A wonderfully researched book with all kinds of facts, figures and charts. Refresh and try again. But that brief moment when you peer into the soul of America makes it worth it. But I felt like more could have been done on so many levels. As one raised in an evangelical environment, it's interesting to see which of my assumptions are proven in this book and which are turned upside down. The authors use data from the nationally representative 2006 and 2007 waves of the Faith Matters survey, in addition to other surveys, alongside several in-depth observations of specific congregations. The statistical chapters are interspersed with 'vignettes' - case studies of a dozen real congregations in the United States. by Simon Schuster. Instead, I found the book to be an extended dissertation that dissects a nationwide survey for Faith Matters from 2006 in mind-numbing statistical detail. This freedom creates and allows for a diversity of faith and belief. For example, the divisive issue of abortion can be hard to sort out and I like this sensible statement (p. 390): This one took a couple months to finish - it's not a page turner, but I'm very glad to have read it. I most appreciate Putnam's work for illuminating--and then bringing immediacy and urgency to remedying--the collapse of American community and opportunity. Unique among nations, America is deeply religious, religiously diverse, and remarkably tolerant. Note: This review is of the print edition, not the Kindle. There are some nuggets in here, like the nature of American religion (it's a marketplace), and how it relates to partisanship, and how we are in the middle of a second backlash against the first backlash that was against the 60s. I liked the vignettes - glimpses into beliefs and lifestyles of a variety of belief systems. I found it most interesting to see how ethnicity and political persuasion affect religious beliefs. If you liked Robert Putnam's earlier book about social capital, Bowling Alone, you'll find this one of interest. October 5th 2010 For one thing, it is incredibly long (550 pages), and its conclusions are mildly interesting at best (to me). There just weren't a lot of gems that will stick with me now that the book is finished. Yet, the data reveals the exact opposite. It takes the reader up to the present state of things, with a 2006 Faith Matters Survey being at the heart of the presentation. I can read a graph, thank you very much. Way drier than the “Bowling” book. The political section, which I understood was the core and reason behind this book, did not clearly provide answers. Astounding amount of research but, wow, did I feel condecended to. My idea of religion is that it is practiced to help humans be better humans to their fellow beings. I most appreciate Putnam's work for illuminating--and then bringing immediacy and urgency to remedying--the collapse of American community and opportunity. After renewing the book five times (with two separate checkouts) I have finally read the last page! If you liked Robert Putnam's earlier book about social capital, Bowling Alone, you'll find this one of interest. The authors are sociologists who rely on detailed studies of American's religious practices and faith to inform the book. The political section, which I understood was the core and reason behind this book, did not clearly provide answers. American Grace is a major achievement, a groundbreaking examination of religion in America. Here's a small sampling of what I flagged: Some books are a quick read, others are not. It does not feel biased toward certain conclusions, and the conclusions seem logical and believable given the statistics. Overall, "American Grace" was an interesting read and will probably be a great resource to reference for the next 10 years or so. This freedom creates and allows for a diversity of faith and belief. This book made me more grateful for my religious beliefs and the freedom to worship in peace in a unique and wonderful country! I ended up skimming through a lot of it because it is thick and scholarly - although very readable. The book's subtitle, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, provides the focus for the fifteen topical chapters. Could have been better. Because the interesting data just kept coming page after page. You gotta push through some of the data and just accept the fact that you probably won't remember any of it. Astounding amount of research but, wow, did I feel condecended to. Putnam and Campbell affirm and deny many common beliefs about religious, church, and political habits in regards Americans. They discuss the three phases of participation in religion in the past 75 years, from the era of high attendance in the post war years to the decline in practice following the Vietnam war and sexual revolution to the backlash that led to the rise of Evangelism, to the current state in which so many younger Americans identify themselves as belonging to no denomination yet stating that they still believe in God (spiritual not religious). Finally! The authors reveal many surprising facts, such as that religious Americans are more generous with their time and treasure even outside their religion than secular Americans, that younger Americans are more liberal on LGBT marriage and more conservative on abortion than the generation above them, that even the most conservative denominations are filled with people who say that Jesus is not the only path to heaven and that people of other faiths will be welcomed there.