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New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America Hardcover – 3 Apr 2012

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"Trenchant and mature ... a wonderfully realized account ... a superb retelling of a story that needs to be studied."-Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly "John Lynch has furnished an important and intricate piece of the puzzle of the story of global Christianity ... He practices history at its best ... For many years to come New Worlds should stand as a key reference point."-Kenneth P. Serbin, Christian Century -- Kenneth P. Serbin Christian Century "A masterly, in-depth study of religion in its many forms in Latin America"-Jeffrey Klaiber S.J., America -- Jeffrey Klaiber S.J. America

About the Author

John Lynch is Emeritus Professor of Latin American History and former director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London. He is the author of more than a dozen books on Latin American topics. He lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
Great book for research 10 Feb. 2015
By Allison Wallace - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great. It's exactly what I wanted. It's all about the influence that the Catholic church had on Latin America. If you've ever been to Latin American countries (as I have), you'll notice that their culture and governments are very still to this day under a huge religious influence. Even though most of the people are not practicing Catholics, things like Birth Control, Divorce and sex before marriage are hugely looked down upon and sometimes illegal. This book gives great incite as to why and what all has been influenced. It doesn't go deep into understanding the Catholic church, just the influence it had on other countries. It reads like a textbook but I still found it very interesting.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing 9 Jun. 2013
By J. A. Donaghy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed with this work which I find flawed and confusing. I had hoped for a good summary history of the church in Latin America.

The work focuses on controversies - colonialism and the church, church and state, liberalism and Catholicism, and the church versus Marxism.

This leads to what I felt was a rather narrow and unbalanced approach to the history of the church.

There are a few egregious errors that I found. Dom Helder Camara never received a Nobel Peace Prize and Archbishop Oscar Romero never was rector of the archdiocesan seminary. The UCA in El Salvador There may be other errors.

At several places I found his tone disturbing. He made disparaging remarks about Camara, calling one quote of his demagogy. He refers to some Pentecostal services as "stagy and vulgar." Most of his remarks about Marxism are very negative.

He subtly infuses his bias (anti-socialism and anti-Marxist) into the work and at times makes glaring generalizations. For example on page 287: "Revolution became a concept which automatically legitimized any movement that bore its name, regardless of the policies or the people."

He oversimplifies what I think are complex situations. For example, in El Salvador Catholics were "caught between guerrillas and the security forces."

He is not very clear. He writes about guerrilla groups but it is not always clear if they are small groups as in some countries in the Southern Cone of Latin America or major guerrilla armies as in Central America.

He is at times repetitive, referring to the same event twice.

On the other hand the author refers to some persons and events without explaining them. For example, he mentions Medellin and Puebla several chapters before explaining them in the last chapter.

If I didn't know something of the history of Guatemala and the role of the church there I would have found his section on Guatemala extremely confusing, since it appeared to me to be rather disorganized.

Though he does point to the US role in Central America, he does not mention the role of the US in the overthrow of Allende in Chile.

AS I looked through his bibliography I noted the absence of two works that I consider extremely helpful for understanding the church in Latin America, Penny Lernoux's Cry of the People and Philip Berryman's Religious Roots of Rebellion. They provide a useful antidote to his reading of the Catholic Church in Latin America in the second half of the twentieth century.
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