Lougee, “Facing the Revocation”

In November, Oxford University Press released “Facing the Revocation: Huguenot Families, Faith, and the King’s Will,” by Carolyn Chappell Lougee (Stanford University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The Edict of Nantes ended the civil wars of the Reformation in 1598 by making 9780190241315France a kingdom with two religions. Catholics could worship anywhere, while Protestants had specific locations where they were sanctioned to worship. Over the coming decades Protestants’ religious freedom and civil privileges eroded until the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, issued under Louis XIV in 1685, criminalized their religion.

The Robillard de Champagné, a noble family, were among those facing the Revocation. They and their co-religionists confronted the difficult decision whether to obey this new law and convert, feign conversion and remain privately Protestant, or break the law and attempt to flee secretly in what was the first modern mass migration. In this sweeping family saga, Carolyn Chappell Lougee narrates how the Champagné family’s persecution and Protestant devotion unsettled their economic advantages and social standing. The family provides a window onto the choices that individuals and their kin had to make in these trying circumstances, the agency of women within families, and the consequences of their choices. Lougee traces the lives of the family members who escaped; the kin and community members who decided to stay, both complying with and resisting the king’s will; and those who resettled in Britain and Prussia, where they adapted culturally and became influential members of society. She challenges the narrative Huguenots told over subsequent generations about the deeper faith of those who opted for exile and the venal qualities of those who remained in France.

A masterful and moving account of the Hugenots, Facing the Revocation offers a deeply personal perspective on one of the greatest acts of religious intolerance in history.

“The FBI and Religion” (Johnson & Weitzman, eds.)

In February, the University of California Press will release “The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11,” edited by Sylvester A. Johnson (Northwestern University) and Steven P. Weitzman (University of Pennsylvania).  The publisher’s description follows:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has had a long and tortuous relationship with 9780520287280religion over almost the entirety of its existence. As early as 1917, the Bureau began to target religious communities and groups it believed were hotbeds of anti-American politics. Whether these religious communities were pacifist groups that opposed American wars, or religious groups that advocated for white supremacy or direct conflict with the FBI, the Bureau has infiltrated and surveilled religious communities that run the gamut of American religious life.

The FBI and Religion recounts this fraught and fascinating history, focusing on key moments in the Bureau’s history. Starting from the beginnings of the FBI before World War I, moving through the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, up to 9/11 and today, this book tackles questions essential to understanding not only the history of law enforcement and religion, but also the future of religious liberty in America.

Weatherford, “Genghis Khan and the Quest for God”

I know almost nothing about Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. And so it’s not fair for me to criticize a book by an expert who has spent many years studying the subject. Still, I’ll go out on a limb and say I am deeply skeptical of the claim that Americans owe to the Mongols our principle of religious freedom. I expect the Framers would have been skeptical, too, though the possibility does open up new avenues for Originalist research.

That we owe our religious freedom to the Mongols is one of the claims made in this new book from Penguin Random House, Genghis Khan and the Quest for God, by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. Judge for yourselves. The publisher’s description follows (H/T: Chris Borgen):