Thursday, June 19, 2008

GOD'S COPY: ( Bk.Trade Slang) An exceptionaly fine example, often of a valuable book.

Sacred Causes by Michael Burleigh promises to be the continuation of an extraordinarily well- researched topic about the subtitle: The Clash of Religion and Politics, from the Great War to the War on Terror. This book picks up historically where his earlier text, Earthly Powers, leaves off at the French Revolution.

Already steeped with academic credentials, like his earlier works on the Nazis and the fascist mind, Sacred Causes features the brilliance of Burleigh , and his remarkably broad sweep of knowledge and historical insight" according to Amazon customers taking time to reflect on the works of this author.

By an account in his Curriculum Vitae posted on his webpage, "in 1977 Michael Burleigh took a first class honours degree in Medieval and Modern History at University College London, winning the Pollard, Dolley and Sir William Mayer prizes. After a PhD in medieval history in 1982, he went on to hold posts at New College, Oxford, the London School of Economics, and Cardiff where he was Distinguished Research Professor in Modern History. He has also been Raoul Wallenberg Chair of Human Rights at Rutgers University in New Jersey, William Rand Kenan Professor of History at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, and Kratter Visiting Professor at Stanford University, California. In 2002 he gave the three Cardinal Basil Hume Memorial Lectures at Heythrop College, University of London. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He founded the journal Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions and is on the editorial boards of Totalitarianism's und Demokratie and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Publisher Harper Collins presents the book in this way:

Beginning with the chaotic post–World War I landscape in which religious belief was one way of reordering a world knocked off its axis, Sacred Causes is a penetrating critique of how religion has often been camouflaged by politics. All the bloody regimes and movements of the 20th century are masterfully captured here, from Stalin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy,and Franco's Spain to the war on terror. With style and sophistication, Michael Burleigh shows how the churches, in their various guises, have been swayed by–and contributed to–conflicting secular currents. Sacred Causes brilliantly exposes the way in which fears of socialist movements tempered the churches' response to the threat of totalitarian regimes. Burleigh combines an authoritative survey of history with a timely reminder of the dangers of radical ecularism. He asks why no one foresaw the religious implications of massive Third World immigration. And he deftly investigates what is now driving calls for a civic religion to counter the terrorist threats that have so shocked the West ./blockquote>

The International Herald Tribune:

The book's purposes are twofold and clearly stated. Burleigh believes that the pernicious ideologies that shaped our age — Communism and fascism above all — are best understood as political religions. They come complete with narratives of suffering and redemption, and Burleigh writes well about the woolly, messianic religiosity of Nazism in particular. Whether right or left, these political faiths — like the Freemasonry they sometimes resemble — are religion substitutes. This is hardly a new insight — that Communism and fascism were political religions was already
clear to Eric Voegelin, Raymond Aron and others in the 1940s, as Burleigh acknowledges. But it bears restatement
Ultimately, the read is yours to enjoy or set aside. Considering the recent flurry of New York Times best sellers by atheists: Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens - God is not Great who seem to see religion as the fountainhead of all that is or has brought evil upon the world, Michael Burleigh has definitively displayed that where the demonizing of Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular are concerned their facts are demonstrably false. J. J.

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