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Chosen Nation
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About the Author

Benjamin W. Goossen is a scholar of global religious history at Harvard University.

Reviews

"A breakthrough book that addresses a vital topic of interest in great detail. . . . It has the potential to rekindle old conversations about the crises and fatigues of identity in religious communities, given that history is a major source of insight and direction for those communities, and for this reason--in addition to its historical research--it is an impressive and illuminating work."---Maxwell Kennel, Reading Religion
"Central to Goossen's thesis is the inherent instability, or, more positively, pliability of identity and how identity gets shaped by the sociopolitical forces of a given time and place. . . . Inasmuch as Mennonites have offered a glass of water in Christ's name, Mennonites have also played a part in the worst of human judgments. The integrity of a future Mennonite witness may depend on the church's ability to account for both."---David Driedger, Anabaptist Witness
"Goossen's book is an impressively researched and engaging study. . . . It skilfully combines transnational, social and cultural approaches to produce a work which unites the revival of historiographical interest in the place of religion in the modern world with the analytical possibilities opened up by global history."---Thomas Brodie, English Historical Review
"A notable, original contribution to the history of religion in modern Germany, Chosen Nation also succeeds brilliantly as an extended reflection on the very nature of personal identity in the context of complex cultural, social and political environments. On both accounts it merits a wide readership."---Anthony J. Steinhoff, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"If you associate Mennonites not only with belief in adult baptism but also with pacifism, with refusing to take oaths, and with proper distance from politics, then this richly documented book shatters all of your illusions."---Hartmut Lehmann, American Historical Review
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Chosen Nation
. . . deftly unpacks the complex intersections between religion and nation but recognises the fluidity of identity . . . Goossen reminds readers that the ideologies of collectives are constantly in flux and subject to competing interpretations."---Katherine Williams, Nations and Nationalism
"Goossen's strong narrative produces an engaging read. He asks relevant and sophisticated questions that challenge depictions of Mennonite global connections as having been forged under benign circumstances. . . . This book is a significant scholarly contribution that will inspire debates for many years to come."---Aileen Friesen, Mennonite Life
"Goossen is an engaging guide through difficult material. His voice joins the calls by other historians . . . to talk about racism in their churches in open and honest ways. One hopes that churches can continue the same difficult scholarship and reflection."---Troy Osborne, Mennonite World Review
"Where the mastery of this study lies . . . is in Goossen's detailed retelling of how a community-or at least one part of it-once identified by its pacifism became the poster child for Nazi racial ideology, a development that was not without the active participation of German Mennonites themselves in both the creation of this vision and the crimes it elicited."---Rebecca Bennette, German History
"[C]arrying the narrative forward in a manner that is rich in detail but simultaneously a compelling story. . . . Chosen Nation is a wonderful resource in the study of how a religious community can struggle to maintain its principles in the face of political and other social pressures."---George Adams, Nova Religio
"Shortlisted for the 2018 European Studies Book Award, Council for European Studies"
"Goossen has provided valuable insight into how select Mennonite progressive 'leaders' in the German lands responded to German unification, and how they worked to transform their confession up to and after World War I."---Leonard G. Friesen, Slavic Review
"Goossen ruptures the familiar historical narrative of Mennonite martyrdom and victimhood, and challenges Mennonites to examine their pasts anew. . . . Goossen's erudite analysis of Mennonites' complicity in Hitler's racism and genocide will, I hope, set new directions in research."---Martina Cucchiara, Conrad Grebel Review
"Rejecting traditional definitions of religion and nationality, Goossen depicts Mennonites as a socially constructed and historically situated collectivity. . . . The result is a thought-provoking examination of Mennonite identity centred on Mennonites' fluid relationship with Germany from the time of nineteenth-century nationalism and political unification to the present."---Kyle Jantzen, Contemporary Church History Quarterly

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