Hymns and hymnbooks as American historical and cultural icons.
This work is a study of the importance of Protestant hymns in defining America and American religion. It explores the underappreciated influence of hymns in shaping many spheres of personal and corporate life as well as the value of hymns for studying religious life. Distinguishing features of this volume are studies of the most popular hymns (“Amazing Grace,” “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”), with attention to the ability of such hymns to reveal, as they are altered and adapted, shifts in American popular religion. The book also focuses attention on the role hymns play in changing attitudes about race, class, gender, economic life, politics, and society.