Item description for How the Quakers Invented America by David Yount...
Nationally syndicated columnist David Yount shows how Quakers and the Society of Friends shaped the basic distinctive features of American life, from the days of the colonies, revolution and founders, to the civil rights movements of modern times: freedom, equality, community, straightforwardness, and spirituality. Quaker prep schools and colleges continue to guide future generations of mostly non-Quaker students. Quaker spirituality is the basis for much of contemporary Christian spirituality. Yount makes clear that America would not have become what it is without the profound influence of the Friends.
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Studio: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.76" Width: 6.28" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2007
Publisher Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
ISBN 0742558339 ISBN13 9780742558335
Availability 0 units.
More About David Yount
David Yount is religion columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service and author of Be Strong and Courageous (Sheed & Ward, 2001).
David Yount currently resides in Montclair, in the state of Virginia.
Reviews - What do customers think about How the Quakers Invented America?
If you destroy the bill of rights--- Nov 13, 2007
If you destroy the Bill of Rights in American Constitution,United Nations lose its foundation of 1948, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,and will be lost soon. Then,what will happen to the Earth or Humanity? I love Quakers.We,Japanese,have Pacifist Constitution.
Disappointing Nov 4, 2007
Like many Americans, most of what I knew about the Quakers until a few years ago was related to their pacifism and emphasis on good works. I lumped them together with groups like the Mennonites, Bretheren, Shakers, and even the Amish, without much knowledge of the theological differences between them. After lapsing from the Presbyterian upbringing, I found a new and natural home with the Quakers about two years ago. As a "convinced" Friend, I'm still learning about the historical tradition of the Quakers in America, so this book seemed promising at first glance.
I finished reading it today, and I have to say that it was a major disappointment. Unlike Howard Brinton's rewarding and very thorough "Friends for 350 Years," or even the somewhat dry "Silence and Witness," this book appears to primarily be a disorganized mixture of the author's impressions of the faith. After coming to sweeping, and often inaccurate, generalizations about Quakers, the author attempts to draw connections to core American values.
There are many flaws with his approach. First, his observations are clearly personal and not based on a particularly careful reading of historical documents or sources. As a rule of thumb, if he, his wife, and their clerk of meeting think something, the author then assigns it to all Quakers. There is a bibliography, but the author's understanding of historical documentation is very limited, and his "expertise" is primarily backed up by reference to having been invited to give lectures at various places.
Second, the author has a strangely static understanding of core American values. Misunderstanding colonial America, he idealizes Pennsylvania under the Quakers, and then directly ties tolerance today to tolerance in that colony, as if the civil rights movement, immigration, and other social movements have had no place in history. I respect early Quakers as much as anyone, and can only hope to live up to examples like Woolman as a new Quaker myself, but Yount's account is simply fantasy.
Third, even if he was making better supportive arguments, it would still be difficult to follow the author's main theme through the book. Over and over, the writing turns into strings of only loosely related sentences. It is choppy and unpleasant to read, and in several instances, two sequential sentences directly contradict each other. Even when he tries to sum up an earlier book by referring to ten points about living in the moment, at least two of the points are logically inconsistent with each other. As if trying to reach a page quota, he also quotes excessively in several chapters.
I could go on, but there's not much of a point. I suggest Brinton's book, or others with multiple strong ratings on this site. This one isn't a good choice.
Lots to Learn in just 144 Pages Oct 22, 2007
I heard the start of a radio interview with the author. I picked up and then quickly lost the signal from a North Carolina NPR station, but the topic prompted me to order the book. If you are a non-Quaker and you have attended a Quaker school even just for a couple of years, this book can help you understand how Quakers may have influenced your way of thinking. The book also provides a good amount of historical context along with explanations of aspects of the faith and practice like regional differences.