Document Type

Book Review


History (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Environmentalism, Economics, United States of America, Secular religion


This is a book review of Robert H. Nelson's The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America. Nelson argues that environmentalism and economics represent competing religious worldviews. Within this framework, debates over issues like global warming and acid rain become veiled theological disputes between these two “secular religions.” Nelson paints with a broad, aggressive brush. This is both the strength and weakness of his book, as he conjures a world of epic battles between the economic faithful, who worship material progress, and the environmentally pious, who bemoan the corruption visited by humans upon the natural world. In each case, Nelson finds deeper historical and theological roots for current debates.

Rights Information

© 2011 The Society for the History of Technology