Haynes presents a beautifully integrated view of 19th century religious thought. She uses the idea of 'voice' as a central theme to show how people of different race and gender made personal sense of dominant religious views.
I wish I had had this book in my college course on the History of Protestantism because its approach offers insights into psychological reaction to social pressures. The personal dimension was lacking in the course, which focused on the sociology of religion. Additionally, Haynes' use of the concept of 'voice' to inspect gender and race in religious context helped me gain a different perspective on major events in the evolution of Protestantism: the division between of Calvinism and Arminianism during the Reformation emerging from the still earlier schism between Protestants and Catholics. John Calvin and Johannes Arminius made spiritual journeys reacting to the dominant Catholicism of their century, then found their personal and public voices in a manner which showed a remarkable symmetry to the process that Haynes describes.
From the opening chapter on options a native American found in Protestantism to the concluding chapter, this book makes sense of diverse material. I recommend it to anyone's library on religion, literature and American history. Readers interested in literature will appreciate the author's discussion of approaches to gender and race by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin) and her sister, Catherine. Its technical sophistication and good writing make a widened understanding of history accessible.