100 books like The Evangelicals

By Frances FitzGerald,

Here are 100 books that The Evangelicals fans have personally recommended if you like The Evangelicals. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From my list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

A central assertion of the Christian right is that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and should be again. But this argument, as Green documents in his meticulous study of historical and legal sources, is deeply embedded in Americans’ sense of their national history as exceptional. He examines a series of claims made about critical junctures in the early history of the nation that purportedly support this view--the religious founding of the English colonies, the American Revolution as a religious cause, American government formed to be Christian. His careful examination of the evidence for and against the crucial claims of the Christian nation thesis provides a nuanced history of the religious terrain of early America by studying those who made such assertions and why. Green concludes that these claims developed during the nineteenth century rather than during the nation’s founding. More importantly, they are largely mythic but…

By Steven K. Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inventing a Christian America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. A pervasive narrative in everything from school textbooks to political commentary, it is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. Yet, as Steven K. Green shows in this illuminating new book, it is little more than a myth.

In Inventing a Christian America, Green, a leading historian of religion and politics, explores the historical record that is purported to support the popular belief in America's religious founding and status as a…


Book cover of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From my list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

Darren Dochuk’s From Bible Belt to Sunbelt is a fascinating account of a crucial development in the evolution of the Christian right—how evangelicals first became Republicans. He argues when many Southern evangelicals moved during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression from the Southern states to urban centers of Southern California, especially Los Angeles and Orange County, they fundamentally altered American politics. Southern evangelical preachers and businessmen argued against the New Deal and the United Nations as incipient communism but also opposed the civil rights movement. These messages flourished within its intended audience who evolved from New Deal Democrats to staunchly right-wing Republicans. This political shift among Southern evangelicals led directly to both the rightward turn of the Republican Party and its Southern Strategy with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The powerful alliance of Republicans and evangelicals made it a national movement and fostered evangelical business empires, including those of…

By Darren Dochuk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Bible Belt to Sunbelt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Bible Belt to Sun Belt tells the dramatic and largely unknown story of "plain-folk" religious migrants: hardworking men and women from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas who fled the Depression and came to California for military jobs during World War II. Investigating this fiercely pious community at a grassroots level, Darren Dochuk uses the stories of religious leaders, including Billy Graham, as well as many colorful, lesser-known figures to explain how evangelicals organized a powerful political machine. This machine made its mark with Barry Goldwater, inspired Richard Nixon's "Southern Solution," and achieved its greatest triumph with the victories of Ronald…


Book cover of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From my list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

In Jesus and John Wayne, Du Mez examines the rise of the Christian right through the lens of popular culture. She argues that over the past seventy-five years evangelicals have remade Christianity into a form of toxic masculinity and Christian nationalism. They have extolled strong, heroic models of masculinity from the fictionalized characters in John Wayne and Mel Gibson movies to political figures, including Ronald Reagan, Oliver North, and even Donald Trump. Their projected strength was vital to protect and promote Christian values. This muscular Christianity supports patriarchy, authoritarianism, and aggressive foreign policies, and opposes the expansion of rights for minorities and women. Du Mez explores a vast array of artifacts of evangelical popular culture—popular books, movies, songs, and merchandise—all intended to promote those values as the essence of Christianity. Jesus and John Wayne helps to explain how evangelicalism became the cultural and political force it is today and how…

By Kristin Kobes Du Mez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jesus and John Wayne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Jesus and John Wayne, a seventy-five-year history of American evangelicalism, Kristin Kobes Du Mez demolishes the myth that white evangelicals "held their noses" in voting for Donald Trump. Revealing the role of popular culture in evangelicalism, Du Mez shows how evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism in the mould of Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson and above all, John Wayne. As Du Mez observes, the beliefs at the heart of white evangelicalism today preceded Trump and will outlast him.


Book cover of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

Andrew L. Whitehead Author Of American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church

From my list on Christian Nationalism in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the relationship between Christianity and the United States for decades. Much of my work in the area of Christian nationalism is the result of my personal religious history and experiences, as well as my work as a social scientist. I’ve always been fascinated by how religion influences and is influenced by its social context. Christian nationalism in the US is a clear example of how influential religious ideologies can be in our social world.

Andrew's book list on Christian Nationalism in the United States

Andrew L. Whitehead Why did Andrew love this book?

This book painstakingly traces the powerful people and groups that support and perpetuate Christian nationalist ideologies and efforts across the United States. This book pairs well with social science texts in that it highlights the powerful networks that mobilize the millions of Americans who embrace Christian nationalism. 

By Katherine Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For readers of Democracy in Chains and Dark Money, a revelatory investigation of the Religious Right's rise to political power.

For too long the Religious Right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with a number of cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In her deeply reported investigation, Katherine Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: this is a political movement that seeks to gain power and to impose its vision on all of society. America's religious nationalists aren't just fighting a culture war, they are waging a political war on the norms and institutions of American democracy.

Stewart pulls…


Book cover of The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism

William Watson Author Of Twelve Steps for White America: For a United States of America

From my list on explaining a divided United States of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

My own collusion with white supremacy and anti-Blackness is a lifelong journey I mitigate for my soul’s redemption. I am a Mississippi-born redneck, alcoholic, psychotherapist, San Francisco Bay Area queer, higher education administrator with a Critical Race Theory doctorate. I first learned democracy by watching my Mississippi parents risk their lives and mine in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Three-Fifths Magazine recently published “My First English: The Vernacular of the KKK.” My book, “Twelve Steps for White America” won the BookFest 1st Place Gold Medal for “Society and Social Sciences: Race Culture Class and Religion.” I work to live in a USA where race no longer predicts outcomes. 

William's book list on explaining a divided United States of America

William Watson Why did William love this book?

If you think it is crazy how evangelicals can support a politician who seemingly counters the very teachings of Jesus, you’ve got to read this book. I love the writing in this book! That should not be surprising since the author is an outstanding political reporter who also has an insider advantage as the son of a preacher.

LBJ lost the South for a generation, and Tim Alberta explains what happened next! 

By Tim Alberta,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of the Year

An Air Mail Best Book of the Year

The award-winning journalist and staff writer for The Atlantic follows up his New York Times bestseller American Carnage with this timely, rigorously reported, and deeply personal examination of the divisions that threaten to destroy the American evangelical movement.

Evangelical Christians are perhaps the most polarizing—and least understood—people living in America today. In his seminal new book, The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, journalist Tim Alberta, himself a practicing Christian and the son of an evangelical pastor, paints an…


Book cover of The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism

Andrew L. Whitehead Author Of American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church

From my list on Christian Nationalism in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the relationship between Christianity and the United States for decades. Much of my work in the area of Christian nationalism is the result of my personal religious history and experiences, as well as my work as a social scientist. I’ve always been fascinated by how religion influences and is influenced by its social context. Christian nationalism in the US is a clear example of how influential religious ideologies can be in our social world.

Andrew's book list on Christian Nationalism in the United States

Andrew L. Whitehead Why did Andrew love this book?

Lerone Martin’s book makes a conclusive case for how influential Christian nationalism can be when it is embraced and enforced by a whole institution—like the FBI—but especially when the person leading that institution demands it be so. J. Edgar Hoover is likely one of the most influential purveyors of white Christian nationalism in American history. Some of the accounts are jaw-dropping.

By Lerone A. Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The shocking untold story of how the FBI partnered with white evangelicals to champion a vision of America as a white Christian nation

On a Sunday morning in 1966, a group of white evangelicals dedicated a stained glass window to J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI director was not an evangelical, but his Christian admirers anointed him as their political champion, believing he would lead America back to God. The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover reveals how Hoover and his FBI teamed up with leading white evangelicals and Catholics to bring about a white Christian America by any means necessary.

Lerone…


Book cover of Faith and Fatherland: Parish Politics in Hitler's Germany

Kevin P. Spicer and Rebecca Carter-Chand Author Of Religion, Ethnonationalism, and Antisemitism in the Era of the Two World Wars

From my list on German Protestantism in Hitler’s Germany.

Why are we passionate about this?

Kevin P. Spicer is a historian of twentieth-century Germany who investigates the relationship between church and state from 1918-1945. I'm fascinated by the choices of Christian leaders as they negotiated the challenges of living and leading under National Socialism. I seek to understand the connections between Christian antisemitism and National Socialist’s racial-based exclusionary ethnonationalism and antisemitism. Rebecca Carter-Chand is a historian of twentieth-century Germany who focuses on Christianity during the Nazi period. I'm particularly interested in the smaller Christian churches on the margins of the German religious landscape, many of which maintained ties with their co-religionists abroad. I seek to understand how religious communities navigate ethical and practical challenges of political upheaval and fascism.

Kevin's book list on German Protestantism in Hitler’s Germany

Kevin P. Spicer and Rebecca Carter-Chand Why did Kevin love this book?

Jantzen has produced a thoroughly engaging study of the German Lutheran pastors under National Socialism. By contrast to the traditional “top down” institutional narratives on the Kirchenkampf (German Church Struggle), Jantzen has produced a “bottom up” work that focuses on the choices made by ordinary parish pastors under Hitler’s rule. As his point of departure, he examines Lutheran pastors working in three Church districts: Nauen, located northwest of Berlin in Brandenburg; Pirna, in southeast of Dresden in Saxony; and Ravensburg, in southern Württemberg. Throughout his work, Jantzen convincingly compares the response of the clergy in these diverse geographic areas. Though there were notable exceptions among these pastors, Jantzen concludes that Protestant clergy “largely failed to resist or even critique the Nazi state.” 

By Kyle Jantzen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An informative glimpse into the world of German Protestantsin the difficult Hitler era, Faith and Fatherland approaches thehistory of the Church Struggle from the "bottom up," usingsources like pastors' correspondence, parish newsletters, localnewspaper accounts, district superintendents' reports, andlocal church statistics.

While Jantzen confirms the general understanding thatGerman Protestants failed to resist or even critique the Naziregime, he reveals a surprising diversity of opinion and varietyof action, including the successful efforts of some Lutheranpastors and parishioners to resist the nazification of theirchurches.


Book cover of Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

Fuzhou serves as a perfect microcosm for examining the rise of Christianity in China. It’s less familiar than Shanghai or Beijing and, as a result, this very accessible history book has a freshness to it. Like Bays, Ryan Dunch, a China scholar at the University of Alberta, is an academic who knows how to make history engaging. The story begins in 1857 after the forced opening of Fuzhou as a treaty port after the First Opium War, and ends with anti-western violence that roiled the city in 1927. I owe Dunch a debt of gratitude. Fuzhou was the birthplace of my grandparents and I discovered on the pages of this book that in 1927, an anti-foreign mob attacked the Rev. Lin Pu-chi—a fact unknown to my family. That event was the key to deciphering the psyche of my grandfather.

By Ryan Dunch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking examination of Chinese Protestants and their place in the history of modern China, Ryan Dunch focuses on the Fuzhou area of southeast China from the mid-nineteenth century until 1927, when a national revolutionary government was established. Though accounting for only a small proportion of the population, Protestants occupied a central place in Fuzhou's political, intellectual, and social life, Dunch contends. He shows how Chinese Protestants, with a distinctive vision for constituting China as a modern nation-state, contributed to the dissolution of the imperial regime, enjoyed unprecedented popularity following the 1911 revolution, and then saw their dreams for…


Book cover of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity

Will Holcomb Author Of A Journey into Insight

From my list on that transform how we think and make us grow.

Why am I passionate about this?

One piece of advice I give my kids is to listen to people who are wrong. One of two things happen: you’ll have to define, refine, and explore your personal positions in order to articulate why they’re wrong; or you discover you’re wrong and you grow. I spent 25 years in a church that made no sense to me. That caused me to read and think about why I didn’t believe what they said was “absolute truth.” My writing is the result of a long soul-searching experience that has led me to a place I’m comfortable with and others are finding comfort in the wisdom of The Infinite Jeff.

Will's book list on that transform how we think and make us grow

Will Holcomb Why did Will love this book?

Bawer delves into the history of Christian fundamentalism in this well-researched book. It explores the “church of law” vs “church of love.” This should be required reading in churches and maybe we would stop dividing ourselves over false doctrines. Too many religions are working to divide humanity and Stealing Jesus is an important book for resolving that. 

By Bruce Bawer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the widely acclaimed A Place at the Table, this is a major work, passionately outspoken and cogently reasoned, that exposes the great danger posed to Christianity today by fundamentalism.

The time is past, says Bruce Bawer, when denominational names and other traditional labels provided an accurate reflection of Christian America's religious beliefs and practices. The meaningful distinction today is not between Protestant and Catholic, or Baptist and Episcopalian, but rather between "legalistic" and "nonlegalistic" religion, between the Church of Law and the Church of Love. On one side is the fundamentalist right, which draws a sharp…


Book cover of Doomsayers: Anglo-American Prophecy in the Age of Revolution

Carolyn Eastman Author Of The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States' First Forgotten Celebrity

From my list on the surprising world of the early American Republic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d love to see more readers explore the surprising world of the early American republic beyond stories about presidents and the Founders—in part because that history can be so illuminating about our own world. Originally from California, I’m now a professor in the History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of the prizewinning A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution. I’m now starting work on a new project on the yellow fever epidemics that struck New York City during the 1790s, a piece of which appeared in Smithsonian Magazine in March 2021 and the Intervals podcast produced by the Organization of American Historians.

Carolyn's book list on the surprising world of the early American Republic

Carolyn Eastman Why did Carolyn love this book?

We often think of the Age of Revolutions as linked to the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason and science. But as Juster demonstrates in this fascinating book, it was also an age of prophecy. If they were sometimes dismissed as crazy, hundreds of male and female prophets found significant followers during the 1790s and early 1800s—followers who saw in those prophetic visions inspired ways to live in and face the challenges of a growing democratic society. Even those of us who knew about some of the ecstatic religious practices of the Second Great Awakening found ourselves marveling at Juster’s recapturing of a world of visionaries during an Age of Reason. Ultimately, she inspires us to connect the emerging democratization of the early nineteenth century to the profusion of charismatic and sometimes unsettling religious leaders. A wonderful piece of scholarship that is also a dream to read.

By Susan Juster,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The age of revolution, in which kings were dethroned, radical ideals of human equality embraced, and new constitutions written, was also the age of prophecy. Neither an archaic remnant nor a novel practice, prophecy in the eighteenth century was rooted both in the primitive worldview of the Old Testament and in the vibrant intellectual environment of the philosophers and their political allies, the republicans. In Doomsayers: Anglo-American Prophecy in the Age of Revolution, Susan Juster examines the culture of prophecy in Great Britain and the United States from 1765 to 1815 side by side with the intellectual and political transformations…


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