Review Of "The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr And American Intellectual Culture" By M. Halliwell

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More than an examination of Niebuhr's social and religious thought, this study explores the engagement of one of the most prominent American theologians of the 20th century with some of the cultural giants of his time. Among the most important are William James, John Dewey, Paul Tillich, H. Richard Niebuhr, Martin Luther King Jr., W. H. Auden, Erik Erickson, and George Kennan. Niebuhr was a prolific author, who wrote some 350 items (from editorials to lectures, addresses, and full-length books) between 1914 and 1971. Halliwell (American studies, Univ. of Leicester) has thus chosen a daunting task. Yet he manages to be thorough and fair in his treatment of this large and diverse material. At once sympathetic but critical, he presents Niebuhr and American society in all their complexity. He is the author of four previous books: Romantic Science and the Experience of Self (1999), Modernism and Morality (CH, Feb'02, 39-3218), Critical Humanisms (with Andy Mousley, 2003), and Images of Idiocy (2004). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper division undergraduates and above.


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