Why did I love this book?
This Pulitzer prize-winning history, thoroughly researched and engagingly written, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the history of American evangelicalism. While it now defines the religious right, evangelicalism has espoused different religious and political positions from its eighteenth-century founding to the present, as Fitzgerald thoroughly documents. Initially, a populist rejection of established churches, in the nineteenth-century evangelicals split over the issue of slavery; Southern evangelicals insisted that the Bible endorsed it. In the twentieth century, evangelicals separated from fundamentalists and became more politically engaged as American business interests used religion to wrest evangelicals from the Democratic Party and political conservatives identified abortion as the issue most likely to galvanize them.
Since the 1980s evangelicals have become a dependable voting bloc for the Republican Party, but Fitzgerald concludes, younger evangelicals are more open and concerned with climate change and gender equality. There is no book I can recommend as highly to understand the history of evangelicals’ involvement in American political life.