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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction
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 18th and 19th 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 19th 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 '60s 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 35 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 25 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.
©2017 Frances FitzGerald (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Massively learned and electrifying...magisterial." ( The Christian Science Monitor)
"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Gary LA on 12-27-17

Great book

It should have won the National Book Award. It was a great analysis. I thought I knew a lot about this topic, but I learned a lot.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By OneForAll on 02-10-18

Compelling, if a bit biased

A comprehensive, sometimes tedious but often fascinating history of the whole evangelical movement in one volume. (To be fair, I think "tedious" means hearing about people I'm not so interested in, like Ralph Reed; "fascinating" with people I was curious about, like Billy Graham and James Dobson.) It charts the movement from its Great Awakening beginnings through the election of Donald Trump, focusing on the major players along the way.

What struck me was the movement's continual emphasis on politics and the issues of the day, trying to force a heavenly society into being using worldly political, legislative means. Not surprisingly, it doesn't appear God has blessed such efforts even after 20+ years.

The author tells the story from the leftish point of view, minding PC buzzwords like "anti-abortion" to describe the pro-life community, and "pro-choice" for the anti-life abortion supporters. He tells of the Republican Senators who suddenly confessed to adulterous affairs during the Clinton impeachment, but he doesn't say why: Clinton had Larry Flynt on his side, who dug up the dirt on the Senators. As if to say, What about your own indiscretions?

The author also brought my attention to another book, this one by two former Christian Right leaders, "Blinded by Might." I'll be checking that one out next.

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2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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