Robert Wuthnow is a professor of sociology at Princeton University and the author of numerous articles and books about American culture. His particular expertise has been in showing how America’s religious faith intersects with life in our culture. His writing is sometimes dense but always useful. One of his more recent titles summarizes a great deal of Wuthnow’s insight: American Mythos: Why Our Best Efforts to Be a Better Nation Fall Short (Princeton University Press, 2008). The guy is prolific if he is nothing else. I cannot keep up with him but I try to “breeze” by his new material now and then to glean what I can from this highly respected social thinker.
Wuthnow’s newest book is Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats (Oxford University Press, 2010). This book is not rooted in religion, as such, but it touches on what is