace--the pursuit of profit, as well as the inescapability of economic inequality, The Money Cult is a wide-ranging and revelatory book that will make you rethink what you know about the form of American capitalism so dominant in the world today, as well as the core tenets of America itself.

About the Author

CHRIS LEHMANN is the co-editor of Bookforum, senior editor and columnist for The Baffler, and book review columnist for In These Times. He has written for Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the New York Observer, Yahoo, Slate, Salon, The Awl, Raritan, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Washingtonian, The Washington Monthly, Lingua Franca, Reason, and Democracy. He is the author of Rich People Things and Revolt of the Masscult.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781612195582
ISBN-10: 161219558X
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 432
Language: English