You might be looking at your circumstances and circumstances, feeling your grief, your disappointment, your disappointment, wondering what happened. Perhaps, like the prophet Elijah, you might be feeling like running, or you may be longing for the time when you were not alive. Conscience has appeared in individuals and groups throughout history as an exhilarating constraint, even if free action is too often lethal. To say that the birth of freedom of conscience was, and is, rocky, is a radical understatement. The greatest freedom of conscience will be the liberation it has gained from our own cynicism, conventionality, and tunnel vision. We see that the freedom of consciousness is easy to manipulate through the use of subrational means, suggestions, and repetition. American political thought, which seems to have been so remarkably sophisticated at the time it was first expressed, actually has a very long history. It is commonplace to look to John Locke and Edmund Burke as sources for American political thought. Oliver Cromwells importance in American history, therefore, in modern Western history, must not be in question. Cromwell was a dissenter, a puritan, although without any part in either Church, and his rule appears to have been, in many ways, the continuation of reforms begun under Edward VI. Some specialized works did not attract Oliver Cromwell to the attention that would make him accepted as a factor in New Englands cultural history, much less in the wider world. Their varied stories do share a common thread, namely the metal and punk scenes providing space for them to direct their rage and frustration. Black womens finding of empowerment within metal and hardcore, as well as expression of their identity as active participants within metal and punk scenes, constitutes a dominant narrative. Part autobiography, part sociocultural history, the Toronto narrative is fleshed out through interviews with scholars, as well as Black women musicians and fans, who relate positive and negative experiences of being involved with the metal and punk scenes. Torontos musings about gendered genres like the blues, as well as cultures bound together by themes of struggle and resistance, illuminate an often-incomplete history of metal and punk. The extent of opposition that Dawes encountered just following his love for metal is troubling. In doing so, Marilynne Robinson reveals the systematic biases we bring to our stories, and how these biases blind us to helpful, engaging discoveries. To say Marilynne Robinson successfully tackles these head-on is no exaggeration. She is a devoted follower of Christ, and is hurt at the culture that she sees today. Characters, Marilynne Robinson tells us, have palettes, or a music, which can be simultaneously constricting and freeing. She believes we are called, at the least, to civility with each other, and, really, to love each other, to the end. Americans, Marilynne Robinson observed of Obama, have the tendency to believe the worst things that they can say are true things. Marilynne Robinson was similarly distressed by the fact that so many people claiming to follow Christ would protect their inherent rights at the expense of those of the poor, orphans, sojourners, minorities... And by doing so, would defy Christs calls to extend grace and love to the least of these, to love ones neighbor as oneself. Marilynne Robinson returns to the individual supremacy which characterised early Protestantism, not as vindication for the self-seeking economic competition which she regards as a corrosive force in Western public life, but as a precise individual duty to seek the well-being of others. The music of her characters is ordered by her lifelong commitment to the traditions of Protestantism, theological and political, that created American Puritanism. Marilynne Robinsons reverence for Barack Obama, who, like her, is associated with the Congregationalist United Church of Christ, and shares many of her theological views, makes for a laurelous subtext to her new essay collection. Among the more poignant essays in the volume is an argument, or possibly sermon, about the nature of hope, which is considered as one of threetheological virtues. The two equivocal questions are raised, not because God needs answers, but in order to help the prophet Elijah to see where his attention was, then offer a shift of perspective. Elijah saw the same old King and Queen, heard a death sentence on his life, felt the sorrow of being left on his own, felt the absence of real spiritual engagement being demonstrated by the nation, and yet God had something else for him to focus on. A Black Womans Life and Liberation Among Heavy Metal is a vital, brave debut by a journalist from Toronto, Canada. Baroness Floella Benjamin describes coming to London as a child, part of the Windrush Generation, and the anguish caused by racism she faces daily. In several essays, notably "The American Scholar Now," Marilynne Robinson reflects on the value of broad, humanist, liberal education, charting the origins of higher education in the United States as an effort to ensure widespread access to a classical foundation for education that had formerly been privileged for elites. Marilynne Robinson is one of the most thoughtful writers of our time, able to find and appreciate beauty in humanity, in spite of the millions of ways in which we heap abuses and harms on one another. Freedom and individual conscience sovereignty are ideas that, in early American culture, as well as precursor movements in Britain and Europe, emerged together, informed one another in essential ways.