The American Experience, 1830–1900
Jay P. Dolan's Catholic Revivalism: The American Experience, 1830–1900 details the history of the Catholic Church in America by showing that revivalism, traditionally viewed as a Protestant phenomenon, was also a central feature of Catholic life and activity in the 19th century. To cope with the widespread social disorganization caused by large numbers of Catholic immigrants, the Church sponsored parish missions during which famous preachers gave a series of emotional sermons aimed at calling sinners back to their God and their Church. Dolan documents the extent of Catholic revivalism, its European roots, and its success in reaching the working class.
“[T]his is a remarkable study, casting . . . light on the shape of Catholicism in 19th century America, illuminating from an unexpected angle discussions of the ‘Americanization’ of Catholicism, and filling in the story of revivalism.” —Christian Century
“This is a groundbreaking book that throws new light on the history of the Catholic Church. Drawing on a wide variety of published and unpublished sources, Dolan has succeeded in showing that revivalism, traditionally viewed as a Protestant phenomenon, was also a central feature of Catholic life and activity in the nineteenth century.” —Heythrop Journal
"Catholic historians in the past usually overlooked stories like this one. . . . Dr. Dolan belongs to a generation . . . who concentrate on the daily life of Catholic people. So he sets out in pursuit of the Catholic equivalents of circuit-riders, down their sawdust trails. . . . Dolan's chapter on a revival in a West Side New York parish in 1895 . . . imparts the feel of urban Catholicism as few books have." —The New York Times Book Review