The image of a rough frontier – where working men were tempted away from church on Sundays by more profane concerns – was perpetuated by postwar religious leaders troubled by the decline in church involvement. Tina Block debunks the myth of a godless frontier, revealing a Pacific Northwest that rejected organized religion – but not necessarily God. Not just working men but also women, families, and middle-class communities helped to shape the region’s secular identity. Drawing on oral histories, census data, newspapers, and archival sources, Block launches this exploration of Northwest secularity and the independent spirit of those who chose to live irreligiously.
Tina Block is an associate professor of history at Thompson Rivers University. Her research interests include religion, irreligion, gender, and family in the postwar era. Her work has been published in the Journal of Women’s History and BC Studies.
I am especially impressed by the ways in which Block uses the oral histories she has gathered to challenge the theoretical frameworks often imposed on lived reality. Secularity, she argues throughout the book, is a much more complicated and shifting phenomenon than many assume ... people interested in Pacific Northwest life are indebted to Tina Block for an admirable scholarly endeavor. It deserves wide circulation and consideration.
An excellent book will lead you through doors of thought and will open new pathways once the reading is done. Block does not disappoint.
...a thoughtful and thought-provoking work that offers a relatively uncommon analysis of secularism in postwar B.C.