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Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religion, including Fields of Blood, A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and Fields of Bloos, as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. In 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working with TED on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public, crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It was launched globally in the fall of 2009. Also in 2008, she was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. In 2013, she received the British Academy's inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding.
Armstrong offers a tour de force study of religiosity that expands on themes in her previous titles A History of God and The Great Transformation. Armstrong contrasts the "unknown God" of 30,000 B.C.E-1500 C.E. with the modern God (1500 C.E.-present) and burgeoning European atheism. Today, religion is supposed to provide answers, but in earlier times, faith functioned like art and was a source of joy and serenity in the face of mystery and challenges. Verdict Highly recommended for readers willing to grapple with difficult but clearly articulated concepts and challenges to the "received" ways of perceiving religion. A classic book addressing some of the same issues is Wilfred Cantwell Smith's The Meaning and End of Religion. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09.]-Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"The time is ripe for a book like The Case for God, which wraps a rebuke to the more militant sort of atheism in an engaging survey of Western religious thought." --Ross Douthat, The New York Times Book Review "Armstrong's argument is prescient, for it reflects the most important shifts occurring in the religious landscape." --Lisa Miller, Newsweek "The Case for God is Armstrong's most concise and practical-minded book yet: a historical survey of hwo rather than what we believe, where we lost the "knack" of religion and what we need to do to get it back." --Michael Brunton, Ode "In over a dozen books [Armstrong] has delivered something people badly want: a way to acknowledge that faith can be taken seriously as a response to deep human yearnings without needing to subscribe to the formality of organized belief." --The Economist "Armstrong is ambitious. The Case for God is an entire semester at college packed into a single book--a voluminous, dizzying intellectual history. . . . Reading The Case for God, I felt smarter. . . . A stimulating, hopeful work. After I finished it, I felt inspired, I stopped, and I looked up at the stars again. And I wondered what could be." --Susan Jane Gilman, NPR's "All Things Considered" "Challenging, intelligent, and illuminating--especially for anyone reflecting on current discussions of atheism, often characterized as conflict between religion and science." --Elaine Pagels, co-author of Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity