Book Reviews

Visual Piety by David Morgan
A classic study that adds some sociological research method to the usual historical research methods, applied specifically to learn more about how people appreciate Warner Sallman's Head of Christ. Contains quite some chilling stories about how Christianity can turn into an aggressive tribal ideal.

Material Christianity by Colleen McDannel
Perhaps the most important work on the material culture of Christianity. Making bold claims such as that materiality always had a big part to play in the religious practice McDannell cares to illustrate this with cases ranging from Mormon undergarments to Rapture T-shirts.

Selling God by R. Laurence Moore
Together with McDannell, a cornerstone in theory on Christianity and popular culture in the United States. A magical historical journey with striking stops in the nineteenth century with as a central theme the idea that the separation of church and state is ironically exactly that which ensured religious prosperity in America.

Religion and Popular Culture in America 
Ed. Bruce Forbes & Jeffrey Mahan
Still a very good overview of the latest developments in the field of religion and popular culture in the United States. My main interest was with the way religion cares to make use of popular cultural formats itself. Good contributions by William D. Romanowski and Stewart M. Hoover.

Toying with God by Nikki Bado-Fralick and Rebecca Norris
At times drowning in post-modernist claims and theoretical debate, this book still is a nice introduction to the world of toys and games out there with religious themes. This book is worth it if only for the fact that it will introduce you to Fulla the Muslim Doll and Mormonopoly.

Eyes Wide Open by William D. Romanowski
A man of some considerable size in the field, Romanowski leads a compromising way through the maze of popular culture for his Christian brothers and sisters. A nice inside-look of how Christendom itself cares to find a proper attitude towards the reality of popular culture.

Consuming Religion by Vincent J. Miller
In this book Miller argues that the commodification of religion can ultimately lead to uprooting traditional religious elements, distorting the system of symbols to which they belong. But who is to say these elements belong to any one religious tradition to begin with?