Prizewinning and New York Times bestselling author John M. Barry
has penned numerous works on a variety of historical subjects. Here Barry offers
a revelatory look at how Roger Williams shaped the nature of religion,
political power, and individual rights in America.
For four hundred
years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define
the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and
between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the
extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams.
This is a story of
power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams’ interactions
with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set
his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams,
though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop’s vision of his “City upon a
John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the
story of the first man to link religious freedom to individual liberty, the man
who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by
those beliefs. The story is essential to the continuing debate over how we
define the role of religion and political power in modern American life.
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