While sectarians sneered at the World's Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago in 1893, liberal Protestant progressives saw the congress as a beacon of cosmopolitanism that united Muslims, Buddhists and believers from other faiths. Taking this event as a starting point, Marty, professor at the University of Chicago, contrasts religionists who rejected the modern world with those who sought to adapt traditions to social change. The first installment in a four-volume history, this densely written, opaque survey is devoted largely to the ``core culture'' of mainstream Christianity, although it devotes short sections to Native Americans, Jews, black churches, Hispanics, Eastern Orthodoxy and Asians. The irony of the volume title refers to movements that contradicted the intent of their leaders; for example, the ecumenical movement generated scores of new denominations. A crowning irony is the way American politicians grafted religious symbols onto imperialistic missions in 1898 and 1917. (December)
Autobiographies written with collaborators often suffer from an artificial breeziness, and this example of the genreby golf legend Snead and writer Mendozais no exception. This failing, however, will only be a minor irritant to golf fans, who will relish Snead's down-home humor and common sense. Especially colorful are his stories of how he began in golf (on his homemade course on the Sneads' Virginia farmyard, where hazards included the chicken pen and family outhouse). The narrative is peppered with inside jokes and asides but, in general, this account of how Snead overcame his family's indifference to the sport to forge one of the greatest careers in golf is entertaining and a worthwhile purchase. Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.