This is an invaluable recorce for coming to terms with Reinhold Niebuhr as preacher, theologian, and social critic. The material in it has appeared in various places, and Robert McAfee Brown's organization of it is simply superb. It may in fact tempt some people to think that over the long haul Niebuhr was more consistent, in his essential themes, than they have thought likely.

In his introduction Brown says all that is necessary to rebut the effort by neoconservatives to claim Niebuht as a patron saint, if not a godfather.

"They have listened to Niebuhr with only one ear. Having summoned him by selective quotation as a spokesman for their own brand of anticommunism, they have not heard his full message: that the patent evils of Stalinism, which must be denounced, are latently (and sometimes not so latently) present in other systems of government, including our own, and must be denounced there as well. Americans today would not so wildly affirm the public perception of Russia as the empire of evil, with its implicit assumption that we are the empire of good, if they had listened to Niebuhr's reminders of our own national sins and shortcomings."

No doubt this book will, as Brown hopes, indeed make "some of Niebuhr's enduring insights available to a new generation of thinkers."