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William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy…
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William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience

by Warren Goldstein

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Excellent biography which pulls no punches. Bill Coffin had a positive influence on a lot of people (including me), but he was not without his flaws. While the world seems a different place in so many ways than in Coffin's heyday (60s and 70s)--who, in an age of social media, cares about preachers anymore?--there are broader issues worth examining here, from the public to the personal. Public: is Coffin's message of social justice any less relevant now when the economic chasm between rich and poor has only yawned wider? Personal: can anyone become a great leader without great cost to his personal relationships with others? ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
Though the assertion in the preface that Coffin “remains the last of a once flourishing breed in American public life: the liberal Protestant minister preaching to the nation’s faith and conscience” is unnecessary hyperbole (some of that breed who, like Coffin, are alive and well appear later in the book), that Coffin is one of the most influential religious figures of the twentieth century is beyond dispute. This insightful and engaging biography paints him as the successor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and as the liberal Protestant counterpart to Billy Graham. Both comparisons offer insight into political and religious fissures of great significance in twenty-first century America. Goldstein’s account of Coffin’s life is also a compelling biography of American liberalism in the twentieth century, right down to its anti-Communist, conservative, patriarchal, and privileged roots. Goldstein wisely gives Rabbi Arnold Wolf and Coffin himself the last words. According to Wolf, Coffin is, politically, “not particularly radical, courageous in a personal way, but not particularly vanguard or unusual”; but he is a “real” and “authentic” preacher, “giving classical Christian sermons based on the Bible.” Authenticity permeates Coffin’s life (even the more troubled aspects of it), which he describes in the end as an “instrument” to be played by God--a classically Christian (and thouroughly Niebuhrian) vision.
  stevenschroeder | Jul 30, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300102216, Hardcover)

A magnet for controversy, the media, and followers, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin was the premiere voice of northern religious liberalism for more than a quarter-century, and a worthy heir to the Rev. Martin Luther King. From his pulpits at Yale University and, later, New York City's Riverside Church, Coffin focused national attention on civil rights, the anti-Vietnam War movement, disarmament, and gay rights. This revealing biography - based on unparalleled access to family papers and candid interviews with Coffin, his colleagues, family, friends, lovers, and wives - tells for the first time the remarkable story of Coffin's life. An army and CIA veteran before assuming the post of Yale University chaplain at the youthful age of 33, Coffin gained notoriety as a leader of a dangerous civil rights Freedom Ride in 1961, as a defendant in the "Boston Five" trial of draft resisters in 1969, and as the preeminent voice of liberal religious dissent into the 1980s. This book encompasses Coffin's turbulent private life as well as his flamboyant, joyful public career, while dramatically illuminating the larger social movements that consumed his days and defined his times.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A magnet for controversy, the media, and followers, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin was the premiere voice of northern religious liberalism for more than a quarter-century, and a worthy heir to the Rev. Martin Luther King. From his pulpits at Yale University and, later, New York City's Riverside Church, Coffin focused national attention on civil rights, the anti-Vietnam War movement, disarmament, and gay rights. This revealing biography - based on unparalleled access to family papers and candid interviews with Coffin, his colleagues, family, friends, lovers, and wives - tells for the first time the remarkable story of Coffin's life. An army and CIA veteran before assuming the post of Yale University chaplain at the youthful age of 33, Coffin gained notoriety as a leader of a dangerous civil rights Freedom Ride in 1961, as a defendant in the "Boston Five" trial of draft resisters in 1969, and as the preeminent voice of liberal religious dissent into the 1980s. This book encompasses Coffin's turbulent private life as well as his flamboyant, joyful public career, while dramatically illuminating the larger social movements that consumed his days and defined his times.… (more)

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300102216, 0300111541

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