Amy Kittelstrom Somehow the word “godless” got hitched to the word “liberal.” The story of this coupling has something to do with the Cold War against communism, but behind this unholy union lies a much more interesting history of how some American elites led a very different fight against—well, elitism. Seven liberals, whose lives interconnected across two centuries through shared readings, relationships, and concerns, were so far from godlessness that the pursuit of truth and virtue dominated their lives.
What sparked the idea for writing this book? Why write it now? American Gurus was a long time in the making. I first had the ideas for some of the book when I was working on American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (1993). In particular, I wanted to look at how Platonism influenced American Transcendentalism.