Immortal by Mistake

Anna Della Subin on the modern mortals who stumbled into the pantheon

Metropolitan Books
Metropolitan Books

The birth of religion is commonly held to lie far back in human history, with the occasional exception of an angel Moroni or the borderline godhood of a cult leader. But in Accidental Gods, Anna Della Subin documents how a surprising number of 20th-century men (it’s almost always men) found themselves labeled divine, sometimes without their knowledge and nearly always without their consent. Some, like General Douglas MacArthur, were even crowned four different ways, on three separate continents. Subin joins the podcast to explore the urges that lead us to declare a mortal man a god, and what this desire tells us about modernity.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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