100 books like Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America

By Matthew Avery Sutton,

Here are 100 books that Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America fans have personally recommended if you like Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Polygamy: An Early American History

Rebecca L. Davis Author Of Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics

From my list on why sex matters to US history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never set out to be a historian of sexuality, but the more I read, the more convinced I became of the centrality of sex to politics, culture, religion, and social change. I am fascinated by histories of sexuality in the making and shaping of individual identities and behaviors, and I’m also drawn to histories of other topics—politics, religion, enslavement, leisure—that also teach us something about the history of sex and sexuality. These interests drew me to the podcast Sexing History, where I edit the stories and help produce the episodes. I love to read widely to find histories of sex in unexpected places.

Rebecca's book list on why sex matters to US history

Rebecca L. Davis Why did Rebecca love this book?

Pearsall’s book is the sort that leaves a reader entertained, deeply informed, and unable to see the past the same way again. Polygamy, she shows, was at the center of the social and political systems of many Indigenous nations. As European soldiers and settlers attempted to trade with—or dominate—the people of these nations, they provoked violent reprisals. Opposition to monogamy drove Indigenous resistance movements. Europeans increasingly argued that their monogamous practices made them racially and religiously superior to the people they subordinated. The centrality of metaphors about monogamy and polygamy to American revolutionary political ideas is one of the book’s most enlightening—and entertaining—contributions in a book rich with surprises.

By Sarah M. S. Pearsall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Polygamy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking examination of polygamy showing that monogamy was not the only form marriage took in early America

"A richly sourced, elegantly written, and strikingly original interdisciplinary study of the diverse practices of polygamy in American from ca.1500 to 1900."-John Witte Jr., Journal of Law and Religion

Today we tend to think of polygamy as an unnatural marital arrangement characteristic of fringe sects or uncivilized peoples. Historian Sarah Pearsall shows us that polygamy's surprising history encompasses numerous colonies, indigenous communities, and segments of the American nation. Polygamy-as well as the fight against it-illuminates many touchstones of American history: the Pueblo…


Book cover of Finding Charity's Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland

Rebecca L. Davis Author Of Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics

From my list on why sex matters to US history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never set out to be a historian of sexuality, but the more I read, the more convinced I became of the centrality of sex to politics, culture, religion, and social change. I am fascinated by histories of sexuality in the making and shaping of individual identities and behaviors, and I’m also drawn to histories of other topics—politics, religion, enslavement, leisure—that also teach us something about the history of sex and sexuality. These interests drew me to the podcast Sexing History, where I edit the stories and help produce the episodes. I love to read widely to find histories of sex in unexpected places.

Rebecca's book list on why sex matters to US history

Rebecca L. Davis Why did Rebecca love this book?

What does it mean to be free—and how can you prove that you are? Millward’s utterly engrossing book demonstrates how significant Black women’s reproductive sexuality was to their pursuit of freedom. Following the formal end of US participation in the international slave trade in 1808, white enslavers placed unprecedented demands on enslaved Black women to bear more children. Because the laws defined the child according to the mother’s free or unfree status, enslaved women literally birthed the property of white enslavers. But what if a currently enslaved person proved that the womb from which they entered the world belonged to a free person? Millward shows how Black women and their descendants paved their own pathways to freedom.

By Jessica Millward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding Charity's Folk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finding Charity's Folk highlights the experiences of enslaved Maryland women who negotiated for their own freedom, many of whom have been largely lost to historical records. Based on more than fifteen hundred manumission records and numerous manuscript documents from a diversity of archives, Jessica Millward skillfully brings together African American social and gender history to provide a new means of using biography as a historical genre.

Millward opens with a striking discussion about how researching the life of a single enslaved woman, Charity Folks, transforms our understanding of slavery and freedom in Revolutionary America. For African American women such as…


Book cover of The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America

Marian Lindberg Author Of Scandal on Plum Island: A Commander Becomes the Accused

From my list on power, gender politics, and stereotypes in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Based on my experiences as a single parent and worker in traditionally male fields (journalism and law, back when newsrooms and law firms resembled men's clubs), I believe that each person contains both “feminine” and “masculine” behaviors and feelings. Yet socially constructed gender norms discourage people from exhibiting this full range of being. Ben Koehler’s troubling and tragic story presented a way to explore the origins of 20th-century American gender norms while trying to solve the mystery of Ben’s guilt or innocence. A bonus was the opportunity to write about Plum Island, an environmental treasure with a fascinating history that many people, including myself, are seeking to preserve and open to the public.

Marian's book list on power, gender politics, and stereotypes in America

Marian Lindberg Why did Marian love this book?

Men, did you know that too little body hair or too much talkativeness could keep you from being admitted to the United States in the early 1900s? The Straight State will have readers shaking their heads at the outrageous presumptions that immigration inspectors applied to keep “degenerates” out of the country. This was the first time that federal officials had both the interest and power to create policies against homosexuality, and they were crassly influenced by the eugenics movement and hostility to the poor. Canaday also shows how early welfare policies perpetuated gender stereotypes and discrimination against sexual “deviants,” favoring the married over the single. I learned so much! 

By Margot Canaday,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Straight State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Straight State is the most expansive study of the federal regulation of homosexuality yet written. Unearthing startling new evidence from the National Archives, Margot Canaday shows how the state systematically came to penalize homosexuality, giving rise to a regime of second-class citizenship that sexual minorities still live under today. Canaday looks at three key arenas of government control--immigration, the military, and welfare--and demonstrates how federal enforcement of sexual norms emerged with the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. She begins at the turn of the twentieth century when the state first stumbled upon evidence of sex and gender nonconformity,…


Book cover of Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American Oriental

Rebecca L. Davis Author Of Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics

From my list on why sex matters to US history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never set out to be a historian of sexuality, but the more I read, the more convinced I became of the centrality of sex to politics, culture, religion, and social change. I am fascinated by histories of sexuality in the making and shaping of individual identities and behaviors, and I’m also drawn to histories of other topics—politics, religion, enslavement, leisure—that also teach us something about the history of sex and sexuality. These interests drew me to the podcast Sexing History, where I edit the stories and help produce the episodes. I love to read widely to find histories of sex in unexpected places.

Rebecca's book list on why sex matters to US history

Rebecca L. Davis Why did Rebecca love this book?

You will never look at (or wear) a kimono the same way after reading Amy Sueyoshi’s ingenious investigation into the making of an American leisure culture awash in stereotypes of Japanese and Chinese sexuality. With a focus on San Francisco, Sueyoshi’s book reveals how Anglo-European Americans appropriated “Oriental” dress and design aesthetics, even as the white press and legal system displayed overt hostility toward people of Asian descent. This book is one of my very favorites among a growing body of work that centers on the making of racial identities within histories of sexuality. Sueyoshi is a superb writer, and in this book, she excels at honoring the humanity of Asian-descended people within a white leisure culture that insisted on their inferiority.

By Amy Sueyoshi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Discriminating Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Freewheeling sexuality and gender experimentation defined the social and moral landscape of 1890s San Francisco. Middle class whites crafting titillating narratives on topics such as high divorce rates, mannish women, and extramarital sex centered Chinese and Japanese immigrants in particular.

Amy Sueyoshi draws on everything from newspapers to felony case files to oral histories in order to examine how whites' pursuit of gender and sexual fulfillment gave rise to racial caricatures. As she reveals, white reporters, writers, artists, and others conflated Chinese and Japanese, previously seen as two races, into one. There emerged the Oriental-a single pan-Asian American stereotype weighted…


Book cover of Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue

Ned Bustard Author Of It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God

From my list on art and Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my late high school years and during college I was confronted with a question that has dogged many artists over the years who are in the church: should a Christian be in the arts or not? As it turns out, the first person to be described as filled by the Spirit in the Bible was an artist. I had to wait until my college years to find that out by reading Francis Schaeffer’s book Art and the Bible. This and Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water gave me a theology that valued art. Now I'm a full-time artist and curate a small art gallery, but I've never stopped looking for good books on Art and Faith.

Ned's book list on art and Christianity

Ned Bustard Why did Ned love this book?

Possibly the most helpful book for those looking to engage both Art and the Church. In Visual Faith the reader will find a wonderful overview of art history from a Christian perspective, beginning with art in the Early Church and coming all the way up to Warhol, Pollock, and art today. There is also an entire chapter devoted to making and looking at art. If there was one book I’d give to people in my church who were interested in engaging with art, this would be it.

By William A. Dyrness,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Visual Faith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can art enhance and enrich the Christian faith? What is the basis for a relationship between the church and visual imagery? Can the art world and the Protestant church be reconciled? Is art idolatry and vanity, or can it be used to strengthen the church? Grounded in historical and biblical research, William Dyrness offers students and scholars an intriguing, substantive look into the relationship between the church and the world of art.

Faith and art were not always discordant. According to Dyrness, Israel understood imagery and beauty as reflections of God's perfect order; likewise, early Christians used art to…


Book cover of Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World

Vincent Carretta Author Of Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man

From my list on recover early Black Atlantic lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to familiarize myself with eighteenth-century authors of African descent by editing their writings, I didn’t anticipate becoming their biographer. In annotating their writings, I quickly became intrigued and challenged by trying to complete the biographical equivalent of jigsaw puzzles, ones which often lack borders, as well as many pieces. How does one recover, or at least credibly speculate about, what’s missing? Even the pieces one has may be from unreliable sources. But the thrill of the hunt for, and the joy of discovering, as many pieces as possible make the challenge rewarding. My recommendations demonstrate ways others have also met the biographical challenge.

Vincent's book list on recover early Black Atlantic lives

Vincent Carretta Why did Vincent love this book?

Sensbach combines impressive archival skills with sophisticated analyses of textual and visual evidence to reconstruct the extraordinary life of a formerly enslaved woman of African descent, whose interracial marriage and missionary calling took her from the Caribbean to Germany and West Africa.

Rebecca’s Revival is a methodological tour de force, working from fragmentary evidence to reveal the complexity of issues of slavery, religion, and identity in the transatlantic eighteenth-century world.

Refusing to over-simplify the certainty of the evidence or its implications, Sensbach’s frequent use of words like “may,” “might,” “if,” and “perhaps” reflects not the weakness of indecision but rather the strength of a historian who discriminates the known from the unknown, and more importantly, the possible from the probable.

By Jon F. Sensbach,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rebecca's Revival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rebecca's Revival is the remarkable story of a Caribbean woman--a slave turned evangelist--who helped inspire the rise of black Christianity in the Atlantic world. All but unknown today, Rebecca Protten left an enduring influence on African-American religion and society. Born in 1718, Protten had a childhood conversion experience, gained her freedom from bondage, and joined a group of German proselytizers from the Moravian Church. She embarked on an itinerant mission, preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, a Danish sugar colony in the West Indies. Laboring in obscurity and weathering persecution from hostile planters, Protten and other…


Book cover of Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy

Lauren Turek Author Of To Bring the Good News to All Nations: Evangelical Influence on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations

From my list on the history of religion in U.S. foreign relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an associate professor of history at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where I teach courses on modern United States history, U.S. foreign relations, and public history, direct our minor in museum studies, and direct the Mellon Initiative for Undergraduate Research in the Arts and Humanities. I am particularly interested in how domestic culture, ideology, and values have informed how the United States has engaged with the world around it. My recent work has explored the influence of conservative religious groups in foreign affairs, and I’m at work on a new book about national security and the congressional debates that unfolded over foreign aid after World War II.

Lauren's book list on the history of religion in U.S. foreign relations

Lauren Turek Why did Lauren love this book?

This is a magisterial work and the perfect starting point for anyone interested in learning about how religious beliefs and religions of all types have played a role in U.S. foreign policy since the colonial era. It is an incredibly comprehensive and deeply researched book, but do not let its heft deter you—Preston is a skilled narrator and you will find yourself immediately immersed in and absorbed by the stories he shares. His ability to illuminate the links between religion and the core ideas that have guided the U.S. engagement with the world over the past four hundred years is a truly impressive achievement.

By Andrew Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction
Finalist for the Cundhill Prize in History

A richly detailed, profoundly engrossing story of how religion has influenced American foreign relations, told through the stories of the men and women—from presidents to preachers—who have plotted the country’s course in the world.
 
Ever since John Winthrop argued that the Puritans’ new home would be “a city upon a hill,” Americans’ role in the world has been shaped by their belief that God has something special in mind for them. But this is a story that historians have mostly ignored. Now, in the…


Book cover of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings

Barry Spector Author Of Madness at the Gates of the City: The Myth of American Innocence

From my list on American addiction to innocence.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a student of mythology and archetypal psychology, I invite you to interrogate your assumptions about self and society, to consider the narratives that we all take for granted. We live between great polar opposites. One is how our leaders embody old, toxic stories. The other asks who we might become if we imagine new ones. But only by dropping our sense of innocence and acknowledging the depths of our darkness can we open ourselves to the possibilities of real transformation. I invite you inside our mythic walls, to examine what it means to be an American. I hope to facilitate a collective initiation and invite you to think mythologically.

Barry's book list on American addiction to innocence

Barry Spector Why did Barry love this book?

This country was settled primarily by Puritan extremists who imprinted their deep distrust of the body’s needs onto future generations. The Calvinist obsession with sin and predestination led to a uniquely American situation. As wealth became a sign of grace, poverty indicated moral failure.

Weber’s classic book describes the process in which a perspective that began in renunciation was transformed into the drive to work incessantly in the pursuit of worldly success and, eventually, conspicuous consumption. As the strictly religious fervor dissipated over time, the competitive quest for efficiency, productivity, wealth, and the self-validation they symbolized remained and became our most fundamental value.

What others would later call the “American Dream” endures because, like no other myth, it promises fulfillment both in this world and the next. This helped me understand our obsession with individualism and why America ignores or mistreats many of its children simply because their parents are…

By Max Weber, Peter Baehr, Gordon C. Wells

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Protestant Ethic, Max Weber opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and relates the rise of the capitalist economy to the Calvinist belief in the moral value of hard work and the fulfillment of one's worldly duties.


Book cover of The South and the North in American Religion

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

Strangely, very few books about the Christian right explain the differences between southern and northern evangelicals. Hill’s book is an eye-opener. It links theology directly to politics. A historian, Hill is a wonderful writer.

By Samuel S. Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The South and the North in American Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this comparative history of religious life in the South and the North, Samuel Hill considers the religions of America from a unique angle. Tracing the religious history of both areas, this study dramatically shows how a common religion was altered by hostilities and then continued to develop as separate entities until recently. Coming almost full circle, both North and South now find their religions again to be highly similar. Two factors, Hill believes, were major influences in the diversification of the regional religions: the presence of Afro-Americans as an underclass of people with a distinctive role to play in…


Book cover of God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention

Frances FitzGerald Author Of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

From my list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a correspondent in Vietnam in 1966, 1971, 1973, and 1974. I worked for The New Yorker on the last three dates, and I have been back several times since the end of the war. My book, Fire in Lake won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize for history, and the National Book Award, among other prizes.

Frances' book list on understanding the ethos of the Christian right

Frances FitzGerald Why did Frances love this book?

A liberal Southern Baptist, Leonard describes the fundamentalist takeover of the largest Protestant denomination. The take over accompanied the South’s transformation into a Republican stronghold and made the Christian right a serious force in American politics. Leonard is one of the best-known historians of the Convention and of contemporary religion in the South.

By Bill J. Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God's Last and Only Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzes the recent controversy between moderate and fundamentalist Baptists from an historical perspective


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in George W. Bush, protestantism, and Christianity?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about George W. Bush, protestantism, and Christianity.

George W. Bush Explore 37 books about George W. Bush
Protestantism Explore 39 books about protestantism
Christianity Explore 631 books about Christianity