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John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age Hardcover – Illustrated, Aug. 6 2018

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

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A seminal work of original and definitive scholarship, John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age is an extraordinary study and an inherently fascinating one.--Willis M. Buhle "Midwest Book Review" (7/1/2018 12:00:00 AM)

Brian Wilson has written the indispensable biography of John E. Fetzer. He illumines Fetzer's extraordinary explorations of mystical and spiritual traditions. His judgements are judicious. Deploying his exhaustive research, his touch is light and sure. This is the definitive biography of this remarkable man. It will remain required reading for anyone seeking to understand the man, his inner life, and his philanthropic legacy.--Michael Lerner "president of Commonweal" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

Brian Wilson's book vividly and astutely traces the life of businessman and philanthropist John E. Fetzer, whose journey combined the distinctly American story of a spiritual seeker with the personal quest for a deeper meaning of freedom. The John Fetzer Wilson describes shines forth as an energetic, great-hearted man utterly open to the wonder and miracle of life. He shows how the spiritual journey of one twentieth-century soul crosses the threshold into the human future.--Rob Lehman "Fetzer Institute board chair" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

Clearly written, well organized with endnotes, bibliography and index, Fetzer is a good example of tightly focused, documented historiography. Students in various disciplines could benefit from its form and structure. Parts of it would fit well in an introduction to American religions course; other aspects are really interesting only to specialists in esotericism or enthusiastic Michiganders.--Benjamin D. Grace "Novo Religio" (11/1/2019 12:00:00 AM)

Fetzer was (rightly) concerned about revealing too much about his interests in public. He was certainly open-minded and willing to not only consider, but also try new ideas. Wilson makes no snide remarks and in spite of some concerns about potential bias I believe he has tried to tell the fascinating story about Fetzer faithfully, thus I do not mind recommending this book.--Nemo C. Mörck "Journal of the Society for Psychical Research" (10/6/2020 12:00:00 AM)

John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age is a thought-provoking, well-researched biography of an exceptionally successful businessman that follows the growth of his spiritual beliefs.--Ray Walsh "Lansing State Journal" (9/15/2018 12:00:00 AM)

John E. Fetzer was a nationally recognized businessman on a private spiritual search. This book annotates and reveals his entire spiritual story, while documenting significant esoteric movements. It's an excellent resource to help understand and integrate our common quest to awaken to love.--Bruce F. Fetzer "president of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

John Fetzer is best remembered as a communications magnate who owned the Detroit Tigers and became one of the wealthiest persons in America. Until now little has been known about his lifelong spiritual journey, from Seventh-day Adventism to spiritualism. In this sympathetic but balanced book Brian C. Wilson brings Midwestern metaphysical religion to life.--Ronald L. Numbers "Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

This is a nuanced religious biography of a pioneer of radio, a major philanthropist, and a well-known Michigan personality who sought a monistic spirituality receptive to subtle conscious energies that he considered to be as real as radio waves, electricity, and radiation. It is also a near-encyclopedic map of the eclectic American esoteric and an erudite exploration of a New Age to which we have not paid nearly enough attention: one emerging from and expressive of esoteric Christian piety, business, patriotism, civic responsibility, and a distinctly metaphysical Midwest. Highly original and genuinely pioneering through and through.--Jeffrey J. Kripal "author of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

This is a well-written and meticulously researched overview of spiritual exploration outside the mainstream in twentieth-century America and a skillful explanation of how various strains of belief came together to form what became known as New Age religion
. John Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age unearths a complex landscape of nontraditional spiritual actors and institutions, constructed behind the more familiar infrastructure of churches, temples, and mosques.--Evelyn Sterne "associate professor of history, University of Rhode Island, and author of Ballots and Bibles: Ethnic Politics and the Catholic Church in Providence" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

This is an important biography. By giving us Fetzer's spiritual biography, Brian Wilson presents something like a condensed history of alternative, metaphysical, spiritualist, and New Age religion in the twentieth century. Fetzer was a remarkable figure, and this book demonstrates just how unusual a figure he really was while at the same time showing how Fetzer's life was the confluence of many major and less well-known religious figures and movements.--Arthur Versluis "professor of religious studies at Michigan State University and author of American Gurus, Magic and Mysticism" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

This surprising spiritual biography grounds Michigan businessman John Fetzer's life and ideas in the New Age movement. Wilson is a master storyteller whose careful attention to detail fills this biography with fascinating connections to the religious groups and movements that populated the twentieth-century Great Lakes region. Beautifully written, this book is a remarkable achievement.--Amy DeRogatis "Michigan State University" (2/27/2018 12:00:00 AM)

Wilson embeds thorough discussions of these new movements within a zippy narrative. The main text clocks in at a brisk 218 pages, and theoretical terms are explained clearly. Teachers who want to assign an undergraduate primer on metaphysics will find this book useful.--Daniel Gorman Jr. "Reading Religion" (9/16/2021 12:00:00 AM)

About the Author

Brian C. Wilson is professor of American religious history in the Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University. He is the author of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living and Yankees in Michigan.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wayne State University Press; Illustrated edition (Aug. 6 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 344 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0814345301
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0814345306
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 703 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 2.54 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

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Brian C. Wilson is Professor of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. A native of Santa Clara, California, he earned a B.S. in Medical Microbiology from Stanford University (1982), and, after three years in the Peace Corps (Honduras, Dominican Republic), went on to earn an M.A. in Spanish from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (1990) and an M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (1996) in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Professor Wilson joined the faculty of the WMU Department of Comparative Religion in 1996 and was its chair from 2001 to 2009. His areas of interest include American religious history with an emphasis on new religious movements and religion in the Midwest. Among other books, he is the author of Yankees in Michigan (Michigan State University Press, 2008) and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living (Indiana University Press, 2014), which was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards finalist; a Silver Medal winner in the Biography category for the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards; a 2015 Historical Society of Michigan State History Awards winner; and a 2015 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection. His latest book, John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age (Wayne State University Press, 2018) is available now. It is the winner of the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Award (Spiritual Category).

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5.0 out of 5 stars A Intersting Biography
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 13, 2018
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Constance Cumbey
3.0 out of 5 stars Why did my 3 star rating and sobering review of this book disappear from this Amazon site?!
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Livia R.
5.0 out of 5 stars A cool reminder that money doesn't buy happiness
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Grady Harp
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘New Age’ – ‘the path of attainment and complete personal fulfillment’
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Phil Bolos
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
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