5.12.2010

How the Quakers Invented America - A Review

How the Quakers Invented America How the Quakers Invented America by David Yount
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Using previously published essays, author, journalist, and theologian David Yount has created this book. It is part personal spiritual journey and confession of faith (he's a former Roman Catholic who is now a convinced member of the Religious Society of Friends), part spiritual guide, and part exposition of Quaker religious belief and practice that utilizes history to provide important background information and to illustrate key points.
The provocative title suggests that the it promises much, but anyone expecting an accurate and thorough explanation of the impact of Quakers and their values in American life and culture over the last three centuries will be disappointed. There are many problems with this book.
Yount makes generalizations that are too broad, and he offers grand assertions without providing examples. In general, his vision of Friends is idealistic and static. Some of what we know to be hallmarks of Quakerism developed and became new testimonies only after many years of quiet reflection on the Inner Light. Yount pays inadequate attention to change or growth over time in their faith or culture. Moreover, there are multiple historical lapses and errors throughout the book.
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