Beginning with Walt Whitman singing hymns at a wounded soldier's bedside during the Civil War, this surprising and vivid anthology ranges straight through to the twenty-first century to end with Francine Prose crying tears of complicated joy at the sight of Whitman's words in Zuccotti Park during the brief days of the Occupy movement.
The first anthology of its kind, Radiant Truths gathers an exquisite selection of writings by both well-known and forgotten American authors and thinkers including Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McCarthy, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Anne Fadiman, Francine Prose, Garry Wills, and many others. Each are engaged in the challenges of writing about religion, of documenting "things unseen." Their contributions to the genre of literary journalism - the telling of factual stories using the techniques of fiction and poetry - make this volume one of the most exciting anthologies of creative nonfiction to have emerged in years.
Jeff Sharlet is Mellon Assistant Professor of English at Dartmouth College and best-selling author of The Family, C Street, and Sweet Heaven When I Die. He is founder of TheRevealer.org, cofounder of KillingTheBuddha.com, and a frequent commentator on religion and politics in American life. He lives in Norwich, VT.
"The book belongs to the tradition of long-form, narrative journalism best exemplified by writers such as Joan Didion, John McPhee, Norman Mailer and Sharlet's contemporary David Samuels. Sharlet deserves a place alongside such masters, for he has emerged as a master investigative stylist and one of the shrewdest commentators on religion's underexplored realms." - Michael Washburn, Washington Post
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A startling and immensely pleasurable collection of American writings on belief, from the Civil War to Occupy Wall Street