God’s Country, Uncle Sam’s Land: Faith and Conflict in the American West (Nonfiction)

gods-country-uncle-sams-land_todd-m-kerstetter_religion-politics-fearThe West is the home of individualism, liberty and religious freedom. Well, not always.

Three tragic exceptions to this mythology are examined at length in God’s Country. The Utah Mormons, the Lakota Ghost Dancers and the Waco Branch Davidians were all violently suppressed because they were theocratic, messianic, sometimes polygamous religions. The rise and fall of each of these cultures is told with fascinating detail. The author observes how the press, neighbors and politicians all inflamed the conflicts by condemning “barbarian” or  “deviant” religious behaviors rather than mere criminal activity. Kerstetter’s book is a timely analysis of the relationship between religion, politics and fear.

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