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Nine erstwhile evangelicals who recanted their beliefs-historical figuresA including George Eliot, Vincent van Gogh and James Baldwin-stand at the center of this new volume by Hempton (Methodism: Empire of the Spirit), a social historian at Harvard. Relying on letters, speeches, novels and other writings, Hempton creates minibiographies tracing the faith journeys of these disenchanted evangelicals and what such journeys reveal about the movement itself. Hempton is careful not to paint his subjects' movement away from evangelicalism as the inevitable secularization of thoughtful people; he does, however, examine his subjects' common reasons for leave-taking, including frustration with rigid doctrine and disillusionment with the church's reluctance to speak out on such issues as racism and gender inequality. Hempton also points to the vestiges of evangelicalism that oftenA remained even after his subjects had formally quit the movement,A characteristics such as "moral earnestness, a desire to witness and preach, a commitment to social activism on behalf of disadvantaged people, and a concern for the truth." ReadersA along the entire spectrumA of religious faith and disenchantmentA will find this book a worthwhile read. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.