EN 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: "There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America."
Those who believe that the United States is still a genuinely religious country as well as those who think that it is merely sentimental or even superstitious will both find plenty of material for their arguments in this lavishly illustrated and fascinating handbook which examines in detail the crucial significance of Christianity in the life of the American nation.
The text has been compiled by five leading experts in American history with the help of 65 specialist contributors who include such distinguished scholars as Professor Martin E Marty and Professor John Tracy Ellis.
The quality of the specialist contributions has ensured that this particular Lion Handbook is of a higher standard than the four previously published which have covered world religions and Christian history, the Bible and Christian belief.
In this volume general readers as well as students of history are able to trace the development of American Christianity from its roots in Europe and the arrival of French or Spanish missionaries, English Puritans Or Continental Protestants to the electronic Church and women priests, the charismatic renewal and emergance of nonChristian pluralism of the present day.
The book is not ‘. quite encyclopaedic; there is a picture of the Shakers, but they do not seem to be mentioned in the text and do not appear in the index. However, this is one of the very few isolated omissions.
Colonial religion and the Revolution, Indian missions and immigration, black gospel religion and the civil war, revivalism and the social gospel, education and literature, pentecostalism and fundamentalism, liberalism and modernism, the Mormons, Christian Science and Jehovah's Witnesses, the two world wars and subsequent developments as well as other significant movements and the leading individual figures are all described in some detail with extracts from contemporary sources, maps and charts, 350 photographs, many of which are in colour and extensive bibliographies.
I Derek Holmes