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Fundamentalism and American Culture

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  488 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Many American's today are taking note of the surprisingly strong political force that is the religious right. Controversial decisions by the government are met with hundreds of lobbyists, millions of dollars of advertising spending, and a powerful grassroots response. How has the fundamentalist movement managed to resist the pressures of the scientific community and the dr ...more
Paperback, 351 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,221)
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Jacob Aitken
The thesis of this book parallels that of George Marsden's similar book on American culture, Religion and American Culture, that Fundamentalism shaped and was shaped by the surrounding culture. Marsden builds upon the work of earlier historians of Fundamentalism, namely that of Ernest Sandeen's book The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism. Sandeen's thesis is that Fundamentalism is the outgrowth of the "millenarian" movement that developed in late nineteenth-century Amer ...more
Chuck Bonadies
Dec 20, 2011 Chuck Bonadies rated it really liked it
In Fundamentalism and American Culture, Marsden explores the influences of the fundamentalist movement. The author believes that Ernest Sandeen overstates his case, that fundamentalism is an outgrowth of the millenarian movement. With a much wider root system, fundamentalism was a militant evangelical movement that was fighting battles on two fronts. 1) They fought against theological liberalism as it made its way into mainline denominations. 2) They were opposing the alarming changes in the cul ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing
Alex Stroshine
Apr 21, 2015 Alex Stroshine rated it it was amazing
A fundamental book for understanding American fundamentalism and, more broadly, American Christianity and its relationship to the broader culture. The original text covers mostly the period from 1870-1920s but the new expanded edition also offers insights into the evangelicalism and fundamentalism of the late 20th century.
May 25, 2016 Frederick rated it really liked it
This is a remarkable study on the history of the social forces and the political and religious impulses that created American Protestant fundamentalism. I found it particularly interesting in its study of how fundamentalism came into being in the early part of the 20th century as a response to cultural change and the theological liberalism of the mainline churches. It is also interesting to note how vastly different today's fundamentalism is compared to that of 1920 when the term, fundamentalist ...more
Feb 11, 2016 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Important book for Recovering Fundamentalists...and Evangelicals.
Steven Williams
Dec 24, 2015 Steven Williams rated it really liked it
The book provides an historical look at fundamentalism starting from its roots in nineteenth century religious claims: premillennialism, the holiness tradition, evangelicalism (personal relationship with Jesus), and biblical inerrancy. Then it goes on to the forming of The Fundamentals and the attempt of the fundamentalist to take over the mainline churches, and their failure in that endeavor. Finally it provides a look at it's more recent development.

Mardsen's approach is strictly from an hist
Jacob Aitken
The thesis of this book parallels that of George Marsden's similar book on American culture, Religion and American Culture, that Fundamentalism shaped and was shaped by the surrounding culture. Marsden builds upon the work of earlier historians of Fundamentalism, namely that of Ernest Sandeen's book The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism. Sandeen's thesis is that Fundamentalism is the outgrowth of the "millenarian" movement that developed in late nineteenth-century Amer ...more
Sam Hoel
Apr 30, 2012 Sam Hoel rated it really liked it
Like many scholarly works, this book suffers from a bit of wordiness and a certain hesitancy to create a "big picture" narrative for fear of leaving something out. That can be frustrating if you aren't familiar with the subject (the fundamentalist clash with Christian liberalism from 1870-1925), but despite these shortcomings, this book has a lot to offer. It's a fascinating slice of American history that Marsden covers, and his deep and scholarly understanding of Protestant Christianity in Amer ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Phillip rated it really liked it
An excellent discussion of the development of fundamentalism in the nineteenth century through the Scopes Trail of 1925. Not really intended as a popular history, it nevertheless is an approachable book, especially for anyone from one of the religious traditions that he traces, which include the battles and splits among the Presbyterians and Baptists, along with helpful discussions on Christian and Missionary Alliance, Missouri Synod Lutheranism, and the Evangelical Free church among many others ...more
John Mcchesney-young
Dec 24, 2014 John Mcchesney-young rated it really liked it
Good readable history of fundamentalism from its roots in 19th century US to modern times. Although it gets a little dry at times and some readers may not care about Marsden's interaction with earlier scholarship (in particular Sandeen), there are lively quotes from figures like Billy Sunday, who during WW I averred that if you turned hell upside down you would find it stamped "Made in Germany."
Sep 10, 2008 Michael rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in culture and religion
Shelves: religion, history
Gives a good background to understand today's militant fundamentalist's. Special attention is given to social, political, intellectual and American Protestant movements. The so called war and has been going on for a long time to root out liberals from Protestant seminaries, churches and colleges. These folks are anti science, anti evolution and intolerant of any scriptural belief outside what they say you must believe to be a Christian. It's pretty black and white in their thinking. They really ...more
Bob Breckwoldt
Oct 21, 2012 Bob Breckwoldt rated it really liked it
A great book on the foundations of Protestant Fundamentalism from a sympathetic but critical writer who has been close to its centre (see the series of letters written between Mark Noll, George Marsden, and Francis Schaeffer on the topic of whether or not America was a Christian nation written in the early 1980's). It has lots of fascinating and disturbing facts and figures mixed with the absurd, such as the infamous Billy Sunday (who couldn't close down Chicago according to the song) hilariousl ...more
Jan 07, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Marsden tells the story of American Fundamentalism from its post-Civil War roots to the fundamentalist-modernist controversies of the 1920s. I found this book fascinating, mostly because the early fundamentalists were much different than what we think, due to the fact that the definition of "fundamentalist" has changed greatly over the years. The style is rather easy to read. Marsden added an additional chapter in 2005, analyzing the newer fundamentalism from the 1970s to today. What I found mos ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is widely considered the primary resource for understanding the history of the Fundamentalist movement that had such a powerful effect on the American church in the early 20th century. It comes by the reputation honestly; Marsden does a good job showing how the various strands of antebellum revivalism, primitivism and Calvinism twined together and reacted against the broader shifts in American culture that took place especially after World War I. Marsden isn't necessarily writing for a popu ...more
Ram Laska
Jun 09, 2016 Ram Laska rated it it was amazing
Fantastic review of historical Fundamentalism in the northern US. Does not cover present-day "Fundamentalism" or the South.
Chris Schutte
Feb 23, 2016 Chris Schutte rated it really liked it
A helpful survey of the development of "Fundamentalism" in America. The Afterward, written in 2005, is also excellent.
Andy Smith
Feb 05, 2014 Andy Smith rated it liked it
Very good, but somewhat dry. Interesting and a good introduction to Marsden's historical revisionist outlook on Fundamentalism.
Ryan Watkins
Jan 28, 2016 Ryan Watkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
A very insightful book about the rise of fundamentalism and it's fight against modernism. Very interesting to see where various theological doctrines originated and how they came to popularity in mainstream evangelicalism. Highly recommend especially for those either currently in or grew up in fundamentalist churches.
JR McCravy
Feb 28, 2016 JR McCravy rated it really liked it
Marsden tackled this confusing topic pretty well. The chapter added for the second edition really rounded his work out nicely.
Darby Hughes
Aug 04, 2016 Darby Hughes rated it really liked it
Extremely informative, well researched historical study of the development of Protestant fundamentalism in America.

I learned a lot from this book, for those interested in how evangelical ideas developed and spread, this will help connect a lot of dots.
Mar 23, 2014 Bill rated it liked it
This book is not an easy read but if you want to know the history of American fundamentalism this is the book to read. I read the older edition. I understand the new edition brings the story past 1925, I would seek out the newer edition if available.
Dec 23, 2009 Seth rated it really liked it
Marsden's writing enlightened me in my quest for understanding about my spiritual heritage of the past century. He could not have presented the history with less bias; he could not have researched more thoroughly.
Stephanie Cunningham
Jun 29, 2014 Stephanie Cunningham rated it really liked it
Good information source. Very detailed and unbiased. A bit of a slow read, but worth it.
Jan 26, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in church and culture
Shelves: history
This insightful and academic book traces the history of fundamentalism from its reconstruction roots through the prohibition era, and even to its present day incarnations.
Read the following excerpts for research in August 2015: "Presbyterians and the Truth" and "Fundamentalism Yesterday and Today" (2005).
Matt Westbrook
Sep 28, 2010 Matt Westbrook rated it it was amazing
Remains the classic treatment of the subject. The additional chapter in the updated version is very, very good also. Highly recommend.
Allan Gates
Apr 07, 2015 Allan Gates rated it really liked it
Shelves: seminary-texts
A detailed telling of the beginning of fundamentalism and its reaction to liberal theology.
Tyler Hurst
Jan 25, 2013 Tyler Hurst rated it liked it
If you are weird like me and enjoy studying fundamentalism then this book is right up your ally.
Zach Waldis
Jun 19, 2015 Zach Waldis rated it liked it
Not as engaging a read as "Reforming Fundamentalism", but still interesting.
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