New Books in American Religious History: 2015 Year in Preview, Part Three (September-December)

Paul Putz

Following the first and second editions of the 2015 book preview list, here is the year's third and final list.

The usual preface: I've listed the books in roughly chronological order based on the month of their tentative release date. Although I've tried to include as many relevant and interesting titles as I could find, I'm sure that I left out some deserving books. Sometimes this is because publishers don't have updated information on their websites, and sometimes it's because I just missed it. Please feel free to use the comments to add to this list and I can update the post as needed.

As for how I define what is "American" in American religion (to say nothing of what is "religion" in American religion), for the purposes of these lists I mostly follow Kathryn Gin Lum's response in this IUPUI RAAC forum. There, she articulated an understanding of "America" as the region that eventually became known as the United States. That definition does have problems, of course, which is why your contributions to this list -- contributions which envision "America" differently -- are more than welcome.

Now, on to the books! (after this collage to add some color to any social media links)

AUGUST (books that I missed with my last preview list)

Noam Pianko, Jewish Peoplehood: An American Innovation (Rutgers University Press)
From the publisher: "Although fewer American Jews today describe themselves as religious, they overwhelmingly report a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. Indeed, Jewish peoplehood has eclipsed religion—as well as ethnicity and nationality—as the essence of what binds Jews around the globe to one another. In Jewish Peoplehood, Noam Pianko highlights the current significance and future relevance of “peoplehood” by tracing the rise, transformation, and return of this novel term."

Heather White, Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights (University of North Carolina Press)
John D'Emilio: "Important, gracefully written, and interpretively original, Reforming Sodom brings together two historical subjects--religion and gay/lesbian activism--that are often seen as not intersecting. Heather White makes notable new arguments about the collaboration between religion and medicine in the post-World War II generation and the ways religious organizing and activism intersected so thoroughly with the expanding gay liberation movement of the 1970s."

Heather H. Vacek, Madness: American Protestant Responses to Mental Illness (Baylor University Press)
Candy Gunther Brown: “Madness offers a sensitive, in-depth treatment of the important and under-discussed subject of mental illness. Heather Vacek makes a signal contribution to histories of mental illness, medicine, and religion, and her book should be of great interest to scholars in each of these fields as well as to general audiences seeking to understand and respond to mental illness.”

Kyle C. Strobel, ed. The Ecumenical Edwards: Jonathan Edwards and the Theologians (Ashgate)
George Marsden: "...offers a treasure trove of insights on the relationship of one of the greatest theologians in the Reformed tradition to the grand traditions of Christian theology as represented by Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and other Protestant thinkers. Here is an all-star international ecumenical line-up of analysts who are critical as well as sympathetic in assessing Edwards’s contributions to discussions of some of the most profound theological issues."

Emily Conroy-Krutz, Christian Imperialism: Converting the World in the Early American Republic (Cornell University Press)
Rosemarie Zagarri: "Emily Conroy-Krutz shows how the growth of evangelical religion in the early nineteenth century had an outward-looking face as well as a domestic one. Religious identity both complemented and competed with national identity. Conroy-Krutz argues that from a very early date Americans had imperial aspirations that extended beyond the borders of the United States and the limits of North America and reached across the globe. This is a terrific contribution to our understanding of the early republic."

Eric Gardner, Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "explores the development of the Christian Recorder during and just after the American Civil War. As a study of the official African Methodist Episcopal Church newspaper (a periodical of national reach and scope among free African Americans), Black Print Unbound is thus at once a massive recovery effort of a publication by African Americans for African Americans, a consideration of the nexus of African Americanist inquiry and print culture studies, and an intervention in the study of literatures of the Civil War, faith communities, and periodicals."


Jeannie Banks Thomas, ed., Putting the Supernatural in its Place: Folklore, the Hypermodern, and the Ethereal (University of Utah Press)
From the publisher: "explores zombies, vampires, witches, demented nuns, mediums, and ghosts in their natural (and unnatural) habitats while making sense of the current ubiquity of the supernatural on the Internet, in movies, tourism, and in places like New Orleans. This unique study of how we locate the supernatural sheds light on why certain sites and their stories captivate us. It demonstrates how pondering the supernatural can bring a better understanding of the places we create and inhabit."

Alan S. Kahan, Tocqueville, Democracy, and Religion: Checks and Balances for Democratic Souls (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "Alan S. Kahan, one of today's foremost Tocqueville scholars, shows how Tocqueville's analysis of religion is simultaneously deeply rooted in his thoughts on nineteenth-century France and America and pertinent to us today."

Choi Hee An, A Postcolonial Self: Korean Immigrant Theology and Church (State University of New York Press)
From the publisher: "Theologian Choi Hee An explores how Korean immigrants create a new, postcolonial identity in response to life in the United States....Choi posits that an emergent postcolonial self can be characterized as 'I and We with Others.' In Korean immigrant theology and church, an extension of this can be characterized as 'radical hospitality,' a concept that challenges both immigrants and American society to consider a new mutuality."

Michael N. McGregor, Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax (Fordham University Press)
From the publisher: "tells the story of poet Robert Lax, whose quest to live a true life as both an artist and a spiritual seeker inspired Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, William Maxwell and a host of other writers, artists and ordinary people. Known in the U.S. primarily as Merton's best friend and in Europe as a daringly original avant-garde poet, Lax left behind a promising New York writing career to travel with a circus, live among immigrants in post-war Marseilles and settle on a series of remote Greek islands where he learned and recorded the simple wisdom of the local people. Born a Jew, he became a Catholic and found the authentic community he sought in Greek Orthodox fishermen and sponge divers."

Samuel Moyn, Christian Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press)
Martin Conway: "Christian Human Rights is consistently and stimulatingly opinionated. Samuel Moyn maintains throughout his book an excellent and authentic vigor, demonstrating that the genesis of modern human-rights rhetoric can be found in a largely conservative Christian worldview that took shape in Western Europe (as well as in North America) in the 1940s."

Herbert Marbury, Pillars of Cloud and Fire: The Politics of Exodus in African American Biblical Interpretation (NYU Press)
Randall C. Bailey: "Marbury brilliantly functions as historical, literary, rhetorical and ideological critic in this work. Most exciting is how he demonstrates the sophisticated exegetical and hermeneutical usages of the biblical text by African Americans over three centuries. . . . . Fundamental to all of the individuals explored in this work and to Marbury is the belief that using the biblical text for inspiring African Americans to strive for freedom and for motivating other racial ethnic groups to assist in this effort is a worthwhile endeavor. This work is a must read."

Lucas Van Rompay, Sam Miglarese, and David Morgan, eds., The Long Shadow of Vatican II: Living Faith and Negotiating Authority since the Second Vatican Council (University of North Carolina Press)
From the publisher: "Benefiting from a half century of insights gained since Vatican II ended, this volume focuses squarely on the ongoing aftermath and reinterpretation of the Council in the twenty-first century. In five penetrating essays, contributors examine crucial issues at the heart of Catholic life and identity, primarily but not exclusively within North American contexts. On a broader level, the volume as a whole illuminates the effects of the radical changes made at Vatican II on the lived religion of everyday Catholics."

Hugh B. Urban, New Age, Neopagan, and New Religious Movements: Alternative Spirituality in Contemporary America (University of California Press)
Rebecca Moore: "An engaging and impressively detailed textbook. Urban gives in-depth coverage of key new religious movements and provides explanations of frequently neglected alternative movements, such as the Native American Church, Neopaganism, and Spiritualism."

Mark A. Smith, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics (University of Chicago Press)
David Campbell: “A beautifully written and richly substantive book that convincingly explodes conventional wisdom. On an array of issues, from slavery to divorce, homosexuality, and women’s rights, Smith’s exhaustive research clearly shows that the doctrines of America’s major religious traditions have shifted to conform with contemporary societal norms. Readers will learn much from this book—even those who already consider themselves familiar with one or more of the issues it explores.”

Paul B. Moyer, The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America (Cornell University Press)
Erik Seeman: "Paul B. Moyer considers Jemima Wilkinson as the entry point to important historical and historiographical issues even while he contributes to our understanding of religion and gender in the era of the American Revolution. Moyer uses to good effect the fortuitous conjunction of American independence and Wilkinson's rebirth in 1776. This is an impressive book."

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (Princeton University Press)
Winnifred Fallers Sullivan: "In this important book, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd shows how the suffocatingly tautological language of policymakers today constructs religion and religious freedom as both problem and solution in the context of myriad challenges facing the world community. Mobilized alternatively to underwrite good religion on behalf of an agenda of reassurance and to thwart bad religion on behalf of an agenda of surveillance, religious freedom is repeatedly discovered to be the indispensable condition for peace in our times, always available to short-circuit understanding of complex social situations."

Stephanie Hinnershitz, Race, Religion, and Civil Rights: Asian Students on the West Coast, 1900-1968 (Rutgers University Press)
From the publisher: "Histories of civil rights movements in America generally place little or no emphasis on the activism of Asian Americans. Yet, as this fascinating new study reveals, there is a long and distinctive legacy of civil rights activism among foreign and American-born Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino students, who formed crucial alliances based on their shared religious affiliations and experiences of discrimination."

Joshua Guthman, Strangers Below: Primitive Baptists and American Culture (University of North Carolina Press)
Leigh Schmidt: "Beautifully and evocatively written, Guthman's Strangers Below pulls a small group of persevering Calvinists out of the shadows of southern evangelical culture and thereby undercuts the image of the Bible Belt as a united front, revealing anew the religious frictions that abraded that Protestant consensus from within. At the same time, Guthman displays a fine feel for the emotional register and lingering cultural influence of this Calvinist sensibility."

Karine V. Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821-1921 (University of North Carolina Press)
Vijay Prashad: "Karine V. Walther's considerable book, Sacred Interests, locates the expansion of U.S. power squarely in resilient ideologies of religious and colonial thought. The narrative travels from off the Barbary Coast to the interior of Anatolia, from the desks of the Virginia elite to the backwaters of the Moros. We have here the prehistory of today's wars of humanitarian intervention--rooted as they are in fantastic notions of Islam and of American innocence. Sacred Interests is a tremendous achievement that deserves wide readership."

Barbara Mann Wall, Into Africa: A Transnational History of Catholic Medical Missions and Social Change (Rutgers University Press)
From the publisher: "Barbra Mann Wall offers a transnational history that reveals how Catholic medical and nursing sisters established relationships between local and international groups, sparking an exchange of ideas that crossed national, religious, gender, and political boundaries. Both a nurse and a historian, Wall explores this intersection of religion, medicine, gender, race, and politics in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the years following World War II, a period when European colonial rule was ending and Africans were building new governments, health care institutions, and education systems."

Gary Dorrien, The New Abolition: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel (Yale University Press)
Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.: "Gary Dorrien’s impressively researched and riveting account of W. E. B. Du Bois and the black social gospel is the most comprehensive treatment of an extremely crucial, yet woefully overlooked dimension of black political history and the role of black churches and religious thinkers within it. This book is truly a gift.”

Scott W. Gustafson, At the Altar of Wall Street: The Rituals, Myths, Theologies, Sacraments, and Mission of the Religion Known as the Modern Global Economy (Eerdmans)
Harvey Cox: "It is daily becoming more clear that consumer capitalism is not just an economic system. It is a fully developed culture and, as Gustafson shows in this skillfully researched book, a full-blown religion. Replete with its own rituals, doctrines, sacraments, and theology, Economics has become the most powerful alternative to Christianity, all the more threatening because few people recognize its spiritual pretensions. No one who reads this extraordinary account will be able to think about religion or economics in the same way again."

Joseph S. Moore, Founding Sins: How a Group of Antislavery Radicals Fought to Put Christ into the Constitution (Oxford University Press)
Edward Blum: "The Covenanters are the most important forgotten religious sect in United States history. Long before political conservatives complained that the nation was not a Christian one, Covenanters did so. Long before many white Christians denounced slavery and racism, Covenanters did so. Founding Sins is a story that needs to be remembered: how these Scotch-Irish Presbyterians challenged every facet of the nation's religion and politics, its system of slavery, and its failures of freedom. This is an extraordinary book."

Ted Merwin, Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli (NYU Press)
Darra Goldstein: "Pastrami on Rye is both a celebration of the deli and an elegy for it. This lively book traces the deli’s evolution from dynamic gathering place to kitschy tourist site, peppered with hefty doses of popular culture. Merwin tells a fascinating story of cultural and culinary assimilation as he explores what it means to be modern and American."

Claire McLisky, Daniel Midena, and Karen Vallgårda, eds., Emotions and Christian Missions: Historical Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan)
From the publisher: "This collection explores the ways in which emotions were conceptualised and practised in Christian mission contexts from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, in locations as diverse as North America, the Philippines, India, China, the Congo, Germany, Papua New Guinea, Greenland and Australia. Nine chapters by leading scholars in the field draw on innovative theoretical perspectives to show how emotional practices such as prayer, tears, and Methodist 'shouting', and feelings such as pity, joy and frustration, shaped relationships between missionaries, prospective converts, new Christians, and mission supporters at 'home', often in distinctly hierarchical ways."


Dave Hall, A Faded Legacy: Amy Brown Lyman and Mormon Women's Activism, 1872-1959 (University of Utah Press)
From the publisher: "Amy Brown Lyman was a leader once admired for her dynamic personality, her inspiring public addresses, and for her remarkable vision of what Mormon women in the Relief Society could achieve. Yet today her name is barely known. This volume introduces her to a new generation, showing how the accomplishments of Lyman and her peers benefitted subsequent generations."

Ellen Eisenberg, Embracing a Western Identity: Jewish Oregonians, 1849-1950 (Oregon State University Press)
From the publisher: "Ellen Eisenberg places Jewish history in the larger context of western narratives, challenging the traditional view that the 'authentic' North American Jewish experience stems from New York. The westward paths of Jewish Oregonians and their experiences of place shaped the communities, institutions, and identities they created, distinguishing them from other American Jewish communities. Eisenberg traces the Oregon Jewish experience from its pioneer beginnings in the midnineteenth century to the highly concentrated Portland communities of the mid-twentieth century."

Anderson Blanton, Hittin' the Prayer Bones: Materiality of Spirit in the Pentecostal South (University of North Carolina Press)
Kathleen Stewart: ""A brilliant and deeply fascinating analysis of Appalachian iconoclastic Pentecostal mystical practice. Beautifully written and cogently argued, Anderson Blanton's book has far-ranging significance for contemporary trends in cultural theory. It carefully and powerfully guides the reader through dense (and riveting) terrains of daily religious life and into truly exciting philosophical, religious, and poetic forms of recognition of the power of messages resounding in the ordinary world."

Kim Tolley, Heading South to Teach: The World of Susan Nye Hutchison, 1815-1845 (University of North Carolina Press)
Lucia McMahon: "...vividly and effectively brings Susan Nye Hutchison's career, communities, and writings to life in an engaging fashion, shedding new light on women's religious, educational, professional, marital, and communal experiences in nineteenth-century America.""

Daniel Ramírez, Migrating Faith: Pentecostalism in the United States and Mexico in the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press)
Arlene Sánchez-Walsh: "Daniel Ramírez's groundbreaking work will invigorate Latino religious history with the study of culture, art, and music. Adding many rich, deep layers, Migrating Faith without a doubt will become a standard text in the field of Latino religious history.""

Elizabeth Bouldin, Women Prophets and Radical Protestantism in the British Atlantic World, 1640-1730 (Cambridge University Press)
From the publisher: "This book examines the stories of radical Protestant women who prophesied between the British Civil Wars and the Great Awakening. It explores how women prophets shaped religious and civic communities in the British Atlantic world by invoking claims of chosenness. Elizabeth Bouldin interweaves detailed individual studies with analysis that summarizes trends and patterns among women prophets from a variety of backgrounds throughout the British Isles, colonial North America, and continental Europe."

Seth Dowland, Family Values and the Rise of the Christian Right (University of Pennsylvania Press)
Darren Dochuk: "'Family Values' politics is omnipresent in the history and rhetoric (and study) of the Christian Right, yet what exactly does it mean, and how, why, and when did it gain such remarkable traction? Weaving a boldly and beautifully written story through the many stages of evangelical family life, grassroots activism, advocacy, and public policy, Seth Dowland tells us. His is the definitive study of a movement—a phenomenon—that has shaped modern American politics in its image."

D. Paul Sullins, Keeping the Vow: The Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "In this fascinating book, D. Paul Sullins brings to light the untold stories of these curious creatures: married Catholic priests. Sullins explores their day-to-day lives, their journey to Catholicism, and their views on issues important to the Church....Drawing on over 115 interviews with priests and their wives, as well as unprecedented access to the U.S. records of the Pastoral Provision, Keeping the Vow offers the first comprehensive look at these families and their unusual and difficult journey from Anglicanism to Catholicism."

David Mislin, Saving Faith: Making Religious Pluralism an American Value at the Dawn of the Secular Age (Cornell University Press)
Andrew Preston: "Saving Faith is a wonderful book that explores how establishment Protestants wrestled with the emergence of secularism, atheism, agnosticism, and pluralism in nineteenth-century America. David Mislin's focus is predominantly on the clergy and other leaders of the liberal mainline churches, and so he has produced an intellectual history as well as a political and religious history. In weaving together these three closely related but distinct subfields, Mislin has produced a work of remarkable originality and insight."

Stewart M. Hoover and Curtis D. Coats, Does God Make the Man? Media, Religion, and the Crisis of Masculinity (NYU Press)
Salley Promey: "Focuses the lenses of feminist analysis on critical cultural audience studies. Hoover and Coats’s research is deeply invested in the work accomplished at the nexus of media, religion, and gender, most specifically examining the shape of twenty-first-century white, middle-class, heterosexual American masculinities. In this illuminating book, media and religion coexist as alternative and intersecting symbolic worlds. They contribute to the construction of a contemporary 'elemental' masculinity that elicits and deploys commitments to vocations of 'provision, protection, and purpose.' This is a model volume with important and surprising conclusions!"

Alex Mar, Witches of America (Sarah Crichton Books)
From the publisher: "Witches of America follows Mar on her immersive five-year trip into the occult, charting modern Paganism from its roots in 1950s England to its current American mecca in the San Francisco Bay Area; from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world's most influential magical societies. Along the way she takes part in dozens of rituals and becomes involved with a wild array of characters..."

Suzanne Geissler, God and Sea Power: The Influence of Religion on Alfred Thayer Mahan (Naval Institute Press)
From the publisher: "Mahan was a professing Christian who took his faith with the utmost seriousness, and as a result, his worldview was inherently Christian. He wrote and spoke extensively on religious issues, a point frequently ignored by many historians. This is a fundamental mistake, for a deeper and more accurate understanding of Mahan as a person and as a naval theorist can be gained by a meaningful examination of his religious beliefs. God and Sea Power is the first work to examine in a detailed and contextual way how Mahan's faith influenced his views on war, politics, and foreign relations."

Mark A. Noll, In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "One of the foremost scholars of American Christianity, Mark Noll brings a wealth of research and wisdom to In the Beginning Was the Word, providing a sweeping, engaging, and insightful survey of the relationship between the Bible and public issues from the beginning of European settlement. A seminal new work from a world-class scholar, this book offers a fresh account of the contested, sometimes ambiguous, but definite biblical roots of American history."

Patricia Appelbaum, St. Francis of America: How a Thirteenth-Century Friar Became America's Most Popular Saint (University of North Carolina Press)
David Morgan: "A fascinating trip through American cultural history.  St. Francis is a wonderful way to see how popular and elite are deftly interwoven into the life-worlds of actual people. A welcome scrutiny of the literary and material culture surrounding a figure who is able to inspire reformers, moralists, and consumers alike. There is no other study of Francis like this one."

David M. Krueger, Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America (University of Minnesota Press)
From the publisher: "David M. Krueger takes an in-depth look at a legend that held tremendous power in one corner of Minnesota, helping to define both a community’s and a state’s identity for decades...Krueger demonstrates how the resilient belief in the Rune Stone is a form of civil religion, with aspects that defy logic but illustrate how communities characterize themselves. He reveals something unique about America’s preoccupation with divine right and its troubled way of coming to terms with the history of the continent’s first residents."

Robert Wuthnow, Inventing American Religion: Polls, Surveys, and the Tenuous Quest for a Nation's Faith (Oxford University Press)
Courtney Bender: "Inventing American Religion is an important contribution to our expanding map of twentieth-century American culture and religious life, framing a way to understand how public understandings of 'American religion' were shaped and continue to be influenced by the rise of surveys and public polling. Wuthnow brings both a sociological insider's first-hand knowledge of the promises and problems of polling and survey techniques, and an historian's interest in the complexity of American religious life to this lively study. The result is a rich, rewarding, and thought-provoking book about the complex role that polling and surveys continue to play in shaping Americans' public understandings of what it means to be religious."

Adam J. Powell, Irenaeus, Joseph Smith, and God-Making Heresy (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press)
From the publisher: "...seeks both to demonstrate the salience of 'heresy' as a tool for analyzing instances of religious conflict far beyond the borders of traditional historical theology and to illuminate the apparent affinity for deification exhibited by some persecuted religious movements. To these ends, the book argues for a sociologically-informed redefinition of heresy as religiously-motivated opposition and applies the resulting concept to the historical cases of second-century Christians and nineteenth-century Mormons."

Kevin M. Lowe, Baptized with the Soil: Christian Agrarians and the Crusade for Rural America (Oxford University Press)
Elesha Coffman: "Long before Silent Spring or the Community Supported Agriculture phenomenon, mainline Protestant agrarians fought for the health of the land, the vitality of rural congregations, and the realization of God's kingdom on earth. Kevin M. Lowe's sensitive and unique study reminds us of their work and demonstrates ways in which spheres often deemed antithetical-Christianity and environmentalism, farm life and modernity, theology and public policy-shared a fruitful past."

Sammy Alfaro and Néstor Medina, eds., Pentecostals and Charismatics in Latin America and Latino Communities (Palgrave Macmillan)
From the publisher: "This book investigates the social, cultural, intersecting concerns and challenges faced by Pentecostal-charismatics in Latin America and among Latinos in the United States and Canada, groups that share profound roots. Contributors highlight the interweaving of renewal theological traditions with various other disciplines, including ethics, sociology, history, political theory, and migration studies."

Margaret Bendroth, The Last Puritans: Mainline Protestants and the Power of the Past (University of North Carolina Press)
David Hollinger: "...a splendid contribution to American religious history. Analyzing the doings of Congregationalists from early seventeenth-century New England through the present, Margaret Bendroth demonstrates how the denomination most symbolically integrated into American origins--the Mayflower, the City on a Hill, Thanksgiving and all that--became entrapped by those origins but then parlayed by its iconic status into a style of Protestantism that could function in an increasingly plural society."

Lyn Millner, The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet (University Press of Florida)
From the publisher: "For five days in December 1908 the body of Cyrus Teed lay in a bathtub at a beach house just south of Fort Myers, Florida. His followers, the Koreshans, waited for signs that he was coming back to life. They watched hieroglyphics emerge on his skin and observed what looked like the formation of a third arm. They saw his belly fall and rise with breath, even though his swollen tongue sealed his mouth. As his corpse turned black, they declared that their leader was transforming into the Egyptian god Horus.....In The Allure of Immortality, Lyn Millner weaves the many bizarre strands of Teed’s life and those of his followers into a riveting story of angels, conmen, angry husbands, yellow journalism, and ultimately, hope."

Owen Strachan, Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement (Zondervan)
From the publisher: "The first major study to draw upon unknown or neglected sources, as well as original interviews with figures like Billy Graham, Awakening the Evangelical Mind uniquely tells the engaging story of how evangelicalism developed as an intellectual movement in the middle of the 20th century. Beginning with the life of Harold Ockenga, Strachan shows how Ockenga brought together a small community of Christian scholars at Harvard University in the 1940s who agitated for a reloaded Christian intellect."

Edward R. Crowther and Keith Harper, eds., Between Fetters and Freedom: African American Baptists since Emancipation (Mercer University Press)
From the publisher: "In the wake of the American Civil War, freed people of color who had either worshipped with their former masters or observed their faith privately now enjoyed a measure of freedom and self-determination. Baptist ranks swelled as new converts joined the faithful in building new churches, organizing mission and educational societies, and openly exercising their faith. In short, it was a rich, diverse experience that merits further inquiry. The essays in Between Fetters and Freedom explore a number of issues bearing on post-Civil War African American Baptists."

Christel J. Manning, Losing Our Religion: How Unaffiliated Parents Are Raising Their Children (NYU Press)
Mark Silk: “The 'rise of the Nones' has been the decade's most important story about religion in America, but we know very little about what distinguishes the religiously unaffiliated from other Americans. In this sophisticated yet accessible qualitative study, Christel Manning provides a fascinating view of how None parents negotiate the moral and spiritual upbringing of their children.”

Terry Lindvall, God Mocks: A History of Religious Satire from the Hebrew Prophets to Stephen Colbert (NYU Press)
William D. Romanowski: "Terry Lindvall’s lively and witty prose is perfect for God Mocks, an engaging and fascinating history of the unexpectedly comical ways that prophets and preachers, artists and writers have exposed the sins and foibles of the saints across the ages. This broad and creative study cleverly probes the lighter side of human depravity to reveal how much satirical discourse has always been vital to the redemptive (and oft times entertaining) task of prophetic consciousness raising."

Andrea E. Frohne, The African Burial Ground in New York City: Memory, Spirituality, and Space (Syracuse University Press)
From the press: "Frohne narrates the story of the African Burial Ground and the controversies surrounding urban commemoration. She analyzes both its colonial and contemporary representations, drawing on colonial-era maps, prints, and land surveys to illuminate the forgotten and hidden visual histories of a mostly enslaved population buried in the African Burial Ground. Today, personal offerings and commemorative artworks, many of which incorporate traditional African and diasporic arts and religions, pay tribute to the ancestors and the sacred space. Tracing the history and identity of the area from a forgotten site to a contested and negotiated space, Frohne situates the burial ground within the context of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century race relations in New York City to reveal its enduring presence as a spiritual place."

Diana L. Linden, Ben Shahn's New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene (Wayne State University Press)
Eric Foner: "In this book, Ben Shahn’s Depression-era murals finally receive the sustained and sympathetic analysis they so richly deserve. Deftly interweaving these works with his Jewish identity and the period's outspoken radicalism, Diana Linden helps us to view in new ways Shahn's evolution as an artist and to appreciate his artistic achievement."

Crawford Gribben and R. Scott Spurlock, eds., Puritans and Catholics in the Trans-Atlantic World 1600-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan)
From the publisher: "...the Atlantic experience of puritans and Catholics could be much less bifurcated than some of the established scholarly narratives have suggested: puritans and Catholics could co-exist within the same trans-Atlantic families; Catholics could prosper, just as puritans could experience financial decline; and Catholics and puritans could adopt, and exchange, similar kinds of belief structures and practical arrangements, even to the extent of being mistaken for each other."

Leland Ryken, J.I. Packer: An Evangelical Life (Crossway)
Mark Noll: “This book offers a full and balanced portrait of a diligent and faithful theologian. But because J. I. Packer’s theology has always been pastoral, practical, catechetical, and eminently readable—instead of recondite, esoteric, or merely academic—it is appropriate that this welcome volume is itself down-to-earth, accessible, and reader friendly. Leland Ryken, as a veteran student of the Puritans, is the ideal author to write about the most influential Puritan of our time.”

David Shepherd, ed. The Silents of Jesus in the Early Cinema (Routledge)
From the publisher: "Drawing upon rarely seen archival footage and the work of the era’s most important directors, such as Alice Guy, Ferdinand Zecca, Sidney Olcott, D.W. Griffith, and C.B. DeMille, this volume offers a representative survey of the Silents of Jesus, illustrating the ways in which a host of cinematic Saviors not only shaped the cinema, but were shaped by it."


Barbara Ryan and Milette Shamir, eds.,  Bigger Than Ben-Hur: The Book, Its Adaptations, and Their Audiences (Syracuse University Press)
Joan Shelley Rubin: “A wonderful contribution to the study of American popular culture, and especially valuable to scholars interested in reception across genres. Taken together, these essays beautifully illustrate the multiple dimensions—literary, religious, historical —of Wallace’s text, illuminating larger issues of appropriation in the process.”

Dale Soden, Outsiders in a Promised Land: Religious Activists in Pacific Northwest History (Oregon State University Press)
From the publisher: "...explores the role that religious activists have played in shaping the culture of the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Washington and Oregon, from the middle of the 19th century onward....a meticulously researched, comprehensive treatment of religion in Pacific Northwest public life. The first book of its kind, it is destined to be an essential reference for scholars, activists, and religious leaders of all faiths."

Stephen LeDrew, The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "...outlines the essential political tension at the heart of the atheist movement. The New Atheism, LeDrew shows, is part of a tradition of atheist thought and activism that promotes individualism and scientific authority, which puts it at odds with atheist groups that are motivated by humanistic ethics and social justice. LeDrew draws on public relations campaigns, publications, podcasts, and in-depth interviews to explore the belief systems, internal logics, and self-contradictions of the people who consider themselves to be atheists."

Reid L. Neilson and Matthew J. Grow, eds., From the Outside Looking In: Essays on Mormon History, Theology, and Culture (Oxford University Press)
Grant Wacker: ""This anthology of recent Tanner Lectures represents cutting edge scholarship about the Mormon experience in America and worldwide. All of the authors are distinguished scholars who write from outside the tradition. Their perspective combines the analytic tools of the observer with the empathetic sensibilities of the believer. Taken together, they provide a plethora of insights about the growth, identity, and position of the largest and perhaps most important of the homegrown American religious movements."

Phillip Luke Sinitiere, Salvation with a Smile: Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, and American Christianity (NYU Press)
Paul Harvey: "Sinitiere's outstanding book on Joel Osteen and his Lakewood Church combines the best of historical narrative, ethnographic observation and analysis, and an empathetic but critically acute scholarly understanding. The result is a work that explains and interprets one of America's foremost religious celebrities, the `charismatic core’ of his church, and the combination of positive thinking and positive confession which form his message."

Asbjorn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen, The Invention of Satanism (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "This book, written by three experts in the field of Satanism studies, examines Satanism as a contemporary movement in continuous dialogue with popular culture, aiding as a breeding ground for other new religious movements. Shifting the focus from mythology to meaning-making, this is a book about the invention of Satanism among self-declared religious Satanists."

Jonathan H. Ebel, G.I. Messiahs: Soldiering, War, and American Civil Religion (Yale University Press)
Tracy Fessenden: “With humility, grace, and stunning knowledge, Jonathan Ebel shows how soldiers from the Great War to the War on Terror have fought under and sometimes against the burden of civil religious incarnation. From its venturesome opening sentence to its shattering final lines, GI Messiahs is a breathtaking achievement.”

Douglas A. Sweeney, Edwards the Exegete: Biblical Interpretation and Anglo-Protestant Culture on the Edge of the Enlightenment (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "Douglas A. Sweeney fills this lacuna by exploring his exegesis and its significance for Christian thought and intellectual history. After reconstructing Edwards' lost exegetical world and describing his place within it, Sweeney summarizes his four main approaches to the Bible (canonical, Christological, redemptive-historical, and pedagogical) and analyzes his work on selected biblical themes that illustrate these four approaches-focusing on material that is emblematic of Edwards' larger interests as a scholar. Sweeney compares his work to that of his most frequent interlocutors and places it in the context of the history of exegesis, challenging preconceived notions about the state of Christianity in the age of the Enlightenment."

Crystal Downing, Salvation from Cinema: The Medium is the Message (Routledge)
From the publisher: "...offers something new to the burgeoning field of "religion and film": the religious significance of film technique. Discussing the history of both cinematic devices and film theory, Crystal Downing argues that attention to the material medium echoes Christian doctrine about the materiality of Christ’s body as the medium of salvation. Downing cites Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu perspectives on film in order to compare and clarify the significance of medium within the frameworks of multiple traditions."

Lawrence J. McAndrews, Refuge in the Lord: Catholics, Presidents, and the Politics of Immigration, 1981-2013 (Catholic University of America Press)
Timothy Matovina: "A comprehensive, encyclopedic rendering of the topic that will make a great reference tool for anyone who wants to look up specific legislative efforts at immigration reform."

Darron T. Smith, When Race, Religion, and Sport Collide: Black Athletes at BYU and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield)
David Leonard: "Offering a powerful discussion of college sports, blackness, and whiteness, Smith chronicles the story of black students at BYU. Using sports as a staging ground, despite claims of post-raciality and colorblindness, Smith offers a powerful discussion of race within and beyond the sporting fields. Interdisciplinary at its core, When Race, Religion, and Sport Collide brings together discussions of race and Mormonism, the revolt of the black athlete, contemporary college sports, and new racism."

Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Hannah Wheelwright, eds. Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (Oxford University Press)
Kathleen Flake: "Spanning the Second Wave to the present wave of the women's movement, these essays constitute a significant body of work on the religious implications of feminism. Their usual omission from feminist and Mormon history makes collection of them here all the more welcome and necessary. They are, indeed, 'essential.' The study of contemporary Mormonism should not be attempted without them."

Neil J. Young, We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics (Oxford University Press)
Molly Worthen: "This is an important book. Neil Young has dug deep into the familiar narrative of the rise of the Religious Right to show that the collaboration of evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons was not the smooth and inevitable story of political expediency that many have assumed it was. With subtlety and empathy, Young takes us through the theological and cultural debates that divided each of these communities and compelled many in their ranks to resist political pressure to join forces in the culture wars--and he helps us understand the complex alliance that finally emerged."

Tracy Trothen, Winning the Race? Religion, Hope, and Reshaping the Sport Enhancement Debate (Mercer University Press)
From the publisher: "Through an examination of literature on the relationship between sport, religion and spirituality, hope emerges as a compelling feature of sport and a significant part of what makes sport meaningful. Trothen explores four main locations of hope in sport: winning, losing, and anticipation; star athletes; perfect moments; and relational embodiment, and examines how these locations intersect with the enhancement debate. Using Christian theological reflection to problematize the four main approaches to the ethical question of enhancement use in elite sport, and the underlying values informing these approaches, Trothen asks: How will hope in sport potentially be affected by techno-science? And how might a valuing of sports' spiritual dimension, and particularly hope, reshape the sport enhancement debate?"

Antoinette Sutto, Loyal Protestants and Dangerous Papists: Maryland and the Politics of Religion in the English Atlantic, 1630-1690 (University of Virginia Press)
James Rice: " original and substantial contribution to early American history. Although Sutto focuses on a single province, her treatment of it is anything but provincial. Within a framework of the English Atlantic, Sutto shows that seventeenth-century ideas about party, faction, and interests caused people in England and Maryland to attribute their political disagreements to malicious individuals rather than considering them to be legitimate differences of opinion over issues of common interest. This argument adds an important new dimension to our understanding of the period."

John D. Wilsey, American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea (IVP Academic)
Anne Blankenship: "Wilsey provides the most up-to-date history of the concept of American exceptionalism available and shows an astute understanding of its relationship to civil religion. He argues for the adaptation of a pluralistic exceptionalism based on the nation's continuing struggle for and commitment to equality, freedom and justice, rejecting the frequently invoked model that frames America as an innocent nation chosen and commissioned by God."

Kodi A. Roberts, Voodoo and Power: The Politics of Religion in New Orleans 1881-1940 (Louisiana State University Press)
From the publisher: "The racialized and exoticized cult of Voodoo occupies a central place in the popular image of the Crescent City. But as Kodi A. Roberts argues in Voodoo and Power, the religion was not a monolithic tradition handed down from African ancestors to their American-born descendants. Instead, a much more complicated patchwork of influences created New Orleans Voodoo, allowing it to move across boundaries of race, class, and gender. By employing late nineteenth and early twentieth-century first-hand accounts of Voodoo practitioners and their rituals, Roberts provides a nuanced understanding of who practiced Voodoo and why."

Bryon C. Andreasen, Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country (Southern Illinois University Press)
From the publisher: "Although they inhabited different political, social, and cultural arenas, Abraham Lincoln and the pioneer generation of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, shared the same nineteenth-century world. Bryon C. Andreasen’s Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country relates more than thirty fascinating and surprising stories that show how the lives of Lincoln and the Mormons intersected."

Michael Schuck and John Crowley-Buck, eds., Democracy, Culture, Catholicism: Voices from Four Continents (Fordham University Press)
From the publisher: "Compiling scholarly essays from a unique three-year Democracy, Culture and Catholicism International Research Project, Democracy, Culture, Catholicism richly articulates the diverse and dynamic interplay of democracy, culture, and Catholicism in the contemporary world. The twenty-five essays from four extremely diverse cultures—those of Indonesia, Lithuania, Peru, and the United States—explore the relationship between democracy and Catholicism from several perspectives, including historical and cultural analysis, political theory and conflict resolution, social movements and Catholic social thought."

Matthew L. Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst, eds., The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History (University of Illinois Press)
Laurie Maffly-Kipp: "Unique in its presentation of primary documents that are well explained and contextualized. Many are extremely important for our understanding of the historical trajectory of LDS thinking about African Americans and the priesthood."

Mike McMullen, The Bahá’ís of America: The Growth of a Religious Movement (NYU Press)
From the publisher: "As the story of a relatively new religious movement, the history of the Bahá’ís in America in the 20th and early 21st centuries offers a case study of institutional maturation, showcasing the community’s efforts to weather conflict and achieve steady growth. While much scholarly attention has been paid to extremist religious movements, this book highlights a religious movement that promotes the idea of the unity of all religions. Mike McMullen traces the hard work of the Bahá’ís’ leadership and congregants to achieve their high level of diversity and manage to grow so successfully in America."

Elèna Mortara, Writing for Justice: Victor Séjour, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, and the Age of Transatlantic Emancipations (Dartmouth College Press)
From the publisher: "Elèna Mortara presents a study of the cultural and intellectual atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, through close readings of the life and work of Victor Séjour, an expat American Creole from New Orleans living in Paris. Séjour penned La Tireuse de cartes (The Fortune-Teller, 1859), a popular play based on the famed Mortara case....The enormous amount of public attention received by the case reveals an era of underappreciated transatlantic intellectual exchange, in which an African American writer used notions of emancipation in religious as well as racial terms, linking the plight of blacks in America to that of Jews in Europe, and to the larger battles for freedom and nationhood advancing across the continent."

Joseph T. Reiff, Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi's Closed Society (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "The dominant narrative of the role of white citizens and the white church in Mississippi's civil rights era focuses on their intense resistance to change. The "Born of Conviction" statement, signed by twenty-eight white Methodist pastors and published in the Mississippi Methodist Advocate on January 2, 1963, offered an alternative witness to the segregationist party line. Calling for freedom of the pulpit and reminding readers of the Methodist Discipline's claim that the teachings of Jesus permit "no discrimination because of race, color, or creed," the pastors sought to speak to and for a mostly silent yet significant minority of Mississippians, and to lead white Methodists to join the conversation on the need for racial justice....Born of Conviction tells the story of "the Twenty-Eight," illuminating the impact on the larger culture of this attempt by white clergy to support race relations change."

Alison Collis Greene, No Depression in Heaven: Religion and the Great Depression in the Mississippi Delta (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "When Roosevelt promised a new deal for the "forgotten man," Americans cheered, and when he took office, churches and private agencies gratefully turned much of the responsibility for welfare and social reform over to the state. Yet, argues historian Allison Collis Greene, Roosevelt's New Deal threatened plantation capitalism even while bending to it. Black southern churches worked to secure benefits for their own communities while white churches divided over loyalties to Roosevelt and Jim Crow. Frustrated by their failure and fractured by divisions over the New Deal, leaders in the major white Protestant denominations surrendered their moral authority in the South. Although the Protestant establishment retained a central role in American life for decades after the Depression, its slip from power made room for upstart Pentecostals and independent evangelicals, who emphasized personal rather than social salvation."

Christopher M. Driscoll, White Lies: Race and Uncertainty in the Twilight of American Religion (Routledge)
Edward Blum: "Throughout American history, most white folk have refused to acknowledge the depth, breadth, and power of whiteness. But not Chris Driscoll. In this provocative and searching book, he looks into the heart of whiteness and finds what so many women and men of color have seen before: pain, death, and deception. Part history, part philosophy, and part theology, White Lies contains loads of truth."

Markku Ruotsila, Fighting Fundamentalist: Carl McIntire and the Politicization of American Fundamentalism (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "Markku Ruotsila's Fighting Fundamentalist, the first scholarly biography of McIntire, peels off the accumulated layers of caricature and makes a case for restoring McIntire to his place as one of the most consequential religious leaders in the twentieth-century United States. The book traces McIntire's life from his early twentieth-century childhood in Oklahoma to his death in 2002. From his discipleship under J. Gresham Machen during the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, through his fifty-year pastorate in Collingswood, NJ, and his presidency of the International Council of Christian Churches, McIntire--Ruotsila shows--stands out as the most important fundamentalist of his time."


Jay Miller, Ancestral Mounds: Vitality and Volatility of Native America (University of Nebraska Press)
From the publisher: "Ancestral Mounds deconstructs earthen mounds and myths in examining their importance in contemporary Native communities. Drawing on ethnographic and archaeological studies, Jay Miller explores the wide-ranging themes and variations of mounds, from those built thousands of years ago to contemporary mounds, focusing on Native southeastern and Oklahoma towns. Native peoples continue to build and refurbish mounds each summer as part of their New Year’s celebrations to honor and give thanks for ripening maize and other crops and to offer public atonement. The mound is the heart of the Native community, which is sustained by song, dance, labor, and prayer."

Anna Su, Exporting Freedom: Religious Liberty and American Power (Harvard University Press)
From the publisher: "Religious freedom is widely recognized today as a basic human right, guaranteed by nearly all national constitutions. Exporting Freedom charts the rise of religious freedom as an ideal firmly enshrined in international law and shows how America’s promotion of the cause of individuals worldwide to freely practice their faith advanced its ascent as a global power."

Oliver D. Crisp, Jonathan Edwards among the Theologians (Eerdmans)
From the publisher: "Though Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is widely regarded as America's most important theologian, very few people are actually familiar with his theology. In Jonathan Edwards among the Theologians Oliver Crisp helpfully elucidates key themes in Edwards's thought....What emerges from Crisp's study is a complex, multifaceted picture of Edwards as a highly original, significant thinker who sometimes pressed at the very limits of orthodoxy and whose theological thought remains strikingly relevant today."

Randall Balmer and Jana Riess, eds. Mormonism and American Politics (Columbia University Press)
Patrick Mason: "This volume offers the best single collection of essays on Mormonism and American politics, a topic that is both rich and deserving of sustained scholarly treatment."

Gretchen Buggeln, The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar America (University of Minnesota Press)
From the publisher: "Drawing on the architectural record, church archives, and oral histories, The Suburban Church focuses on collaborations between architects Edward D. Dart, Edward A. Sövik, Charles E. Stade, and seventy-five congregations. By telling the stories behind their modernist churches, the book describes how the buildings both reflected and shaped developments in postwar religion—its ecumenism, optimism, and liturgical innovation, as well as its fears about staying relevant during a time of vast cultural, social, and demographic change."

Stuart A. Wright and Susan J. Palmer, Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "Following the Texas state raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints in 2008, authors Stuart Wright and Susan Palmer decided to study these raids in the aggregate--rather than as individual cases--by collecting data on raids that have taken place over the last six decades....Even they were surprised at their findings; there were far more raids than expected, and the vast majority of them had occurred since 1990, reflecting a sharp, almost exponential increase...In Storming Zion, Wright and Palmer argue that the increased use of these high-risk and extreme types of enforcement corresponds to expanded organization and initiatives by opponents of unconventional religions."

Carol B. Duncan and Alton B. Pollard, eds., The Black Church Studies Reader (Palgrave Macmillan)
From the publisher: "The Black Church Studies Reader addresses the depth and breadth of Black theological studies, from Biblical studies and ethics to homiletics and pastoral care. The book examines salient themes of social and religious significance such as gender, sexuality, race, social class, health care, and public policy. While the volume centers around African American experiences and studies, it also attends to broader African continental and Diasporan religious contexts."

Cedric C. Johnson, Race, Religion, and Resilience in the Neoliberal Age (Palgrave Macmillan)
From the publisher: "This book presents a study of the rise of American neoliberalism in the aftermath of the modern Civil Rights movement, paying particular attention to the traumatic impact of the neoliberal age on countless African Americans. Author Cedric C. Johnson takes a close look at the manner in which American neoliberalism has been able to preserve, articulate, and exploit constructions of race-based difference."

Sylvia Barack Fishman, Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution (Brandeis University Press)
From the publisher: "Sylvia Barack Fishman gathers the work of social historians and legal scholars who study transformations in the intimate realms of partnering and family construction among Jews....Together, these essays demonstrate how changes in the understanding of male and female roles and expectations over the past few decades have contributed to a social revolution with profound—and paradoxical—effects on partnering, marriage, and family formation."

Mark Richard, Not a Catholic Nation: The Ku Klux Klan Confronts New England in the 1920s (University of Massachusetts Press)
James T. Fisher: "Not a Catholic Nation is both original and illuminated by some of the most creative approaches found in recent scholarship in U.S. Catholic history. By opening with an account of the Klan’s activities in the state featuring the most extensive boundary with Canada, Richard engages early the trans-national dimension of his story, a major feature of religious and ethnic conflict in the United States but one which has rarely been examined so intimately."

Michael G. Thompson, For God and Globe: Christian Internationalism in the United States between the Great War and the Cold War (Cornell University Press)
Douglas Rossinow: "For God and Globe is a wonderfully fresh and vital work on Protestant internationalism, in all its political complexity, from the end of World War I to the end of World War II and the cusp of the Cold War. Michael G. Thompson reacquaints us with a lost world of religious internationalism that we really need to remember. Thompson's coverage of the major international ecumenical meetings in the 1920s and 1930s is superb and also truly important."

William B. Kurtz, Excommunicated from the Union: How the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America (Fordham University Press)
George Rable: "A significant contribution to scholarship on both American Catholicism and the American Civil War. Excommunicated from the Union fills a large gap in the literature, offering fresh material on Catholic chaplains, giving valuable attention to both the English and foreign-language Catholic press and drawing provocative conclusions about the war's impact on anti-Catholic prejudice."

C. Lynn Carr, A Year in White: Cultural Newcomers to Lukumi and Santería in the United States (Rutgers University Press)
From the publisher: "In the Afro-Cuban Lukumi religious tradition—more commonly known in the United States as Santería—entrants into the priesthood undergo an extraordinary fifty-three-week initiation period. During this time, these novices—called iyawo—endure a host of prohibitions, including most notably wearing exclusively white clothing. In A Year in White, sociologist C. Lynn Carr, who underwent this initiation herself, opens a window on this remarkable year-long religious transformation."

Matthew Avery Sutton and Darren Dochuk, eds., Faith in the New Millennium: The Future of Religion and American Politics (Oxford University Press)
Kevin Kruse: "In this outstanding collection, two leading scholars of religion and politics in America's past have brought together an all-star roster of historians to discuss religion and politics in our present. Brimming with expertise and insights, Faith in the New Millennium is scholarship-in-action at its very finest."

Daniel K. Williams, Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade (Oxford University Press)
From the publisher: "In Defenders of the Unborn, Daniel K. Williams reveals the hidden history of the pro-life movement in America, showing that a cause that many see as reactionary and anti-feminist began as a liberal crusade for human rights....It was because of this grounding in human rights, Williams argues, that the right-to-life movement gained such momentum in the early 1960s. Indeed, pro-lifers were winning the battle before Roe v. Wade changed the course of history. Through a deep investigation of previously untapped archives, Williams presents the untold story of New Deal-era liberals who forged alliances with a diverse array of activists, Republican and Democrat alike, to fight for what they saw as a human rights cause. Provocative and insightful, Defenders of the Unborn is a must-read for anyone who craves a deeper understanding of a highly-charged issue."

A. James Rudin, Pillar of Fire: A Biography of Stephen S. Wise (Texas Tech University Press)
Jonathan D. Sarna: "Stephen S. Wise has been undeservedly neglected in the years since his death. Rabbi Rudin’s fair-minded biography restores this colossus to his well-deserved pedestal. In many ways, this is a one-of-a-kind biography of a one-of-a-kind rabbi."


Judith Weisenfeld at: August 20, 2015 at 9:13 AM said...

Marla Frederick's *Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global* (Stanford) should be out soon.

Paul Putz at: August 20, 2015 at 9:32 AM said...

Thanks Judith. From what I've seen that book has a January 6th release date, so I've got it primed for my next list (coming December 20th).

Judith Weisenfeld at: August 20, 2015 at 9:39 AM said...

I should have known you'd be on top of it!

AdamjPowell at: August 20, 2015 at 9:43 AM said...

Paul, many thanks for including my book on this list! I am actually very excited to be bringing the comparative method to the table of America's religious history in general, and Mormonism in particular (not for the first time, of course).

Paul Putz at: August 20, 2015 at 9:46 AM said...

That's kind of you, but if I ever make a list that doesn't leave out a really important book (or two or three) it will be the first!

Paul Putz at: August 20, 2015 at 9:51 AM said...

Adam, I was happy to include it. It looks like a fascinating project!

Paul Harvey at: August 20, 2015 at 11:46 AM said...


Arlene Sanchez Walsh at: August 20, 2015 at 12:46 PM said...

An excellent list! thanks!

kevinlowe at: August 20, 2015 at 1:42 PM said...

Paul - Thanks for including Baptized with the Soil!

Paul Putz at: August 20, 2015 at 7:42 PM said...

Looking forward to reading it Kevin! Philip Jenkins mentioned your project to me a year or two ago, and I've had it on my radar since.

hillary kaell at: August 24, 2015 at 10:25 AM said...

Super list! And I was pleased to see the reference back to the compelling RAAC forum posts by Kathryn Gin Lum (and Rhys H. Williams and Sylvester Johnson) about deconstructing 'America'. On that note, supplementing Paul's impressively thorough list of US books, I'd love to see someone bring together a few scholars from different places in the Americas to share the 'hot' books they've been reading this year. I'm thinking of work from Quebec since that's what I know best, but of course the field's much larger than that. Whether or not readers of this blog (or RAAC forum) pick up any of those volumes, it would be intriguing to see the spread and introduce us to the tone of other, related conversations on religion among our North/South American colleagues. Paul -- got any grad student friends who'd be up for coordinating the task??

Cara L. Burnidge at: August 24, 2015 at 1:24 PM said...

Thanks Paul for another stellar list. (And thank you to all the authors for giving us wonderful reading material!)

Hillary, what a good idea! If any readers would like to take up Hillary's call, please email me so we can coordinate a guest contribution.

Paul Putz at: August 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM said...

Hillary, that is indeed a wonderful idea. I will try to help spread the word on social media, and hopefully some folks will offer their services and make this happen.

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