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The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
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The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America


“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

“FitzGerald’s brilliant book could not have been more timely, more well-researched, more well-written, or more necessary.” —The American Scholar

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 FitzGerald’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.

Title:The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:752 pages
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    The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America Reviews

  • Austin
    May 01, 2017

    Finally I made myself take on a book that I didn't expect to enjoy (I am challenging myself to read 5, so had to get into it). And I took it on by the horns, in the topic I find perhaps the most obnox...

  • Anna
    Dec 25, 2016

    Review forthcoming in Publishers Weekly. This title was both painful and heartening to read in this historical moment as the bulk of its 700+ pages focus on the twentieth century and evangelical conse...

  • Michael Perkins
    Apr 08, 2017

    I was familiar with the bulk of what is covered in this new book. But I give it props for being a thoroughly researched, balanced treatment of the subject. The writing is also quite fluid for a subjec...

  • Christopher
    May 29, 2017

    (Reviewer's Note: I just wrote a more in depth review of this book on my weekly book blog. If you like this review and would like to read more, click on the following link: https://tobereadnow.blogspo...

  • Jared Wilson
    Jun 21, 2017

    The first half is a really great book, the second half bogs down. This is not so much due to Fitzgerald's writing, however, as it is to the historical narrative shift of evangelicalism as revivalistic...

  • Steve Matlak
    May 28, 2017

    Evangelical reviewer here. A riveting overview of the major ideas and figures in Evangelical history from 1740 to present. The author is not an evangelical, but gives a comprehensive and factually acc...

  • Kate
    Jun 10, 2017


  • Megan
    Jun 14, 2017

    Apparently Fitzgerald has been working on this book for years, but it happened to be released only months after 81% of evangelicals supported as president a man who shares neither their traditions nor...

  • G.F. Erichsen
    Jun 13, 2017

    You'll find everything you want to know about the religious right in America and then some in this incredibly thorough study of evangelicalism in politics. The book begins with the First Great Awakeni...

  • Jeff Francis
    Jun 11, 2017

    One of the messages of Frances Fitzgerald’s excellent “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America” seems to be: ignore Evangelicalism’s influence on our society at your peril. Because tha...