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Roger Williams Biographer John M. Barry to Speak at RWU on Nov. 1

Campus, local communities invited to free event featuring author of ‘Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul’

BRISTOL, R.I. – Power, politics and religion clash dramatically in the riveting and untold stories depicted in the nonfiction prose of John M. Barry, a bestselling author whose acclaimed books – including his latest, “Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State and the Birth of Liberty,” published in January of this year – have won more than 20 awards.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, members of the public are invited to spend an evening with Barry as part of the 2012 Mary Tefft White Cultural Center Lecture Series at Roger Williams University.

The conversation will focus on Barry’s most recent book, which explores the separation of church and state through the story of Roger Williams, Rhode Island’s founder and the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty. The author will offer his take on Roger Williams and how his ideas shaped the nature of religion, political power and individual rights in America.

Barry is a prize-winning author and historian who captivates readers on topics ranging from the influenza pandemic of 1918 to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. In addition to his full-length work, the author’s commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Fortune, Time and elsewhere; and he has been a guest on “Meet the Press,” on shows on every broadcast network in the U.S., as well as on such foreign media as the BBC and Al Jazeera.

The Society of American Historians named Barry’s “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America” as 1998’s best book on American history. The National Academy of Sciences named “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” the best 2005 book on science and medicine. To date, Barry remains the only non-scientist ever to give the National Academy’s annual Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture. He has even advised the Bush and Obama presidential administrations on pandemic preparedness and serves on the board overseeing the levee districts in New Orleans.

“Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul” enlightens readers about the man who persevered in his efforts to define the roles of religion and political power in a free society. The Washington Post says the book “keeps up a lively pace with jaunty prose recounting one man’s rocky sojourn among learned, prickly characters and worldly powers.”

The Nov. 1 presentation will take place at 6 p.m. in the Feinstein College of Arts & Sciences Building, Room 157, on the University’s Bristol campus at One Old Ferry Road. The event is free and open to the public; no advance tickets are required. For more information, call (401) 254-3031.

This event is presented by Roger Williams University in collaboration with the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island 1663 Colonial Charter 350th Anniversary Commission, to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Rhode Island Charter.