IP#312 Dr. Kevin Starr – Continental Ambitions on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

For the Audio only:

What a delight to speak with Dr. Kevin Starr about “Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America: the Colonial Experience”!  This volume is a  beautifully massive work of “historical art”; so thorough and engaging, I couldn’t stop turning the pages!  Dr. Starr is a master storyteller.  It’s as though he has you on a high precipice overlooking a grand vista, and with the broad swipe of his arm, he points out all the personalities and movements shaping an ever changing view. And during our conversation, it was an absolute joy to hear the enthusiasm and love he has for history and for this particular subject.  I simply cannot recommend this book more highly!

You can find the book here

“These accounts of a human drama heroic and villainous, saintly and sanguineous, are a feast for the historian and, more importantly, food for our generation starved of the story of its own past. The romantic whose knowledge is airbrushed and the cynic whose knowledge is cobbled together with clichés will jointly be challenged. For everyone, reading this book could be a transforming experience, and a delight as well.”
Fr. George Rutler, Author, He Spoke to Us: Discerning God in People and Events

“To see in one book the history of Catholics in the New World, its glories and its tragedies, is almost like reading a secret history of a lost tribe. Kevin Starr s magisterial narration of European Catholic presence in North America the Norse, the Spanish, the French, the English, plus a few others is a contribution of the first order to our understanding of the whole foundation of this land of the free.”
James V. Schall, S.J. Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University

IP#189 Dr. Rodney Stark – America’s Blessings on Inside the Pages

“America’s Blessings: How Religion Benefits Everyone, Including Atheists” is outstanding; it’s the book most anti-religion pundits don’t want you to read.

Once again, it was a delight to speak with Dr. Rodney Stark about this subject.  He is one of the leading authorities on the sociology of religion.  The Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, Dr. Stark has broken open for us a wealth of studies, polls, and data that indicate the tremendous benefits organized religion has had on the United States of America.  He also presents, in his uniquely authentic style,  the dangers of taking this blessing for granted.

You can find the book here

From the description:

Starting with a historical overview, Stark traces America’s religious roots from the founding of the country up through the present day, showing that religiosity in America has never been consistent, static, or monolithic. Interestingly, he finds that religious practice is now more prevalent than ever in America, despite any claims to the contrary. From here, Stark devotes whole chapters to unpacking the latest research on how religion affects different facets of modern American life, including crime, family life, sexuality, mental and physical health, sophistication, charity, and overall prosperity. The cumulative effect is that when translated into comparisons with western European nations, the United States comes out on top again and again. Thanks in no small part to America’s rich religious culture, the nation has far lower crime rates, much higher levels of charitable giving, better health, stronger marriages, and less suicide, to note only a few of the benefits.
In the final chapter, Stark assesses the financial impact of these religious realities. It turns out that belief benefits the American economy—and all 300 million citizens, believer and nonbeliever alike—by a conservative estimate of $2.6 trillion a year. Despite the atheist outcry against religion, the remarkable conclusion is clear: all Americans, from the most religious among us to our secular neighbors, really ought to count our blessings.

IP#134 Dr. Thomas Kidd – Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots on Inside the Pages

During this time when we are asked to remember the value of our religious liberty, our conversation with Dr. Thomas Kidd is an important one.  Dr. Kidd gives us the life and  passionate thought of “Patrick Henry:  First Among Patriots”.  Patrick Henry gave us the great rallying cry “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”, and yet many of us may not realize that he had huge reservations about the scope of the Constitution, because he feared it could one day seize that liberty and destroy it  if allowed to go unchecked….very interesting.  I found this to be a fascinating book.  Would Patrick Henry’s concern turn out to be a prophetic one?  Dr. Thomas Kidd handles his subject well, and presents the time, place and overall personality of Henry with clarity and insight in a very compelling read.

Dr. Thomas Kidd teaches history at Baylor University and is Senior Fellow at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books. God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution was published in 2010, also by Basic Books. Additional recent books include American Christians and Islam, published in 2008 by Princeton University Press, The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America, published by Yale University Press in 2007, and The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents, with Bedford Books in 2007.  He is a contributor to patheos.com and has written op-eds for USA Today and the Washington Post.

You can find the book here


Wilfred M. McClay, SunTrust Chair of Excellence in Humanities, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
“His (Patrick Henry’a) historical reputation has suffered somewhat because of his opposition to the Constitution, but as Thomas Kidd shows in this vivid and lucid new biography, that judgment fails to do him justice. Indeed, his fears of the Constitution’s tendency toward consolidation and empire turned out to be well-founded, and the principal themes of his life, including his emphasis upon the cultivation of virtue and the protection of limited government, have never been more relevant. May this fine book lead to a long-overdue reconsideration of a great but neglected figure.”