Conversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America

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Product Details

Yale University Press
Publish Date
6.53 X 1.04 X 9.45 inches | 1.37 pounds
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About the Author

Craig Harline is professor of history at Brigham Young University.


"Though every inch a professional historian, Harline writes accessibly, personally when appropriate, and so vitally overall that those he writes about become near-tangibly human."--Ray Olson, Booklist--Ray Olson "Booklist "
"An unexpected joy. . . . A compelling, insightful examination. . . . Conversions is a journey well worth taking."--Gerald S. Argetsinger, S. Argetsinger " "
"Will appeal to lovers of history, Christians, and religious enthusiasts alike."--Rhett Wilkinson, Deseret News--Rhett Wilkinson "Deseret News "
"Eloquent . . . fascinating and relevant . . . The narrative is fluid and readable, and I had trouble putting the text down."--Ben Park, Juvenile Instructor--Ben Park "Juvenile Instructor "
"In its most gripping passages Conversions is as captivating as a well-written novel. . . insightful and eloquent."--Christopher D./i>--Christopher D. Cantwell "Journal of Religion "

"An absorbing, creative book... it will definitely become a go-to book for readers interested in the history and psychology of conversion."--Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God: A Memoir--Lauren Winner

"Once I started, I could not put it down. It is hugely compelling. All the narrative skills which are so apparent in Harline's earlier work are now bent towards a purpose which shows what history is for: illuminating present concerns through wise, informed, and serious reflection upon the past. A superb, important book."--Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years--Diarmaid MacCulloch
"We are pleased to add Craig Harline's remarkable book Conversions to Yale University Press's series New Directions in Narrative History. This bold work builds on Harline's deep knowledge of early modern Europe to forge powerful connections with events and people close to the present--all in the service of exploring themes of trans-historical significance. The focus moves, in alternating sequence, between two compelling personal stories. The first is that of a young 17th-century Dutchman, in the process of converting from Protestantism to Catholicism. The second follows a 20th-century American, moving in and out of Mormonism while passing at the same time from straight to gay life-ways. Though manifestly different in surface particulars, they are profoundly linked by underlying concerns with family and community tensions and with the puzzle of personal identity. Harline's gifts as a writer enable him to describe, to evoke, to analyze, in seamless combination. Readers will be moved not only by his portrayal of the main characters; they will feel as well the tremors of connection to their own lives."--John Demos (Yale University) and Aaron Sachs (Cornell University), Series Editors --John Demos and Aaron Sachs

"I have never seen put more clearly or potently the divisions that occur in families because of religious differences. Conversions is great storytelling, combining history and heart in a splendid, remarkable way."--Carol Lynn Pearson, author of Goodbye, I Love You --Carol Lynn Pearson

"A beautiful and moving book. Harline is a master at narrative and at making the most painstaking research look effortless. These two unconnected stories required very different approaches, yet Harline's writing binds them together with an odd, yet arresting symmetry, overflowing with integrity and insight."--Carlos Eire, Yale University--Carlos Eire
"This creative, engaging work shows why history matters and invites readers to learn from the past. It deserves a wide readership."--A.W./I>--A.W. Klink "Choice "
"Compelling . . . A beautiful book, illuminating in a time when almost half of Americans report switching religions."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)--Publishers Weekly
"Highly readable and in many ways fascinating."--Catholic Sentinel--Catholic Sentinel

Finalist for the 2012 Mark Lynton History Prize sponsored by the Lukas Prize Project at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. The Lynton History Prize is awarded to a book length work of history on any topic that best combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression.-- (03/13/2012)