Sweet Heaven When I Die

Sweet Heaven When I Die

Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country in Between

Book - 2011
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"No one explores the borderlands of belief and skepticism quite like Jeff Sharlet. He is ingenious, farsighted, and able to excavate the worlds of others, even the flakiest and most fanatical, with uncanny sympathy. Here, he reports back from the far reaches of belief, whether in the clear mountain air of 'Sweet Fuck All, Colorado' or in a midnight congregation of urban anarchists celebrating a victory over police. From Dr. Cornel West to legendary banjo player Dock Boggs, from the youth evangelist Ron Luce to America's largest 'Mind, Body, Spirit Expo,' Sharlet profiles religious radicals, realists, and escapists. Including extended journeys published here for the first time, Sweet Heaven When I Die offers a portrait of our spiritual landscape that calls to mind Joan Didion's classic Slouching Towards Bethlehem."--Publisher's description
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393079630
Characteristics: 264 p. ; 22 cm


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JennyFS Aug 31, 2013

This is quite a dark book, but one that is ultimately uplifting for Sharlet's ability to sustain dialogue with the diverse people he interviews, people with whom he often outwardly shares no common core beliefs. For this reason alone, Sweet Heaven When I Die stands out as great reporting. Sharlet genuinely desires to understand his interviewees, burrowing into their lives and their souls when he can find them, and opening up his soul in return. One criticism of this book is that Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, faiths which now have thousands of adherents in the United States, are absent. Aside from this fact, I would recommend Sweet Heaven When I Die to anyone seeking a greater understanding of faith in contemporary America.

JeremiahSutherland Sep 20, 2012

This author gets high marks from many sources. Frankly, I don't get it. If he's just riffing on various people of his acquaintance who are semi-religious, this book is an exercise in stream of consciousness writing. If he's trying to illustrate some points, I don't get them.


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