"At a time when the New Age movement is starting to make good on the Spiritualists' vision of America as a 'grand clairvoyant nation', Carroll's work raises provocative questions about the tension betwen freedom and authority in the harmonial religions of today." —Church History
" . . . offers the most comprehensive, sane examination of its topic yet available, no mean achievement for a subject long afflicted by religious partisanship and now perhaps in danger of sympathetic attraction." —Journal of American History
“. . . fascinating reading it will be for those with a taste for good scholarly writing and a love of the American past and the manifold varieties of the spiritual quest.” —The Quest
“In addition to being an excellent introduction to mid-19th-century Spiritualism, Carroll’s work also offers scholars a new vantage point from which to view the religious creativity that was so prominent in antebellum America in general.” —Choice
During the decade before the Civil War, a growing number of Americans gathered around tables in dimly lit rooms, joined hands, and sought enlightening contact with spirits. The result was Spiritualism, a distinctly colorful religious ideology centered on spirit communication and spirit activity. Spiritualism in Antebellum America analyzes the attempt by spiritually restless Americans of the 1840s and 1850s to negotiate a satisfying combination of freedom and authority as they sought a sense of harmony with the universe.