A crisis of faith confronted many Canadian Protestants in the late nineteenth century. With their religious beliefs challenged by the new biological sciences and historical criticism of the Bible, they turned from personal salvation to the dire social problems of the industrial age. The Regenerators explores the nature of social criticism in this era and its complex ties to the religious thinking of the day, showing how the path blazed by nineteenth-century religious liberals led not to the Kingdom of God on earth, but, ironically, to the secular city.
The winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction when it was first published in 1985, The Regenerators became an instant classic for its fascinating portraits of evolutionists, rationalists, spiritualists, socialists, and free thinkers before the turn of the century. This new edition features an introduction by historian and biographer Donald Wright.
‘This is a richly documented, elegantly written, and often witty book that is both stimulating and informative.’
‘Cook’s range and his mastery of sources, coupled with a fluid style and invigorating insights, make this book a delight to read.’
‘Professor Cook's contribution to Canadian intellectual and social history is not just that he has taken us well along the path of discovery, but also that he has pointed the way for further explorations.’
‘Cook writes with fluent clarity, using telling anecdotes and witty asides to make a difficult subject attractive and comprehensible … The Regenerators is a stimulating book on a major theme. It deserves the honours which it has received …’