Neuhaus addresses the essential quandaries of Catholic lifeassessing how Catholics can keep their heads above water in the sea of immorality that confronts them in the world, how they can be patriotic even though their true country is not in this world, and how they might reconcile their duties as citizens with their commitment to God. Deeply learned, frequently combative, and always eloquent, American Babylon is Neuhaus's magnum opusand will be essential reading for all Christians.
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New York Times Book Review
“American Babylon displays Neuhaus in all his virtues – elegantly argued and written, fair-minded and with a formidable range of reference – making the important point that politics without an anchor in a public morality can quickly slip away in dark directions.”
“In word and deed alike, Neuhaus provided as much ‘spiritual energy for existing goals of change’ as any figure of his era. But it’s a testament to his own capaciousness that we will be able to turn to him for guidance and inspiration even in eras vastly different from his own.”
The Weekly Standard
“A final, uniquely Christian reflection on making one’s way in America…. American Babylon remains an important book at a critical moment in history.”
The American Spectator
“[A] short, dense meditation on what it means to live ‘our awkward duality of citizenship,’ as both Christians and Americans, with integrity…. American Babylon can be read as a kind of valedictory or summation of many of the intellectual arguments that have preoccupied Father Neuhaus in his previous writings.”
Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity“This book, written with all the characteristic wit and insight of Neuhaus at his best, is an extended reflection on, and examination of, what it means to be a Christian in America…. We who miss [Neuhaus] can find him again, with all his engaging wit, erudition, and commitment to justice and Christian truth, in the pages of this, his final book.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Father Richard John Neuhaus was one of the founders and a longtime editor-in-chief of the journal of religion, culture and politics "First Things." He was a giant of the promotion of religious discourse in the public sphere, and an unprecedented writer and public intellectual. His passing away in the early 2009 is a great loss to all of his many fans, as well as the readers of the First Things. The "American Babylon" is his last book, and it was published posthumously. It touches on all of the major themes from his long and prolific opus: the role of religion in public discourse, the position and the role of religious people in an open and democratic society, the attitude that Christians should have towards the secular order in general and towards America in particular. He touches upon two main models of conceptualizing America in the light of Christian view of history: America as a new Babylon (that is, as a new exile for the People of God), and America as a New Jerusalem (i.e., the new Promised Land and a beacon upon a hill for all the other nations). Both of these models have seen their popularity rise and fall over the centuries, and Father Neuhaus does not endorse either one of them wholeheartedly. However, from the title of this book, you can guess in which direction he was leaning towards the end of his life. This is a wonderful book by one of my favorite authors. Over the years I have learned a lot from him and am saddened that there won't be any more opportunities for him to put his invaluable insights into a written form. On the other hand, I cherish all that he had written that much more.