Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Editor's Comment

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Editor's Comment

Article excerpt

I don't think it's a trade secret that editors have more than one reason to feel relieved when an issue goes off to the printer. In the endless reading and rereading that occurs as an essay moves from manuscript to final form, more than a few pieces lose some of their charm. As we go to press, however, historian Wilfred M. McClay's cover story continues to spark discussion around the office. McClay holds up to the light an idea widely taken for granted and, by and large, endorsed in America: secularism. He comes away with wise counsel for parties on all sides of today's fevered debates about the role of religion in American society.

McClay is no stranger to our pages, or to the Wilson Center, where he was a Fellow during 1997-98. His last essay for the WQ, "Fifty Years of The Lonely Crowd" (Summer 1998), dealt with that surprise bestseller of 1950 and the efforts of its principal author, the eminent sociologist David Riesman (who is the subject of a forthcoming McClay biography), to understand how modern institutions were reshaping the American character. …

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