100 books like The South and the North in American Religion

By Samuel S. Hill,

Here are 100 books that The South and the North in American Religion fans have personally recommended if you like The South and the North in American Religion. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Listen America!

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?

Falwell was the first in US history to attempt to organize white evangelicals into a voting group, and this is his manifesto. It’s a must-read because he introduces all the themes of the movement ever since.

By Jerry Falwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Paperback book by Jerry Falwell that is the conservative blueprint for Americ's moral rebirth.


Book cover of The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics

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?

An analysis of Falwell’s theological rhetoric and the changes he made in it to persuade fundamentalists and other evangelicals to go into politics that most had considered taboo. A fascinating book by a great anthropologist.

By Susan Friend Harding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

National polls show that approximately 50 million adult Americans are born-again Christians. Yet most Americans see their culture as secular, and the United States is viewed around the world as a secular nation. Further, intellectuals and journalists often portray born-again Christians, despite their numbers, as outsiders who endanger public life. But is American culture really so neatly split between the religious and the secular? Is America as "modern" and is born-again Christian religious belief as "pre-modern" as many think? In the 1980s, born-again Christians burst into the political arena with stunning force. Gone was the image of "old-fashioned" fundamentalism and…


Book cover of Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right

Kyle Burke Author Of Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War

From my list on the history of American conservatism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern US and global history at Hartwick College in upstate New York. I have been reading and researching the history of conservative and right-wing movements in the United States and the wider world for almost two decades. My first book, Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War, was published by University of North Carolina Press in 2018. My articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Jacobin, Diplomatic History, Terrorism and Political Science, H-War, and H-Diplo. I’m currently at work on two projects: a history of the transatlantic white power movement and a film documentary about the short-lived white supremacist nation of Rhodesia and its contemporary legacies.

Kyle's book list on the history of American conservatism

Kyle Burke Why did Kyle love this book?

This is a field-defining work. First published in 2001, McGirr’s book prompted a generation of historians to reexamine the rise and evolution of modern American conservatism. Focused on the suburbs of Orange County, California, Suburban Warriors explored how grassroots conservative activists mobilized to reshape the politics of the nation. Through the stories of ordinary people--housewives and defense workers, evangelical worshippers, and anti-communist activists--we learn how the modern American right evolved from a fringe movement into arguably the most powerful political force in the United States.

By Lisa McGirr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the early 1960s, American conservatives seemed to have fallen on hard times. McCarthyism was on the run, and movements on the political left were grabbing headlines. The media lampooned John Birchers's accusations that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist puppet. Mainstream America snickered at warnings by California Congressman James B. Utt that "barefooted Africans" were training in Georgia to help the United Nations take over the country. Yet, in Utt's home district of Orange County, thousands of middle-class suburbanites proceeded to organize a powerful conservative movement that would land Ronald Reagan in the White House and redefine the spectrum of…


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


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 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 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 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 The Old Christian Right: The Protestant Far Right from the Great Depression to the Cold War

Katy Hull Author Of The Machine Has a Soul: American Sympathy with Italian Fascism

From my list on the history of extremism in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by how and why extremist thought enters the mainstream. It is what drew me to researching American fascist sympathizers in the 1920s and 1930s, and it is what scares me about the direction of politics in the United States today. When I am not hanging out with my family in Washington, DC, I am teaching in the American studies department at the University of Amsterdam. It’s a long commute, but my students make it worth it. I love to teach courses about protest traditions and democratic challenges in the United States in the twentieth century up until the present. 

Katy's book list on the history of extremism in the United States

Katy Hull Why did Katy love this book?

Ribuffo could have portrayed his subjects—three mid-century Christian fundamentalists—as social or cultural misfits. Instead, he made a powerful case that these men—and others like them— were a product of the American mainstream. First published in the 1980s, when the so-called new Christian right was in its ascendancy, the book encouraged readers to check any temptation they might have felt to dismiss Protestant fundamentalists as political outliers who would disappear of their own accord. Generous almost to a fault, Ribuffo gave me plenty of advice during my own research to avoid any suggestion that there was anything un-American about fascist sympathies in the interwar years. 

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…


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