100 books like The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover

By Lerone A. Martin,

Here are 100 books that The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover fans have personally recommended if you like The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover. 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 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 One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

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?

Knowing our history is so important, and this is one of the best books on the history of Christian nationalism in the United States during the 20th century.

What becomes so clear is the cultural influences on American Christianity including which voices are lifted up, and which ones are ignored or silenced. Let’s just say you won’t ever look at Billy Graham and his work the same way again.

By Kevin M. Kruse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One Nation Under God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We're often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God , historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the belief that America is fundamentally and formally Christian originated in the 1930s.To fight the slavery" of FDR's New Deal, businessmen enlisted religious activists in a campaign for freedom under God" that culminated in the election of their ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. The new president revolutionized the role of religion in American politics. He inaugurated new traditions like the National Prayer Breakfast, as Congress added the phrase under God" to…


Book cover of The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church

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?

It was this book that really put the pieces together for me regarding how my personal religious beliefs and my status as an American citizen should intersect.

Growing up in Christian spaces it was assumed that to be a good American was to be Christian, and to be a good Christian was to be American. Boyd’s book helped me distinguish the two in a new and fresh way.

By Gregory A. Boyd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The church was established to serve the world with Christ-like love, not to rule the world. It is called to look like a corporate Jesus, dying on the cross for those who crucified him, not a religious version of Caesar. It is called to manifest the kingdom of the cross in contrast to the kingdom of the sword. Whenever the church has succeeded in gaining what most American evangelicals are now trying to get - political power - it has been disastrous both for the church and the culture. Whenever the church picks up the sword, it lays down the…


Book cover of The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy

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?

While history is important for showing us how we got to where we are, social science is indispensable in helping us understand what exactly is going on around us today.

This book is a must-read for those who want to know how Christian nationalism threatens democracy. The authors conclusively demonstrate the various anti-democratic beliefs and values held by Americans who strongly embrace Christian nationalism.

January 6th wasn’t an aberration, and this book helps us understand the threat we still face.

By Philip S. Gorski, Samuel L. Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flag and the Cross as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bracing examination of a force that imperils American democracy

Most Americans were shocked by the violence they witnessed at the nation's Capital on January 6th, 2021. And many were bewildered by the images displayed by the insurrectionists: a wooden cross and wooden gallows; "Jesus saves" and "Don't Tread on Me;" Christian flags and Confederate Flags; even a prayer in Jesus' name after storming the Senate chamber. Where some saw a confusing jumble, Philip S. Gorski and Samuel L. Perry saw a familiar ideology: white Christian nationalism.

In this short primer, Gorski and Perry explain what white Christian nationalism is…


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 Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

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?

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…

By Frances FitzGerald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* Winner of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award
* National Book Award Finalist
* Time magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year
* New York Times Notable Book
* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

"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

"Massively learned and electrifying...magisterial." -The Christian Science Monitor

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…


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 Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

Lisa McClain Author Of Divided Loyalties? Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Lay Roles in the Catholic Church, 1534-1829

From my list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do what I do for completely self-interested reasons. I am a woman, wife, and mother; a history professor specializing in the Catholic Church and gender; and a Christian (Episcopalian). I used to compartmentalize those roles. I was a Christian at church, a secular scholar at work, etc. It was exhausting. I was frustrated by conflicting messages about gender and faith from my family, profession, and religion. I wanted to be true to all aspects of my identity in all situations, but how? History is full of people who’ve questioned and adapted at the intersections of gender and religion. I learn from their journeys and add another piece of the puzzle.

Lisa's book list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity

Lisa McClain Why did Lisa love this book?

Cooke makes us question what we think we know about gender.

MacCulloch makes us rethink what we think we know about Christianity. There are so many books of Christian history on the market it can be overwhelming. Many have social, theological, or political agendas. Not MacCulloch. A scholar of the first tier, MacCulloch unpacks Christianity, but this is no textbook.

With clarity and readability, MacCulloch rejects traditional Eurocentric narratives to explore Syriac churches, Thomist Christians in India, Orthodoxy, and the oft-forgotten Church of the East. He emphasizes how the strength of Christianity in all its different forms hasn’t been its supposedly unchanging nature but its adaptability—an important lesson to take into discussions of gender, lay roles, and religion.

By Diarmaid MacCulloch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Diarmaid MacCulloch's epic, acclaimed history A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years follows the story of Christianity around the globe, from ancient Palestine to contemporary China.

How did an obscure personality cult come to be the world's biggest religion, with a third of humanity its followers? This book, now the most comprehensive and up to date single volume work in English, describes not only the main facts, ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organization and spirituality, but how it has changed politics, sex, and human society.

Taking in wars, empires, reformers, apostles, sects, churches and crusaders, Diarmaid…


Book cover of Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

Sue Prideaux Author Of I Am Dynamite! A Life of Nietzsche

From my list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by humanity’s search for meaning. That is what I am exploring as I read philosophy and as I write my biographies of extraordinary individuals. Sue Prideaux has written award-winning books on Edvard Munch and his painting The Scream, the playwright August Strindberg, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. She acted as consultant to Sotheby’s when they sold The Scream for a record-breaking $120 million.

Sue's book list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning

Sue Prideaux Why did Sue love this book?

Nietzsche said “God is dead, but in thousands of years there still may be caves where his shadow will be shown.” Tom Holland traces the effect of the long shadow on our lives.

By Tom Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A "marvelous" (Economist) account of how the Christian Revolution forged the Western imagination. Crucifixion, the Romans believed, was the worst fate imaginable, a punishment reserved for slaves. How astonishing it was, then, that people should have come to believe that one particular victim of crucifixion-an obscure provincial by the name of Jesus-was to be worshipped as a god. Dominion explores the implications of this shocking conviction as they have reverberated throughout history. Today, the West remains utterly saturated by Christian assumptions. As Tom Holland demonstrates, our morals and ethics are not universal but are instead the fruits of a very…


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