Robert H. Abzug

Biographer and Historian

Books

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (abridged with Introduction)
William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience is perhaps the most important book ever written in America about religion. A psychologist and philosopher and himself prone to experiences beyond rational comprehension, James explores origins and meanings of religious experience to those who undergo these transformative moments. This abridged edition of James's classic text introduces and preserves the major ideas and arguments of James's and his most compelling examples of conversion, saintliness, and other religious states in a length and form accessible to a wide student and lay audience.

America Views the Holocaust, 1933-1945
A collection of annotated documents that demonstrates and analyzes the variety and complexity of American understandings of what we now call the Holocaust as it happened: newspaper and magazine accounts, diaries and letters, sermons, and radio broadcast transcripts. They include eyewitness accounts from Germany and Poland,specimens of anti-Semitic propaganda, and the words of Edward R. Murrow, Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin, and others. An concluding essay assesses various arguments concerning the culpability of America and the Allies in allowing the mass murder of Jews.
An Amazon reviewer said: "This is a great book...Reading about the Holocaust in a textbook does not give you the whole story. This book is full of accounts written at the time the Holocaust was happening. I was both fascinated and extremely horrified while reading this book, and I feel like I learned a great deal from it. I would highly recommend this book."-Lisa Adams

Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination
I show that the cosmological vision of creative religious thinkers pondering America as a chosen nation, not simply social and economic forces, created reform movements. Cosmos Crumbling grapples with the full spectrum of reform, from temperance and vegetarianism to abolitionism and woman's rights.

"A brilliant reinterpretation of the dynamic reform movements that proliferated in the five decades following the American independence....Succeeds in breaking out of the constraining cocoon imposed by our own secular era and in comprehending nineteenth-century reformers in their own terms, within their own cosmos. Abzug goes far beyond any previous historian in getting to the core of American reform and thus to a vital part of American identity."--David Brion Davis, Yale University
"Offers the freshest, most elegantly phrased and profoundest reinterpretation of the American reform tradition in the last fifty years....All students of nineteenth-century American history will need to read this work."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida

Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps
The book focuses on the experiences of American GIs at the concentration camp liberations of 1945 and what they tell us about how we react to the Holocaust and other enormities. I use both archival and oral histories, as well as previously unpublished Signal Corps and personal photographs, to confront the reader with the feelings and reactions of American G.I.'s at places like Dachau, Buchenwald, and various other concentration camps liberated in the Spring of 1945.
An Amazon reviewer wrote: "You almost can feel the chain of emotions the solders go through: confusion, anger, pity, and sadness. This must also be in some small part what the current American solders see in Afghanistan.... This is a well-written, very unique look at the topic and is well worth the price. You will 'feel' this book for a long time after you have finished it."
A reviewer in the Chicago Sun-Times called it ""A fine book, a signal contribution to the literature of the Holocaust."



Passionate Liberator: Theodore Dwight Weld and the Dilemma of Reform
An account of the life of Theodore Dwight Weld (1803-1895), one of the most important American abolitionists, that focuses on the epic narrative of his nearly century-long life while lending psychological and as religious insight to the course of his career.It also explores the drama of Weld's courtship and marriage to the early American advocate of woman's rights, Angelina Grimké.

A reviewer in the American Historical Review called it "a sensitive and persuasive depiction of [Weld's] personality and of the anxieties and spiritual crises that beset his...long life."--American Historical Review







Selected Works

Religion, History, American Studies
Edition of James's classic text that preserves its major ideas and most compelling examples in a length and form accessible to a wider student and lay reading audience.
History
Annotated documents demonstrating the variety of American understandings of Holocaust as it happened.
"The freshest, most elegantly phrased and profoundest reinterpretation of the American reform tradition in the last fifty years...." Bertram Wyatt-Brown
"A riveting study of soldiers who liberated the major concentration camps in Germany." American Historical Review
History Biography
An account of the life of Theodore Dwight Weld (1803-1895), one of the most important of American abolitionists.

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