God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right

God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right, by Daniel Williams ($21.56)

A blog review, and another …

Amazon sez:  When the Christian Right burst onto the scene in the late 1970s, many political observers were shocked. But, God’s Own Party demonstrates, they shouldn’t have been. The Christian Right goes back much farther than most journalists, political scientists, and historians realize. Relying on extensive archival and primary source research, Daniel K. Williams presents the first comprehensive history of the Christian Right, uncovering how evangelicals came to see the Republican Party as the vehicle through which they could reclaim America as a Christian nation.

The conventional wisdom has been that the Christian Right arose in response to Roe v. Wade and the liberal government policies of the 1970s. Williams shows that the movement’s roots run much deeper, dating to the 1920s, when fundamentalists launched a campaign to restore the influence of conservative Protestantism on American society. He describes how evangelicals linked this program to a political agenda-resulting in initiatives against evolution and Catholic political power, as well as the national crusade against communism. Williams chronicles Billy Graham’s alliance with the Eisenhower White House, Richard Nixon’s manipulation of the evangelical vote, and the political activities of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others, culminating in the presidency of George W. Bush. Though the Christian Right has frequently been declared dead, Williams shows, it has come back stronger every time. Today, no Republican presidential candidate can hope to win the party’s nomination without its support.

A fascinating and much-needed account of a key force in American politics, God’s Own Party is the only full-scale analysis of the electoral shifts, cultural changes, and political activists at the movement’s core-showing how the Christian Right redefined politics as we know it.

“Based on extensive and groundbreaking archival research, God’s Own Party is a formidable piece of historical reconstruction. In lucid prose, Williams uncovers many previously unknown (or very little known) episodes in the history of evangelical interventions in postwar electoral politics. Richly detailed and well written, this book offers thoughtful, at times provocative, analysis of the origins and evolution of the Christian Right.”

— Bruce Schulman, author of The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics

“Although the success and endurance of the Religious Right continues to baffle countless Americans, Daniel Williams shows us why it should not. His deeply researched, clearly written, and sharply argued book God’s Own Party will transform how we understand the past-and the future-of evangelical political engagement. This book positions Williams at the head of a new generation of scholars exploring the intersections among American religion, politics, and culture.”

–Matthew Avery Sutton, author of Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America

“A sweeping history of evangelicals and politics, Daniel Williams’s book makes an important contribution to historical scholarship. Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how the Republican party became the party of the Christian Right.”

–Lisa McGirr, author of Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right

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