This is a book that lives up to its blurbs. It really does feel “deft, discerning, and nearly definitive” (Jon Butler, from the book’s back cover).
Mormonism and American Politics brings together ten papers (along with three additional essays) that were originally presented at a February 2012 Columbia University conference on Mormonism and politics. It says something that the conference was convened at the suggestion of Mark C. Taylor, then chair of the religion department at Columbia. Timing surely was part of the broad interest this topic was generating in 2012—the conference took place in the thick of the Mitt Romney–driven “Mormon Moment.” But reading these essays four years later will remind readers that questions about Mormons’ place in America’s religious and political landscape are still worthy of study—and maybe more so—one election cycle later. Those who are drawn to Mormon history, especially recent Mormon history, as well as those who are interested more generally in contests about the changing role of American religion in the public square, should not miss this book.