Jeffrey Mahan summarizes Kathryn Lofton's Oprah: The Gospel Of An Icon:

She speaks of growing up in the Black church, but as an adult she leaves Jeremiah Wright’s Afrocentric congregation as part of a spiritual quest that incorporates New Age eclecticism, bodily improvement, and self-care. She consumes and markets luxury goods as expressions of identity and self-worth. She is compassionate and generous without challenging political, economic, and social structures. Hers is a “gospel of change,” but the change is entirely personal. Oprah never speaks the collective “we”; she is eternally focused on “I.” I believe. I consume.

(Photo: Oprah Winfrey speaks onstage during the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour on January 6, 2011 in Pasadena, California. By Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.