Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

( 10 )

Overview

A revelatory look at how Roger Williams shaped the nature of religion, political power, and individual rights in America.

For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a ...

See more details below
Paperback
$14.90
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$18.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $2.99   
  • New (16) from $4.26   
  • Used (14) from $2.99   
Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price

Overview

A revelatory look at how Roger Williams shaped the nature of religion, political power, and individual rights in America.

For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by "reason of state"-i.e. national security-and its perceived "will of God" and the "ancient rights and liberties" of individuals.

This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams's interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop's vision of his "City upon a Hill."

Acclaimed historian John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the story of the man who was the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty, and who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by those beliefs. The story is essential to the continuing debate over how we define the role of religion and political power in modern American life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Seattle Times
"In Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul, New York Times bestselling author John M. Barry tells the story with passion and an eye for fine detail. . . . If the story were not compelling enough, Barry's dramatic first chapter of conflict, confrontation and banishment into the wilderness is worth the price of admission alone. . . . As Barry notes, the dispute 'opened a fissure in America, a fault line which would rive America all the way to the present.' John Barry deserves our thanks for illuminating this critical and timely chapter of American history."
The New York Times Book Review
"A gifted author."
The Wall Street Journal
"John Barry's Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul establishes Williams as a brave thinker and also a deft political actor . . . Mr. Barry puts Williams squarely among our great political thinkers, crediting him with bringing liberal democracy to the American colonies."
The Washington Post
"Barry now turns his meticulous hand to the origins of two fundamental and perpetual American fixations: the conflict between church and state and that between the power of the state and the conscience of the citizen. . . . Present-day implications of an elemental clash of ideas may hover over every page, yet the vital drama of Barry’s story emblazons two competing visions of American destiny: John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” vs. Williams’s community of conscience. As Barry shows well and often prophetically, the national soul formed out of that drama remains a troubled, and occasionally tortured, one."
Los Angeles Times
"There's a recurring theme among the religiously political/politically religious that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that in this modern era we have somehow strayed from God and from our roots. John M. Barry's new book Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty is a counterargument and it is a significant reminder of whence, exactly, this little experiment in democracy of ours came . . . Absorbing."
The Washington Times
"This biography should be read with today's headlines in mind . . . Thoroughly researched and accessibly written . . . This is an important book because it brings back an important founding point in the development of the American character. But it also is a timely reminder that the issues that drove Williams into exile in Rhode Island are very much alive and just as perilous today."
Tracy Lee Simmons
Barry keeps up a lively pace with jaunty prose recounting one man's rocky sojourn among learned, prickly characters and worldly powers. Yet this book is not so much a biography as a tightly arranged discourse on the clash among ideas as they played out during a period when the American "soul," as he puts it, was being formed.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
At a time when folks were roundly debating the relationship between government and God, as well as government and the individual, Roger Williams proposed the separation of church and state and linked religious freedom to individual liberty. Then he practiced what he was preaching by setting up his own government in the wilderness (the colony of Providence Plantation). Author of best-selling prize winner The Great Influenza, Barry should ably articulate Williams's ideas and their lasting importance. Not just for history majors.
Kirkus Reviews
Biography of Roger Williams (1603–1683), the 17th-century rebel whose ideas led to the formation of the Rhode Island colony on the American continent. Popular historian Barry (The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, 2004, etc.) planned to write a book about America during after World War I, with the narrative built around the role of religion in public life. But as he researched the history of church-state relations in England and America, he kept running up against Williams, who, with his wife and other Puritan refugees, sought to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. Settling in Massachusetts, however, Williams began to feel a new form of religious persecution. His evolving beliefs about the need to separate church and state, and the related need to respect the liberty of the individual, led to his expulsion from Massachusetts. Williams barely survived a snowy winter in the woods, and his journey for a spot where individual liberty could thrive led him to build a city called Providence, in what would much later become the state of Rhode Island. Barry skillfully demonstrates the physical hardships faced by Williams and his intrepid followers. He also delineates the Williams' intellectual influences, including jurist Edward Coke and Francis Bacon, the philosopher of science. In Massachusetts, Williams simultaneously won the respect of and clashed with the colony's governor, John Winthrop, who is more than a foil throughout the biography. Barry compares and contrasts the theological and political thought of Williams and Winthrop to emphasize the remarkably fresh, daring thinking of the Rhode Island founder. A top-notch intellectual biography.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143122883
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/24/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 406,770
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John M. Barry is the author of four previous books, including the highly acclaimed and award-winning Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part I The Law 7

Part II The Covenant 79

Part III The New World 145

Part IV The Wilderness 211

Part V The Mission 255

Part VI Soul Liberty 297

Part VII The Test 347

Afterword 388

Acknowledgments 397

Notes 399

Bibliography 427

Index 439

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I first discovered information about this book in an article in the 2012 SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE. I was pleased to discover the book is currently available. Today I read a NOOK sample. Currently I am preparing to purchase the book.

    Roger Williams settled in the Massachusetts colony in 1631. Soon he was questioning the understanding of religious issues stated by John Winthrop. A few years later during a blizzard John Winthrop sent troops to arrest Williams in order to send him back to England. Williams left his home that night. Helped by the Indians he was able to survive. He later became the founder of Rhode Island where liberty was allowed without fear of arrest. He provides an undeerstanding of what religious freedom means: freedom to disagree without fear of imprisonment. I look forward to reading in more detail a further discussion of his conclusions: government involvement with religion corrupst religion and mixing religion with politics results in politics. Considering current political discourse it is a very timely subject.

    I suggest one read this book to become more knowledgable about the meaning of the first amendment clause regarding freedom of religion. The issue is a very current one and deserves our best understanding of the issue. I know I will.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2012

    One to check out!

    A very informative read about Roger Williams helping to establish democracy in America and trying to get away from some of the conflicting church and state policies having taken place in England, and in being banned from Massachusetts helped set up a new camp in Providence.

    Thank you for having this in a giveaway program also (advance uncorrected proof) and giving me the chance to win and review this copy:)

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    A good read

    John Barry’s book provides a good overview of the continuing battle between those that truly believe that Government should be a nursemaid to religion and those that believe these two institutions should be entirely separate. It is a truism that those that write about themselves will be remembered longer. Historically there are some events that are glossed over and other individual contributions are totally omitted. In the end, this is a book about what others have said, but the book is true to it’s basic intent; this is a book that investigates the continuing battle between those that wish the state to have a religious bent and those that believe religion and politics do not mix.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    Roger Williams Ideas Retain Relevance Today

    Modern news media headlines daily present issues that trace their origins to the thought of Roger Williams. Here was a man whose early llfe experiences and formal education prepared him to fill a unique role in the eventual formulation of doctrines we view today as the
    underpinning ideals of our American society. Williams developed the concept of separation of church and state, freedom of conscience, and the belief that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. He dwas not the first to express these ideas, but Williams paid dearly for his devotion to his philosophy which he based on Scripture and on his understanding of English common law. The controversy between the intolerance of Puritanism and Williams's willingness to accept the possibility of freedom's resulting in error is reflected in today's political rhetoric contrasting conservative values with more progressive, liberal ideas.

    Rather than dwelling on presenting a narrative of Williams's banishment from Massachusetts, the author concentrated on the development of Williams's thought and its impact on the development of American society.

    I recommend this book to those who are still wrestling with the rights of others to hold opposing viewpoints, Tolerance demands that we not only permit free speech, but we show our dedicatiion to liberty by respecting the rights of others to self-expression, particularly when wwe are convinced they are wrong.


    ..
    .


    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 22, 2012

    Barry has created more than a simple biography of Roger Williams

    Barry has created more than a simple biography of Roger Williams. Placing Williams into the context of his time, discussing in some detail the religious nuances, and not shying away from describing in detail the bigotry of the Puritans in Massachusetts shows both skill and a fundamental understanding of the relevant issues. Despite the complex material handled at time, easy to follow and to read. A "must" for any religiously minded household or those who find it difficult to separate religion/church from state.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2012

    Highly Recommended - may help you understand to "religious wars" today

    Roger Williams was a man way ahead of his time. John Barry tells a fascinating tale that weaves together English history, and Roger Williams thought by providing a rich context.

    Writing style turns what could be a dry history book into a real "page turner".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)