At the heart of the nation's spiritual history are audacious and often violent scenes. But the Puritans and the shining city on the hill give us just one way to understand the United States. Rather than recite American history from a Christian vantage point, Peter Manseau proves that what really happened is worth a close, fresh look. Thomas Jefferson himself collected books on all religions and required that the brand new Library of Congress take his books, since Americans needed to consider the twenty gods or god he famously ted were revered by his neighbors. Looking at the Americans who believed in these gods, Manseau fills in America's story of itself, from the persecuted witches at Salem and who they really were, to the persecuted Buddhists in WWII California, from spirituality and cults in the '60s to the recent presidential election where both candidates were for the first time n-traditional Christians. One Nation, Under Gods shows how much more there is to the history we tell ourselves, right back to the country's earliest days. Dazzling in its scope and sweep, it is an American history unlike any you've read.
Peter Manseau holds a doctorate in religion from Georgetown University and is currently a fellow at the Smithsonian. He is the author of Rag and Bone, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, and Vows. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.