cover image Growing Up Religious CL

Growing Up Religious CL

Robert Wuthnow. Beacon Press (MA), $27.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-8070-2806-3

Princeton professor Wuthnow's latest study of American religion is an account of interviews with 200 respondents conducted over a three-year period. Subjects were chosen by a system of quotas rather than randomly because, Wuthnow notes, he ""wanted to obtain information from a diverse group of people who had undergone relevant religious experiences while they were growing up."" His interviews sample the American experience of ""growing up religious"" in a period of five decades cut from the middle of the 20th century, with particular emphasis on the 1950s. Wuthnow focuses in the final two chapters on the relationship between global and local experience and multiculturalism. The author breaks no new theoretical ground here, but readers will be interested in the interviewees' stories. Moving from family rituals to experiences of public worship, he emphasizes a spirituality that is at home between a homogeneous past and an anticipated diverse future. Wuthnow provides substantial documentation of religion's contribution to the American genius for living comfortably in contradictory worlds while constructing a consistently integrated culture. (Feb.)