Written primarily for undergraduate classes in American religious history and organized chronologically, this new textbook presents the broad scope of the story of religion in the American colonies and the United States. While following certain central narratives, including the long shadow of Puritanism, the competition between revival and reason, and the defining role of racial and ethnic diversity, the book tells the story of American religion in all its historical and moral complexity. To appeal to its broad range of readers, this textbook includes charts, timelines, and suggestions for primary source documents that will lead readers into a deeper engagement with the material. Unlike similar history books, The Story of Religion in America pays careful attention to balancing the story of Christianity with the central contributions of other religions.
This superbly written and well documented volume offers students inside and outside the classroom a fascinating introduction to religion in America. The book surveys traditional themes such as revivalism, religious liberty, denominations, pluralism, and theological disputes, within the larger context immigration, politics, dissent, women's roles and voices, race, and civil rights. Certain primary sources are cited throughout the text, and creatively made available online. – Bill J. Leonard, Professor of Divinity Emeritus, School of Divinity, Wake Forest University
This book tells The Story of Religion in America with clear and concise writing that explores a rich array of primary sources and some of the latest historical scholarship. The narrative balances respect for the realities of the past with frank awareness of contemporary debates to produce a dimensional picture of North American religious thought and experience. Additional strengths of the book include its provision of access to primary documents that connect students to the practice of historical interpretation, as well as the book’s opening sections, which explain why a new history of American religions is needed and important, even and especially when student readers might not have personal religious commitments or background. From the time of Columbus to the COVID-19 era, a plurality of religious ideas and practices have suffused the American landscape against which cultural, economic, political, and social changes have occurred. This thorough, informative, and highly readable account captures that dynamism. – Anne Wills, Chair and Professor of Religious Studies, Davidson College
James Byrd and James Hudnut-Beumler have written a fine and very useful text, The Story of