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Publisher's Summary

A sparklingly strange odyssey through the kaleidoscope of America's new spirituality: the cults, practices, high priests, and prophets of our supposedly post-religion age.

Fifty-five years have passed since the cover of Time magazine proclaimed the death of God, and while participation in mainstream religion has indeed plummeted, Americans have never been more spiritually busy. 

While rejecting traditional worship in unprecedented numbers, today's Americans are embracing a kaleidoscopic panoply of spiritual traditions, rituals, and subcultures - from astrology and witchcraft to SoulCycle and the alt-right. 

As the internet makes it ever-easier to find new "tribes" and consumer capitalism forever threatens to turn spirituality into a lifestyle brand, remarkably modern American religious culture is undergoing a revival comparable with the Great Awakenings of centuries past. Faith is experiencing not a decline but a renaissance. Disillusioned with organized religion and political establishments alike, more and more Americans are seeking out spiritual paths driven by intuition, not institutions. 

In Strange Rites, religious scholar and commentator Tara Isabella Burton visits with the techno-utopians of Silicon Valley; Satanists and polyamorous communities; witches from Bushwick; wellness junkies; and social-justice activists and devotees of Jordan Peterson, proving Americans are not abandoning religion but remixing it. In search of the deep and the real, they are finding meaning, purpose, ritual, and communities in ever-newer, ever-stranger ways. 

©2020 Tara Isabella Burton (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"With Strange Rites, Tara Isabella Burton establishes herself as her generation's foremost chronicler of American religious life. Her intelligence, her immersive reporting, and her vivid prose style illuminate with particular intensity the radical religious changes transforming post-Christian America. The religious center has not held; Burton is an essential guide to the mere spiritual anarchy now loosed upon the Western world. Strange Rites will doubtless be one of the most important books of the year." (Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option)

"A lesser writer and a colder intellect would have been content simply to mock the video-gaming, Soul-Cycling communicants of our "Remixed" Great Awakening. Yet in Strange Rites, Tara Isabella Burton grasps that strangeness entails ecstatic power as well as oddity, and that even folly in search of transcendent meaning merits empathy, not apathy - the difference between a merely lively read and a profound one." (Giselle Donnelley, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research)

"Rigorously researched and reported with scholarly curiosity and an eye on the zeitgeist, Tara Isabella Burton's Strange Rites takes a hard look at what's replacing traditional religious practice in American culture today and finds that the thirst for community and belonging has not gone away. As the discovers, today's religiously remixed subcultures could indeed be tomorrow's new religions. Her book is an adventure story through the new American religious landscapes." (Kaya Oakes, UC Berkeley, author of The Nones Are Alright)

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  • Jared Pomeroy
  • 28-12-2020

Insightful

Tara Burton identifies and describes in some depth the various divergent trends of the post-modern American religious landscape, synthesizing values and historical progression of thought and ideology to provide a deeper understanding of who we are and what we believe as Americans—and why we may be so sincerely divided as a civilization, owing to our radical individualist ideologies. If you’re interested in cultural study or want a more nuanced understanding of the societal reality in which we live, this book will prove a valuable resource for our contemporary context.

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  • K. Summers-Lewis
  • 19-03-2021

Good God!

Listened to this book in two days in between work Zoom calls and meditation. Felt like a distilling of the archetypes and myths I have been observing on and offline for the past seven years. As a person that is convinced of a God yet was a long time agnostic I was pleased to see that “civic religions” still carry on the meaning, purpose, community and rituals of our deceased family members. If there is a heaven I wonder if it has wifi...

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  • Emma
  • 06-03-2021

Really Interesting!

A well narrated book with an interesting approach. I had never thought of modern trends through a spiritual lens before and it was a fascinating listen! Really helped me understand the diverse belief structures out there today.

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  • Victoria F.
  • 01-08-2020

Just wonderful!

Recommended to anyone interested in Internet era culture and “religion” (if such a thing exists!)

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