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The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief

George Marsden

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Prose: non-fiction, History

A Bancroft Prize-winning historian traces the origins of America's culture wars back to the intellectual debates of the 1950s, showing how the country's secular elite abdicated its leadership to a radical new generation of Christian thinkers.

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States stood at a precipice. The forces of modernity unleashed by the war had led to astonishing advances in daily life, but technology and mass culture also threatened to erode the country's traditional moral character. As award-winning historian George M. Marsden explains in The Twilight of the American Enlightenment , post-war Americans looked to the country's secular, liberal elites for guidance in this precarious time, but these intellectuals proved unable to articulate a coherent common cause by which America could chart its course. Their failure lost them the faith of their constituents, paving the way for a Christian revival that offered America a firm new moral vision, one rooted in the Protestant values of the founders. A ground-breaking reappraisal of the country's spiritual reawakening, The Twilight of the American Enlightenment shows how America found new purpose at the dawn of the Cold War.

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