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Synopsis

Norman Lewis’s stunning examination of the disturbing cultural and environmental devastation wrought in the name of religious salvation

Acclaimed travel essayist Norman Lewis spent his life traversing the globe and offering thoughtful commentary on the cultures he visited. In The Missionaries, he turns his critical lens on those missionaries who embed themselves in indigenous cultures to convert the locals to Christianity. What begins with the well-meaning goal of improving the lives of native people, though, often has the opposite effect.

Focusing mainly on tribes in South America, but also in Indochina and the Pacific Islands, Lewis demonstrates how various missionary organizations betray their originating principals and—whether knowingly or not—contribute to the destruction of entire cultures on a scale equivalent to that of genocide.

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