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No Sympathy for the Devil: Christian Pop Music and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism [Hardcover]

David W. Stowe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 May 2011
In this cultural history of evangelical Christianity and popular music, David Stowe demonstrates how mainstream rock of the 1960s and 1970s has influenced conservative evangelical Christianity through the development of Christian pop music. The chart-topping, spiritually inflected music created a space in popular culture for talk of Jesus, God, and Christianity, thus lessening for baby boomers and their children the stigma associated with religion while helping to fill churches and create new modes of worship. Stowe shows how evangelicals' increasing acceptance of Christian pop music ultimately has reinforced a variety of conservative cultural, economic, theological, and political messages.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (15 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807834580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807834589
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,415,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Stowe's work stands out as one of the most compelling and entertaining examinations of evangelicalism that has been published in recent years. This book is an indispensible read for historians, religious studies scholars, and those with an abiding intere

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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, informative, up-to-date, brilliant. 2 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I came across this book in a search for literature to use in my dissertation on representations of the Devil in various styles of music, with one chapter covering the genre of Christian rock and how it poses something of an oxymoron to some Christians. This book is written with a great knowledge on the style, and gives a wealth of information about the roots and development of Christian rock. I've found it to be invaluable in my research, and am really glad I stumbled across it! Stowe writes in a very accessible style and at times with a dry wit that makes this book all the more enjoyable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars deserves better feedback-- an important and interesting book 20 Dec 2011
By searching for quality - Published on
I usually find that amazon reviews are higher on average than what books deserve; in this case (as I write) the reviews are far lower. This is one of the best available books on the interplay of popular music and Christianity, centering on the key decade of the 1970s when Christian contemporary music was coming into its own and major "secular" stars (Stowe deals with Dylan, Cash, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and many others) overlapped extensively with it. Meanwhile groundbreaking shows like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell were making a major impact. Stowe documents how all this fit together, using consistently interesting examples. He helps us greatly to understand the nature and appeal of post-1970s middle-of-the-road evangelicalism which drew (and continues to draw) on the cultural capital of this music-- especially the more secular versions of it. There are things I'd do differently if I were writing it. But Stowe has written the book and I haven't, so meanwhile he has the best available account.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate summary of the revolution in Christian Music 12 Sep 2011
By DP Flake - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
No Sympathy is an informative book that highlights the most significant events of the emergence and early development of Christian Rock. The author correctly identifies the major driving forces of the genre - Larry Norman, Andrea Crouch, and Barry McGuire - who appear throughout the book giving some context to current events. He paints compact and informative descriptions of seminal events such as Godstock and Explo '72 (which I attended), as well as stories behind lesser-known (and to some, questionable) celebrities of Jesus Music (Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Kris Kristofferson...). It satisfied some of my curiosity of the lives of several leading musicians like (again) Larry Norman and Keith Green and how they moved within the church scenes during the era of the "Jesus People." I also includes a satisfying glimpse into the conversion of Bob Dylan. Johnny Cash's contributions to the era were not something I was really aware of, but now makes some sense.

I agree that the book is very repetitive and poorly edited as stated in another review; it did seem like it was a compilation of disparate articles from various magazines. But all in all, I found it to be kind of a Reader's Digest of information that I appreciated. It does make me want more information though.
4.0 out of 5 stars Original and Insightful 1 May 2013
By William Libby - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very novel insghts into links of disparate elements of counter-culture, Jesus street people, emergent Christian rock,
and "estalbishment"."

Paticularly strong in showing how modern evangelicals really selectively borrowed from, and built upon the heritigage from this period.

Very clearly written.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Passionless, repetitive and poorly edited 6 May 2011
By Derek Jager - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Was looking forward to this, but found it dreadfully dull and poorly edited.

For instance, DJ Scott Ross is introduced no less than four (4) times, and each time the same copy is written about him. Frequently, the book is written as if each chapter is written on its own instead of part of a book, so there's no narrative thread. Musicians and newsworthy artists and events come and go and there's no connection drawn between them.

Most disappointing of all, the entire premise of the book--how CCM transformed American evangelism--is NEVER addressed! Just when the book ends, we're introduced to the Reagan era, but by then, "Jesus Music" in its purist form was over, and CCM as an industry was beginning to draw attention. But the connection is never made, other than some statistics that most men and women from the Jesus Movement tend to be conservative as they age.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive coverage of Jesus Movement in America 14 May 2011
By Aaron Cavanaugh - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

This book is a comprehensive review of the Jesus Movement in America from a non-Christian writer. Topics include Jesus movement started in California, how politics came to be influenced by estachology in the Bible, big time artists in both the secular and Christian world with thoughts about their spiritiual lives (well sourced).

This book should be rated R. Not because of the language but because of the subject matter of sex which is pervasive in this book.

I think this book is great because it is a documentary of the past. The author rarely intersperses his own opinions which make the book an even handed account of the "movement."

Highly recommended.

Thanks. God Bless.

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