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Extended Audio Sample Head and Heart: American Christianities Audiobook, by Garry Wills Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (104 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Garry Wills Narrator: Mel Foster Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN: 9781400175789
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A landmark examination of Christianity’s place in American life across the broad sweep of this country’s history, from the Puritans to the presidential administration of George W. Bush.

The struggle within American Christianity, Garry Wills argues, now and throughout our country’s history, is between the head and the heart: between reason and emotion, Enlightenment and Evangelism. Why has this been so? How has the tension between the two poles played out, and with what consequences, over the past 400 years? How “Christian” is America, after all? Garry Wills brings a lifetime’s worth of thought about these questions to bear on a magnificent historical reckoning that offers much needed perspective on some of the most contentious issues of our time.

Garry Wills closes with a penetrating dissection of the Religious Right’s current machinations and the threat they pose to the enlightened religion that has proved to be such a fertile and enduring force throughout American history. But in the end, Wills’s abiding message is to be vigilant against the triumph of emotions over reason, but to know that the tension between the two is in fact necessary, inevitable, and unending.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Challenge[s] the conventional wisdom on many issues while synthesizing much of the finest recent scholarship.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A major contribution to the national debate over separation of church and state.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Essential reading.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “Lucid and grandly informative…As cogent as it is refreshing.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The story is enlightening and a fascinating glimpse into a relatively unexamined past.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jcurmudge | 11/30/2013

    " Started in Dec.2007. Finished 1/23/08. A heavy documentation of the role of religion in the American political process from the earliest to today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey Stott | 11/27/2013

    " Good Overview of American religious history "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherri | 11/19/2013

    " I read the early chapters about the Puritans, the Great Awakening, Deism and Unitarianism. The book explains the historical origins of American Christianity, and Garry Wills offers excellent insight on the basis for current trends in American Christianity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Shank | 10/25/2013

    " Excellent history of religion in america. This book should be required reading before anyone spouts off about whether this is a christina nation or what the religious beliefs of our founding fathers was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rich Merritt | 10/12/2013

    " If you can handle the truth about the Puritans, the founding fathers, the Great Awakening and the birth of pre-millennialist fundamentalism read this book. If, however, you want to cling to your guns and religion run away! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rainbow | 3/11/2013

    " Interesting, but a little slow starting. The last third was the most interesting. Much of the beginning goes into more detail than I need. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edward | 3/5/2013

    " Excellent overview of the various intersections and separations of Church and State in America, from the Puritans to George W. Bush. Particularly strong on the origins of modern day evangelical Christianity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 10/11/2012

    " Excellent (very accessible) book on Christianity in America. Fascinating.... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tamara | 4/20/2012

    " Wonderful premise, but poor execution. I just can't finish. The intro discussing the Puritans and stuff was interesting, but I haven't made it past Thomas Jefferson, et. al., and won't. Entirely too dry for "pleasure reading". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 12/29/2011

    " I read several chapters of this for my American literature class. The topic was not exciting by any means, but the author conveyed what he thought very well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leann Dean | 12/10/2011

    " I'm enjoying the combination of American history and religious culture that this readable and scholarly book provides "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 11/22/2011

    " the people who Should read this book probably won't ie conservative and fundementalist Christians. i didn't agree w/all of Wills' conclusions, he's a bit too cynical, but he makes his points solidly, fairly and factually "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 7/22/2011

    " This book covers the influence of Christianity on politics and culture from the days of the Puritans to the present administration. The reader will find it worthwhile. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 1/15/2011

    " the people who Should read this book probably won't ie conservative and fundementalist Christians. i didn't agree w/all of Wills' conclusions, he's a bit too cynical, but he makes his points solidly, fairly and factually "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rich | 12/22/2010

    " If you can handle the truth about the Puritans, the founding fathers, the Great Awakening and the birth of pre-millennialist fundamentalism read this book. If, however, you want to cling to your guns and religion run away! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherri | 10/17/2010

    " I read the early chapters about the Puritans, the Great Awakening, Deism and Unitarianism. The book explains the historical origins of American Christianity, and Garry Wills offers excellent insight on the basis for current trends in American Christianity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Starbubbles | 11/20/2009

    " the book still focuses on
    "great white men," but at least wills picked different men to follow. there were founding fathers in here, and people who opposed religious revivals. it made for a fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 10/31/2009

    " Good Overview of American religious history "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leann | 3/9/2009

    " I'm enjoying the combination of American history and religious culture that this readable and scholarly book provides "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 12/28/2008

    " Excellent (very accessible) book on Christianity in America. Fascinating.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rainbow | 10/26/2008

    " Interesting, but a little slow starting. The last third was the most interesting. Much of the beginning goes into more detail than I need. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tamara | 4/5/2008

    " Wonderful premise, but poor execution. I just can't finish. The intro discussing the Puritans and stuff was interesting, but I haven't made it past Thomas Jefferson, et. al., and won't. Entirely too dry for "pleasure reading". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 3/19/2008

    " I read several chapters of this for my American literature class. The topic was not exciting by any means, but the author conveyed what he thought very well. "

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About the Author
Author Garry Wills

Garry Wills is a historian and the author of the New York Times bestsellers What Jesus Meant, Papal Sin, Why I Am a Catholic, and Why Priests?, among others. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and other publications, Wills is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a professor emeritus at Northwestern University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”