News Release
May 14, 2010

The New Holy Wars Wins Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize

OAKLAND, Calif., May 14, 2010—The U.S. Review of Books has announced that The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America (January 15, 2010 / Pennsylvania State University Press with the Independent Institute) by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert H. Nelson has been chosen as the 2010 recipient of the Grand Prize in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards program.

The Eric Hoffer Awards were created in 2001 “to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit.” The Grand Prize is the highest award granted among the twenty-two categories of the Eric Hoffer Awards program. This prestigious recognition marks yet another outstanding chapter in the Independent Institute’s history of public policy research and publishing dedicated to boldly advancing peaceful, prosperous, and free societies.

The New Holy Wars has also been selected as the winner of the Silver Medal in the Finance, Investment, and Economics category of the 2010 “IPPY” Awards, sponsored by and The Jenkins Groups, recognizing it as one of the best independently published books of the year.

In his book, Nelson, Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Maryland, argues that the deepest religious conflicts in the American public arena today are crusades fought between two secular religions: economics and environmentalism. Economic religion exerted greater influence over public policy for most of the twentieth century, but in recent decades the clout of environmental religion has grown rapidly. Efforts to reconcile economic religion and environmental religion are doomed to fail, according to Nelson, so long as they uphold fundamentally opposing values.

Meanwhile, Nelson finds that these secular religions are playing an increasingly significant role in shaping the events of the world, but because leading public intellectuals are often uncomfortable with religious subjects, they fail to grasp the driving forces behind many important political decisions of our time. The New Holy Wars makes a vital effort to correct this insufficiency by combating fanaticism and ignorance with a sound, factual analysis of modern America’s key cultural paradigms.