The Evangelicals

The Evangelicals

The Struggle to Shape America

Book - 2017
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Baker & Taylor
A history of the Evangelical movement in America traces the revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that rendered evangelism a dominant religious force, describing the rise and fall of denominations and how they influenced American agendas.

& Taylor

A dramatic history of the Evangelical movement in America traces the revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries that rendered evangelism a dominant religious force, describing the rise and fall of denominations and how they influenced American agendas ranging from civil rights and gender equality to climate change and immigration reform.

Simon and Schuster
* National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
* National Book Award Finalist
* Time magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year
* New York Times Notable Book
* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

“A page turner…We have long needed a fair-minded overview of this vitally important religious sensibility, and FitzGerald has now provided it.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Massively learned and electrifying…magisterial.” —The Christian Science Monitor

This groundbreaking book from Pulitzer Prize­–winning historian Frances FitzGerald is the first to tell the powerful, dramatic story of the Evangelical movement in America—from the Puritan era to the 2016 presidential election.

The evangelical movement began in the revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, known in America as the Great Awakenings. A populist rebellion against the established churches, it became the dominant religious force in the country.

During the nineteenth century white evangelicals split apart dramatically, first North versus South, and then at the end of the century, modernist versus fundamentalist. After World War II, Billy Graham, the revivalist preacher, attracted enormous crowds and tried to gather all Protestants under his big tent, but the civil rights movement and the social revolution of the sixties drove them apart again. By the 1980s Jerry Falwell and other southern televangelists, such as Pat Robertson, had formed the Christian right. Protesting abortion and gay rights, they led the South into the Republican Party, and for thirty-five years they were the sole voice of evangelicals to be heard nationally. Eventually a younger generation of leaders protested the Christian right’s close ties with the Republican Party and proposed a broader agenda of issues, such as climate change, gender equality, and immigration reform.

Evangelicals have in many ways defined the nation. They have shaped our culture and our politics. Frances FitGerald’s narrative of this distinctively American movement is a major work of history, piecing together the centuries-long story for the first time. Evangelicals now constitute twenty-five percent of the American population, but they are no longer monolithic in their politics. They range from Tea Party supporters to social reformers. Still, with the decline of religious faith generally, FitzGerald suggests that evangelical churches must embrace ethnic minorities if they are to survive.

Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2017
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781439131336
Characteristics: ix, 740 pages ; 24 cm


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Mar 03, 2018

This is a sweeping study of the evangelical movement from early in American history to the present day. Well written and researched. My only complaint was about the editing. A publisher of this size should have done a better job of proofreading. There are a lot of small words such as "the," "an," and "to" left out. It was somewhat distracting.

Oct 11, 2017

I have long thought that Frances Fitzgerald is one of our finest social reporters (not on the cake at the reception but on the overall social structures). The book is really good on the theology and personalities of leaders, but less good on the attractions of fundamentalism to real people.

Jul 24, 2017

Pulitzer Prize winning author Frances Fitzgerald's huge, sweeping, and deeply engaging book "The Evangelicals" is an important work for both the religious and non-religious reader. As those who follow politics know, white evangelical voters went overwhelmingly for Trump, whose values, such as they are, seem the very antithesis of Christ's message of love, compassion, humility, and forgiveness. Fitzgerald takes us back to the beginning of America and tries to answer the vexed question "Is America a Christian nation?" We begin with one of the few important American theologians/thinkers, Jonathan Edwards, and the Great Awakening and Fizgerald follows the development of American evangelicals and, specifically, how they interacted with the larger culture and, most interestingly, with politics. For me, a lapsed evangelical, the most provocative sections were about the emergence of the religious right and the merging of mainstream evangelicals with the Republican party, one of the many things that pushed me away from religion. It's a comprehensive and detailed history, swirling with colorful, polarizing figures like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and Rick Warren. I think this will the standard work on the subject for years to come.

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