There is fascination and suspicion about the wealthy. Yet there is a dearth of material in which the wealthy speak for themselves about the meaning of their lives. Gospels of Wealth provides such narrative material. This book is a novel venture in social science. It is the first book to have a broad range of wealthy individuals recount their lives in detail, and, importantly, the first to formulate a sociology of wealth that goes beyond conventional, power-elite, Marxist, and status-group theories.
The authors begin with an analytical framework for studying the biographical narratives of the wealthy. Next, 12 contemporary Americans directly and vividly recount how financial and spiritual aspects of their lives unfold and invariably intertwine. A concluding section explores rules for interpreting the truth of moral biographies and for undertaking a critical assessment of such narratives. The book's theoretical framework and first-person accounts will appeal to general readers as well as researchers in sociology, American studies, philanthropy, economic life, and cultural studies.