Reviews

“While the people on both sides of the working people versus the magnates divide, and their publics, spoke and wrote in consistently explosive terms, Carter stays cool and compassionate as he successfully sets out to inform a new generation of conflicts which are now one and a half centuries old – and still unsettled.” — Martin Marty, writing in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History (read the full review here)

“More than just recasting the origins of Social Christianity, [Carter] reminds us of the profound moral debates that surrounded the rise of industrial capitalism and reveals how workers campaigned for justice as forcefully and ardently within the religious sphere as they did in the political and economic arenas.  Theirs was a struggle to redeem the soul of the church and, by extension, the nation.” — Thomas Rzeznik, writing in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (read the full review here)

“…required reading for all who are studying the Social Gospel.” — Merrill M. Hawkins, writing in the Review and Expositor (read the full review here)

“Carter’s singular contribution is to recast figures long associated with the history of labor as main characters in the history of American Christianity. They may have lacked formal religious training, if they had any education at all, but people like National Labor Union founder Andrew Cameron, blacksmith organizer James Kline, and anarchist Albert Parsons had important thoughts about the divine. These were individuals of considered faith who mounted a sustained and partially successful campaign to remind the church to look after the orphaned, the widowed, and the poor. Gracefully written and richly illustrated, Union Made is an eminently accessible text. It is also of pressing relevance in our present age of staggering prosperity and shameful poverty.” — Christopher D. Cantwell, writing in The Christian Century (read the full review here)

“Christians sympathetic to progressive economic views and labor activists praying for a labor movement revival will be inspired by Carter’s account of Bible-believing workers criticizing an unjust economic order.” — Paul Putz, writing in Books & Culture (read the full review here)

“In his meticulously researched and stimulating account of labor battles in Chicago in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Carter explains how labor leaders and wage earners strove diligently to improve working conditions and wages.”– Gary Scott Smith, writing in the Journal of Illinois History (full review not available online)

“Carter’s strong, clear argument is based on his extensive and creative research, as well as a highly readable narrative” — Georg Leidenberger, writing in American Nineteenth Century History (read the full review here)

“Carter persuasively illustrated the existence of a working-class Christian discourse that predates the work of Social Gospel proponents such as Walter Rauschenbusch” — Matthew Pehl, writing in the Journal of American History (read the full review here)

“[Carter] furthers our understanding of the complexities of the working-class religious experiences by including the detailed ideas of Catholics, women, black workers, and other non-native-born rank and file workers. By taking into account such diversity, Carter’s narrative makes a tremendous contribution to the on-going scholarship in this area.” –William A. Mirola, writing in the American Historical Review (read the full review here)

“The book’s strengths lie in clear, narrative prose that belies the enormous primary and secondary research the book required.” — Janine Giordano Drake, writing in Choice (full review not available online):

“The meat of Carter’s argument is in his recovery of the working class social gospel.  He gets as close as he can to the minds of those workers, excavating from archives, church records, and especially radical newspapers the words of diverse groups of men and women all working class or sympathetic to the workers’ plight.” — Matthew Bowman, writing in Church History (read the full review here)

“In our current days of contract laborers, part-time employment, temp workers, loss of benefits, union decertification, growing income inequality and pushes for higher minimum wages, let the reader beware: This character study will challenge you, in any faith tradition, to take action.” — Gary L. Chamberlain, writing in America (read the full review here)

“Heath Carter’s Union Made is a fine piece of archaeology…a gift to everyone interested in American history, and a huge gift to those with a keen interest in the role that Christianity played in American – North American, even – social and economic history.” — Brian Dijkema, writing in Comment (read the full review here)

“This historical study…focuses on one of the most fascinating chapters in American history.” — Stephen Schwartz, writing in First Things (read the full review here)

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