The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

Frances FitzGerald

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

  • Title: The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
  • Author: Frances FitzGerald
  • ISBN: 9781439131336
  • Page: 312
  • Format: Hardcover

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 timely, well researched, well written, or necessary The American ScholarThis groundbreaking book from Pulitzer Prize winning his 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 timely, well researched, well written, or necessary The American ScholarThis 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.

Recent Comments "The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America"

This book is an extraordinary history and analysis of the Evangelist movement since the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries up to the Christian Right of today’s American political landscape.In 2017, I read Joel Green's Devil's Bargain to understand how Bannon and Breitbart used propaganda to swing the 2016 election to Drumpf. I wanted to read this book to see how and why Drumpf got the evangelical vote (and how it has infected the GOP like a cancer). Frances Fitzgerald teaches us a [...]

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 obnoxious and perplexing in alternation: American Evangelicalism. This movement, or philosophy, is here defined by: "An evangelist is one who disseminates the gospels by zealous preaching Evangelicalism is the religion."I don't dislike evangelicals as a whole, because they are people, and I don't dislike [...]

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 accurate description of us, the good and the bad. A couple criticisms. First, the latter half of the book focuses almost exclusively on evangelical engagement with politics. This is certainly a part of the story--and the most controversial and interesting, even amongst ourselves. But she mostly missed [...]

It was a pleasure to read and discuss this book with three reformed Evangelicals, a current Evangelical, and myself who probably identifies as a pseudo -Christian ? Buddhist. Without a doubt this is the best book I have read in 2017, because it answered so many questions I had about what defines Evangelicalism, where did it come from, and how has Evangelicalism shaped American politics. All the main figures from the 18th to the 21st century are covered. And each movement and how it influenced po [...]

There are some authors for whom I will move their new works to the top of my queue because I know it will be worth it. Margaret Atwood comes to mind. Frances FitzGerald wrote a wonderful book in 1972 on the Vietnam War - Fire in the Lake. When I heard that she had written a book on US Evangelicals, I was intrigued and after some due diligence decided to jump in.The Evangelicals is a high quality of Evangelical and related enthusiastic religious movements in US history. It reads like a fine histo [...]

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 conservatism and fundamentalism strains of Christianity that have been an abiding political force in our recent history. Painful because many of the fears and anxieties expressed by the white Protestants that FitzGerald focuses on were made manifest in the 2016 presidential election; heartening because [...]

This was so well done. It's a thoughtful, precise, and careful history of the evangelical movement. I was trying to decipher the author's own views the entire time and could never get a good handle on it--a mark of an excellent history. As to the content, it's just so fascinating to follow the arc of the evangelical right and wonder about what's coming next. I hope there is more of a move toward causes (like poverty and justice) and not just a myopic fixation on abortion and gay marriage. I've n [...]

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 subject that could easily be a textbook instead.Back in the 70's, I recall author and evangelist Francis Schaeffer being popular in Christian circles at colleges. (I was surprised the author did not talk about his popular early works such as "Escape from Reason"). What I hadn't realized until recent years [...]

A history of the Evangelical movement perhaps better subtitled, "The Story of Why Evangelicals Vote the Way They Do," aka the only reason secularists tend to care about Evangelical Christianity.The author is well researched and does about as well as a person can in attempting to maintain a secular disinterest but communicate about the subject. She spends very little time in the early period of the movement, focusing mostly on the divides manifest in the great awakenings leading to the fundamenta [...]

American Evangelicals. The Great Awakening, tent revivals, Holy Rollers, slave preachers, millennialists, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals. Dwight Moody, Oral Roberts, Father Divine, Aimee Semple McPherson, Bob Jones, Billy Graham, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Billy Sunday, Peter Marshall, Sweet Daddy Grace. Heck, even George Whitefield was a thought-provoking guy. What a lively book this should be.Well, of course I got my evangelicals confused with my evangelists to start with, but still, there sh [...]

It took me three weeks exactly to read this book, and it was enlightening. Overall, FitzGerald made this very, very complicated historical walk through US history very readable and understandable. (I even read the footnotes!) Even though I grew up in Canada, the church culture I was raised in has a lot of cross-over between different themes and historical events FitzGerald talks about in this book, including the development of the theologies that led to the creation of the Moral Majority, then t [...]

(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: tobereadnow/2017 )If you ask your average American what an Evangelical is, they will probably identify them as a Christian, but will probably also mention negatives terms such as bigot and homophobe. This is a sad fact that has its roots in the politics of the Christian Right during the 2000s, but it ignores the extraordinary [...]

I have yet to read a Simon and Schuster book with as many grammatical errors as there are in Evangelicals. As other reviewers pointed out, it seems that the book's release was rushed after Trump's 2016 victory. At over 600 pages, this book could have easily been cut down by half. Although Alec Ryrie's latest book Protestants focuses more on the global history of Protestantism, the chapters on the US include the same information as provided in Evangelicals, and are far more concise and accessible [...]

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 and culturally responsive movement to evangelicalism as political reactionary and morally compromised movement. The second half history is largely about the machinations of the Republican Party from 1970's onward, which for a book written about "The Evangelicals," tells you what you ought to know a [...]

Very thorough, detailed look at the history of the American evangelical church's involvement in political action. Written from a fairly secular perspective, though not heavily ideologically biased.As more or less of an evangelical myself, I found the story of these Christians' involvement in politics a bit discouraging. Rather than the church focusing on fulfilling the mission given by Jesus to preach the gospel, make disciples, and baptize (which will gradually create the kind of citizens who m [...]


Fascinating synthesis of the history of the evangelical movement in the us. I think the author considers the movement to be dead now politically and demographically. The evidence definitely could suggest that, but history has shown that this "group" is rather amorphous and changes shape as needed to survive. The political activism of Falwell and Dobson ironically dealt a death blow to the movement's younger generation. Whereas young families appreciated Dobson's family advice via books and radio [...]

A well researched book, tracking the history of the group of denominations tending to be grouped under the term Evangelicals. The narrative is of a stop-start transformation of some elements of the various movements to incorporate political activism and the results thereof. A great number of well chosen personal and published quotations as well as historical observational data is used to build on this.

A well researched, readable, thorough and fair history of the evangelical movement in the U.S. along with all of its nuances.

One of the best books on American Christianity I've ever read that shows the grip the religion has had on the country from its foundation to the modern day. For better or worse, Christianity has long entwined itself into the fabric of America. The author was able to make early 1800s fundamentalism actually engaging, and it was funny to hear the 200-year-old claims of American moral decay, End Times chatter, and general complaining about the youth in much the same terms as today's pastors and pun [...]

Just as it is impossible to begin to understand the complicated rivalries of the Middle East without an appreciation for the crucial role that various religious faiths have long played there, so is it also difficult to comprehend American politics without an awareness of religion’s central role in the story of the United States.Unlike in Europe, where Protestants and Catholics competed for the loyalties of its people since the outbreak of the Reformation, Protestantism early assumed a dominant [...]

This is a really good book about American evangelicalism that focuses heavily (maybe a little too heavily) on recent decades. The book goes over religious culture very well, but at times could use more about how non-religious culture shapes the movement. For example, we learn that many in the Christian right was protecting tax exemptions for segregated religious schools in 1978, and that a huge majority voted for Trump despite the lack of support by many traditional religious leaders of the move [...]

The far-left American Catholic, Gary Wills, recently wrote, “Evangelical religion is revival religion, that of emotional contagion. It can best be characterized, for taxonomic purposes, by three things: crowds, drama, and cycles.” For Wills, evangelicalism is Methodist paroxysms and Billy Graham crusades. He’s wrong, and to misunderstand evangelicals this way leads to situations such as the one many other Christians found themselves in, on election night last November, watching Donald Trum [...]

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Hardcover) by Frances FitzGerald theatlantic/magazine/nybooks/articles/2017/

Important, comprehensive review of this history, fair minded, and immensely depressing. Required reading even for experts in this area of American religious history.

"Bryanhad never believed that man was descended from the apes, and he had always considered evolution unscientific 'theory'--meaning to him 'a guess,' as opposed to a Baconian truth drawn from the classification of facts. But he had never objected to those who thought otherwise until World War I. To Bryan, as to the other Social Gospelers, the war came as a shocking disconfirmation of the belief in the continuing progress of Christian civilization. Seeking an explanation, he found it in books th [...]

Fitzgerald has created a truly fascinating history of Evangelicalism in American culture. It's well worth the read. As an evangelical myself, I was interested to see how a secular author would treat the subject matter. I am pleased to say that this is a thorough, engaging, and fair representation of an extremely broad and nuanced topic. Overall, I thought Fitzgerald did an excellent job of remaining neutral to her subject, although her personal views did peek through on occasion, especially in t [...]

After election day, there was much discussion about how 80% of Evangelicals could have voted for Trump. My reaction was, "Of course they did."My gut instinct was based on my childhood experience in church and with the Christian Right. I was not raised religious, but I ended up attending a fairly moderate "mainline" church. My church was not very political and was actually charitable, accepting, and intellectual. I look back on it fondly. However, I knew a lot of families who kept copies of "The [...]

Understanding That Old Time ReligionReaders who are not evangelical or fundamentalist Christians, who are not religious at all, or who merely pay lip service to the idea, will learn a lot from Frances Fitzgerald’s new, and at times numbingly detailed, history of these two groups, as well as their many splinters. Perhaps the most intriguing and, when considered carefully in the light of reality, is the thorough infusion of religious mysticism into the world, as if God and the eternal were palpa [...]

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 religious values. This book helps explain why a religious tradition with its roots in individual transformation and social reform should blossom, over the course of 200 years, into a political movement with a reputation for a total lack of social concern.I was raised in the evangelical tradition, a [...]

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    Published :2019-02-18T00:32:02+00:00