Item description for Restless in the Promised Land: Catholics and the American Dream by Jim Cullen...
While the "American Dream" is one of the most familiar and powerful aspects of our national identity, it is not easily defined or attained. What is it? Where does it come from? Whom does it include? How is it reached? Jim Cullen's Restless in the Promised Land is a fascinating exploration of these questions and much more.
What began as a fundamentally Protestant ideal in opposition to Roman Catholicism has taken on a life of its own. From early settlers to urbanites, indigenous to immigrants, citizens to consumers, and politicians to popular culture icons, the American Dream means many things to many people. Inherent in its story is the complex tale of the rise of Catholicism in this country and its relationship to the American Dream.
Restless in the Promised Land: Catholics and the American Dream explores the American Catholic experience less as a set of theological doctrines than as a form of cultural identity that can best be seen in the world of popular culture. What makes this book unique and compelling is that it looks at American Catholicism through the lens of the larger-than-life characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby, Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O'Hara, the performer Madonna, and the filmmaker Martin Scorcese.
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Studio: Sheed & Ward
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.12" Width: 6" Height: 0.56" Weight: 0.64 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2001
Publisher Sheed & Ward
ISBN 1580510930 ISBN13 9781580510936
Availability 0 units.
More About Jim Cullen
Jim Cullen teaches history at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. Cullen, a former Preceptor in the Expository Writing Program at Harvard University, is the author of several books, including The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation (2003) and the forthcoming, provisionally titled Sensing the Past: Hollywood Actors as Historians.
Jim Cullen currently resides in Westchester, in the state of New York. Jim Cullen was born in 1962 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City Ethical Cultural Fie.
Reviews - What do customers think about Restless in the Promised Land: Catholics and the American Dream?
Catholicism and its Influence on American Achievement Jan 9, 2004
Jim Cullen is a Harvard University instructor and the author of a few books about cultural studies. He has primarily written about popular culture, having authored a book about Bruce Springsteen and one about the conflicts and battles that exist in American culture today. After the success of his book on Bruce Springsteen, Cullen decided to write this book to further study the lives of selected prominent Catholics in the entertainment industry.
Cullen devotes chapters to such icons as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Mitchell (Author of "Gone with the Wind"), Madonna, and Hollywood director Martin Scorcese. He also includes a few general chapters about Catholicism and its influence on American culture. Cullen attempts to define what the American dream really means and how these different celebrities have been affected by their religious upbringing.
Cullen does a good job showing how these different celebrities were influenced by their Catholic background. In the case of Fitzgerald and Mitchell, the influence is more indirect, coming through in the depictions of the characters in their various works. With Madonna and Scorcese, the influence of religion is more direct. Each of these individuals has spoken openly about their respective relationships with the church and the experiences (especially with Madonna) have not always been positive. However, even Madonna admits that she cannot seem to divorce herself from her Catholic upbringing. Its influence can be seen and heard in her songs and in her day to day life.
I like the intellectual angle that Cullen takes in this book. It's easy to see that he's a man who is well- educated and knows how to articulate his thoughts onto paper. But I think the book would have been better if it included some well- known individuals in some other walks of life besides entertainment. Cullen is well versed at studying pop culture and this fact, along with the Bruce Springsteen study (who, by the way, was also raised Catholic), are probably what led him to stick with entertainers for the writing of this text.
Overall, this is a fairly good book. It won't take long for most people to finish (it's only 165 pages in total length) and the chapter on Madonna is especially interesting. But it could have been better with more in- depth studies of these figures along with some coverage of non- entertainment individuals, to round it out and add more validity to its claims about Catholicism and its influence on the pursuit of the American dream.