Descripción de editorial
In this masterful, stylish, and authoritative book, Michael Burleigh gives us an epic history of the battles over religion in modern Europe, examining the complex and often lethal ways in which politics and religion have interacted and influenced each other over the last two centuries. From the French Revolution to the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century, Earthly Powers is a uniquely powerful portrait of one of the great tensions of modern history—one that continues to be played out on the world stage today.
Given the continuing discussion of religious values and secular ideals in American life (most recently in "the war on Christmas"), as well as the international crises brought by the perversion of faith into political ideology and of politics into religious fanaticism, this first in a two-volume work is most timely. In a masterful survey of European history, British historian Burleigh (The Third Reich) demonstrates that religion and politics are rarely directly opposed, but instead influence, shape and feed off each other in complex ways. Thus, the violent secularist ideologies of Jacobinism, communism and Nazism, he says, were actually surrogate religions that worshipped nation, class and race, while some 19th-century churches involved themselves in the radical politics engendered by industrialization and dispensed with the belief in a literal Hell and Day of Judgment. Burleigh's lengthy introduction is perhaps not the best place to start (with, for example, a discussion of the phrase "immanentizing of the eschaton"), but readers who persist will find this a fascinating, enjoyable and beautifully written book, whose planned sequel, on the tumultuous religious-political conflicts of the 20th century, should be eagerly anticipated. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.