Professor Paul Harvey’s new book Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American Christianity, just published in August, has been reviewed very nicely in the Publisher’s Weekly. Here’s the review, along with a link for the book.
Paul Harvey. Rowman & Littlefield, $35 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7425-6473-2
This deceptively slim book covers an enormous amount of historical terrain as an overview of African-American faith in America, touching a staggering number of major developments without exhaustively detailing them. Harvey, a professor of history at the University of Colorado, begins by explaining how the slave trade permanently altered religion for African-Americans, then moves on quickly to how the black church later provided cultural survival strategies. The same colonies that argued that the Bible sanctioned slavery hosted Protestant evangelical revivals where African-American Christianity was born. The book expertly pulls together the individual stories of well-known historical figures whose lives were shaped in black churches, the significance of syncretism in African and Caribbean-based religions as reflections of some elements of Christian theology, and the spread of gospel music as a new and influential part of American popular culture. There are some repetitive passages on Voodoo and Yoruba traditions, but the book is almost entirely a good, rigorous starting point for those unfamiliar with the place of African-American Christianity in America’s history. (Sept.)