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America’s Religious History: Faith, Politics, and the Shaping of a Nation

, 2019
ISBN: 9780310113621



In the post-9/11 world, it is not difficult to see how important religion remains in America and around the globe. An older generation of scholars expected that America and the rest of the Western world was headed inexorably toward secularization and the end of religion. America is undoubtedly secular in many ways, and our constitutional order requires a clear distinction between faith communities and government. Yet from the colonial era to the present, American men and women have been, and have remained, a pervasively religious people.

In America’s Religious History, leading historian Thomas S. Kidd traces the theological and ethnic diversity and enduring strength of American religion, with special attention to Christianity and evangelical faith. Interweaving religious history and key events from the larger narrative of American history, the book considers how faith commitments and categories have shaped the nation.

Written with the student in mind, America’s Religious History offers an up-to-date, narrative introduction useful for undergraduate and graduate-level courses on American religion. General readers wanting to better understand the religious background of American life and politics will also enjoy its engaging and insightful overview.

  • Traces the theological and ethnic diversity of American religion
  • Examines key events from the larger narrative of American history
  • Considers how faith commitments and categories have shaped the nation
  • Early America
  • Awakenings and Empire
  • Religion and the American Founding
  • The Era of the Second Great Awakening
  • Global and Domestic Missions
  • Moral Reform and Slavery
  • The Civil War
  • Immigration, Temperance, and Gilded Age America
  • Evolution, the Bible, and the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
  • The World Wars and the Rise of Neo-Evangelicalism
  • Protest and the Revolutions of the 1960s
  • Immigration and New Religious Diversity Since 1965
  • Church-State Relations, the “Silent Majority,” and Jimmy Carter
  • The Reagan Revolution and the Moral Majority
  • Post 9-11 America
  • Conclusion: A Post-Christian America?
America’s Religious History offers a comprehensive account of the history we must know in order to understand our present and pave a better way forward. The book is remarkable in its breadth and depth, in its precision and scholarship, and in its sheer readability. Thomas Kidd is a great gift to the contemporary American church, and this book demonstrates why

—Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

Thomas Kidd is an authoritative voice on American religion. Not only is he today’s most prolific historian of American religious history, but he is an active commentator on social media who brings his expertise to bear on issues that matter. In this book, he joins his academic expertise with his acute insight into the present-day religious landscape. The result is an outstanding history of American religion that should be of interest to academics, ministers, and anyone else who wishes to understand the deeply significant influence of religion in the United States.

—James P. Byrd, chair of the Graduate Department of Religion, associate professor of American religious history, Vanderbilt University

Thomas Kidd’s brisk narrative of America’s religious story brings together a variety of historical strands to create a highly readable, engaging introduction to the many traditions that constitute our contemporary landscape. Kidd’s deep knowledge of his subject sharpens his eye for both underexamined but important episodes and significant historical trends. He has created a lively, rich account that will appeal to a wide audience. His excellent suggestions for further reading will satisfy readers wanting to dig more deeply.

—Anne Blue Wills, professor of religious studies, Davidson College

  • Title: America’s Religious History: Faith, Politics, and the Shaping of a Nation
  • Author: Thomas S. Kidd
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Pages: 320
  • Resource Type: Histories
  • Topic: Church in North America

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Thomas S. Kidd (PhD, Notre Dame) is distinguished professor of history at Baylor University. He has written many books, including America’s Colonial History and The Great Awakening, and also writes and appears regularly in mainstream media.


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