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Is God Still An Englishman?: How We Lost Our Faith (But Found New Soul) Hardcover – 1 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408701804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408701805
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

** This exuberant and assured book posits the central dilemmas of our times . . . eccentric, mystifying and gripping (Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, INDEPENDENT)

** 'The Cole Moreton revealed in IS GOD STILL AN ENGLISHMAN? is intelligent, vulnerable, modest and philanthropic: an immensely likeable commentator on matters spiritual . . . It should be required reading for every English man and woman - whatever their (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

** 'Absorbing, and colourful, as any religious ritual. He weaves in a witty, self-knowing, self-mocking account of his own faith journey . . . an elegant, potted social and cultural history of 1980s and 1990s Britain, told in the broad, sweeping manner of a prime-time BBC television history series, presented by an off-duty newscaster, full of wonderfully evocative references . . . There are many good things about this book, not least the personality of its author, which is stamped on every page. He can make you laugh out loud, and generates a momentum that has you turning the pages wanting it never to end. And his theory, when the party finally reaches its conclusion, namely that there is some kind of spiritual something going on here right now, is intriguing (Peter Sandford, OBSERVER)

** 'There were times during this book when I thought it was one of the most perceptive and original studies of the English that I've read in ages (SUNDAY TIMES)

Book Description

* A compelling narrative of Britain's changing culture and attitude to religion since the 1980s * Who are we? What do we believe? Where are we going?

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Catherine on 23 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Is God Still An Englishman? is a made up of three seamlessly interwoven strands - a social and political history of the British people's increasing disillusionment with authority, government and institutions over the last 30 years; a history of the UK church over the same period and how this is related to wider social change; and a startlingly honest and open account of Cole Moreton's own personal religious journey. Many of the events described are still sharp in the nation's shared memory and consciousness. Moreton's ability to identify how different social trends knit together, and to pinpoint key events that fed change in the 'atmosphere' of the nation, are insightful and persuasive. It's also a beautifully written and very readable book - stimulating, funny, touching and discomforting. Recommended not only for those interested in recent church history, but anyone wanting to delve deeper into the evolution of the British collective conscience over recent decades.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Derek A Collins on 30 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
Is God Still An Englishman?
How we lost our faith but found new soul.
Cole Moreton, Little Brown, 2010

If you only read one book about religion this year, make sure it's this one. Cole Moreton has produced a fantastic social history of popular faith in England over the last thirty years. It begins with the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981 and takes in every major event from then till now, tracing how each event has been a nail in the coffin of the established Church of England as the arbiter of the nation's spiritual beliefs. In 1981, the great English God was still more or less in control though his days were numbered even then. Since the Elizabethan Settlement in 1559 when the Church of England was formally established defined but the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity in pretty much the form we knew it in the 80s. The tenets of this national religion, were fair play, the stiff upper lip and knowing one's place in the great scheme of things. Over the last 30 years, Moreton maintains, the high place of this God, his national church and the Establishment which maintained them have been gradually eroded, till Anglicanism is just one of the possible faiths on offer in the post-modern market place and has lost its distinctiveness, splintering into several different tribes, all fighting for the dwindling stock of believers and adherents.

Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. While this great national faith gave the nation a shape and form which held it together over five hundred years, it had become stifling, crippling creativity and new expressions of faith. Moreton outlines how the Soul of England is changing to become more accepting, more honest, less rigid and buttoned-up.
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As a believer (i.e. believing there is no god with which humans can communicate or ask favours of) this is not a book that would have appealed to me by its title alone, but it came to my attention because the writer currently attends an Anglican church within a mile of my Eastbourne home, and it was recommended to me by another member of that congregation.

Rather than being a pro- or anti-Christian document, it is basically a review of how worship in the UK has changed over the last few decades. The author has certainly packed a lot of denominations into his life and describes them so readably, and accurately from my own youthful upbringing, that I have already bought a couple of extra copies for use as 2014 Christmas presents, though I have yet to decide which of my friends would benefit most from them.

By my calculation, Mr Moreton appears to be only a little beyond halfway to my age of 86 years, so I can hope that his religious journey will mature even further and I look forward to reading (or more likely having read to me) a sequel in 20 years or so to show that he has come to share my favourite text - "He who believes he has not been brainwashed is brainwashed; he who knows he has been brainwashed is not brainwashed". (I can't quote chapter and verse for that, but it must surely be somewhere within the 17 gospels rejected for various reasons from the original bible.)

I do not know Mr Moreton and have never knowingly met him, despite his apparent close proximity, so it is from a completely unbiased viewpoint that I recommend his book as a source of knowledge and entertainment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By www.fosten.com on 30 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
A highly readable review of the place of faith and belonging in Britain over the past 30 years. Cole Moreton is informed, fair, angry, gracious, betrayed and hopeful in equal measure as he charts the changing fortunes and wasted opportunities of the established church since the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981. However this is not a book about church so much as a carefully researched and wide ranging journey through recent key events and changes in Britain. As a gifted story teller, Moreton is able to assemble such apparently diverse elements as the miners' strike, Jade Goody and the Church Commisioners'financial advisor who had a taste for expensive cigars and travel on the QE2 and make of them a coherent picture of who 'we' are and how we've changed over the past 3 decades.
This book is a 'must read' for believers who think about their faith but it's equally a stimulating guide for anyone in Britain who has ever thought that there must be more to life than Eastenders, Hello magazine or Sky TV.
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