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Christian Fundamentalism in America: A Cultural History (edition 2012)

by David S. New

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158647,891 (2.57)None
Member:deusvitae
Title:Christian Fundamentalism in America: A Cultural History
Authors:David S. New
Info:Mcfarland (2012), Paperback, 265 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Religious: History

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Christian Fundamentalism in America: A Cultural History by David S. New

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was not quite what I was expecting. The author's research is thorough, but he relies very heavily on secondary sources and lets subjective judgement creep in, which made me much less trustworthy of the arguments in the book. This meant that I did not finish the book, but rather skimmed the last few chapters. Overall, it's probably a good overview for the casual reader, but it didn't meet my expectations of a history book. ( )
  norselordspanishlady | Apr 26, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As an intro to the topic on the cover well done. From a "Cultural History" perspective This book should stimulate independent research on topics not so well known by the reader. I found this an easy read in the sense I take no offense to the author's perspectives that cast light on Christendom fundamentalism. The reality is author's get things right some of the time and make inaccuracies other times and if need be the perceived inaccuracies will be made in an updated edition. The chapters on Koresh, Jim Jones, etc., helped me to understand how people can be prejudiced and even critical of an unfamiliar form of christianity due to the negative outcomes of those examples. Hopefully, strong opinions/arguments will not deter other readers from drawing their own conclusions about the book. ( )
  pre20cenbooks | Apr 16, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An in depth sometimes sometimes confusing but well support exploration of how Christian Fundamentalism started and grows.
  kurtabeard | Feb 5, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A mixed bag. Thoroughly researched. Disjointed but not badly written. Christian fundamentalists and conservatives are not likely to appreciate it. Chapters 1-14 are reasonably objective and historical. At chapter 15, the focus shifts to a series of case studies on the (pre)millenial aspect of fundamentalism and the perceived dangers associated with it. This was not one of the original "five fundamentals" of fundamentalism, but it certainly has become associated with vast majority of fundamentalism in the U.S. The author correctly locates the idea of "inerrancy" as arising from tensions with biblical criticism in the 18th-19th centuries. This extreme variant on authoritative views of scripture - not continuous with Christian history - forming the anchor for the other claims of traditional fundamentalism. His apparent assertion that the rise of fundamentalism has been driven by a millennial focus is oversimplified, though he is correct in identifying this theme as an emphasis throughout the development of current American religious culture. His underlying assertion that the modern dispensational pre-millennial emphasis of fundamentalism is a direct result of early American post-millennialism seems somewhat contradictory. In summary, the book feels unbalanced, unfocused and some conclusions seem hastily drawn despite the thorough research on many topics. The book would have been more appropriately titled: Millenialism and the Rise of American Christian Fundamentalism. ( )
  dossetts | Dec 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
David S. New undertakes to write a "cultural history" of Christian Fundamentalism in America. The first several chapters provide a useful introduction to several notable religious figures in colonial and 18th/19th century America. Included are such figures as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, and William Miller. These are generally well-written and helpful.

Unfortunately, as New gets to the 20th century, he lets his historian's objectivity slip and takes more of the role of a critic. That is fair enough as long as the author is clear in revealing his shift in roles even if it does create an awkward juxtaposition from the first part of the book to the last. More troubling is the fact that New makes assertions that he fails to back up with evidence. The veracity of some of his claims seem highly doubtful (although this reviewer did not devote the time to thoroughly investigate each of them).

If the reader is looking for "ammunition" to combat Fundamentalism, this might be the book for him or her to read from cover to cover. On the other hand, a reader looking for fair-minded analysis could surely find something better.

My rating is two stars -- based almost entirely on the value of the early chapters. ( )
  johnfgaines | Dec 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786470585, Paperback)

Today the United States is plagued with cultural and political polarization--the Reds and the Blues. Because religion has been of great significance in America right from the first colonists who believed themselves to be God's chosen nation, it is not surprising that religion constitutes the basis of today's dichotomy. The recent resurgence of Christian fundamentalism is significant for the future of America as a nation "under God." This book examines the history of conservative American Christianity as it interacts with liberal beliefs. With the Enlightenment, the Puritan sense of mission faded, but was rekindled with the Great Awakening. This religious movement unified the colonies and provided an animating ideal which led to revolution against Britain. But soon after, the forces of liberalism made inroads, and the seeds of division were planted. This balanced account favors neither conservative nor liberal. It is history with a human touch, emphasizing personalities from Jonathan Edwards and William Jennings Bryan to David Koresh and Jim Jones.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:51 -0400)

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