Book clubs played an essential role in the formation of "middlebrow culture." Whereas "highbrow" and "lowbrow" stood at opposite ends of the cultural continuum, "middlebrow" signified neither an elitist nor a debased culture but simply a middle way.
Middlebrow books brought "high thinking and eternal truths down to earth, to be sold alongside other commodities.
At stake was nothing less than to ensure that ordinary, enthusiastic readers would catch the liberal vision and adapt to the modern world to a 'truth' beyond doctrinal particularities.
"The characteristic principles of say a 'Protestant liberalism are: - optimism regarding human nature, emphasis on moral education and ethics, and an overarching faith in human progress - ergo modern liberals are led to pursue human unity beyond creed or sect and to believe in its possibility, which many argue, smacks of idealism.