American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism (Hardback)Matthew Avery Sutton (author)
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The first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation, American Apocalypse shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it.
Matthew Avery Sutton draws on extensive archival research to document the ways an initially obscure network of charismatic preachers and their followers reshaped American religion, at home and abroad, for over a century. Perceiving the United States as besieged by Satanic forces--communism and secularism, family breakdown and government encroachment--Billy Sunday, Charles Fuller, Billy Graham, and others took to the pulpit and airwaves to explain how Biblical end-times prophecy made sense of a world ravaged by global wars, genocide, and the threat of nuclear extinction. Believing Armageddon was nigh, these preachers used what little time was left to warn of the coming Antichrist, save souls, and prepare the nation for God's final judgment.
By the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans appropriated evangelical ideas to create a morally infused political agenda that challenged the pragmatic tradition of governance through compromise and consensus. Following 9/11, the politics of apocalypse continued to resonate with an anxious populace seeking a roadmap through a world spinning out of control. Premillennialist evangelicals have erected mega-churches, shaped the culture wars, made and destroyed presidential hopefuls, and brought meaning to millions of believers. Narrating the story of modern evangelicalism from the perspective of the faithful, Sutton demonstrates how apocalyptic thinking continues to exert enormous influence over the American mainstream today.
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Number of pages: 420
Weight: 771 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 36 mm
Sutton's ambitious book refocuses the history of twentieth-century evangelicalism on apocalypticism, offering a vivid account of how preoccupation with the end times provided the conceptual framework for evangelical political activism and stoked its emotional fervor. American Apocalypse shows brilliantly how a terror of impending doom was translated into politics on issues ranging from support for Israel to anti-abortion activism.--Robert A. Orsi, author of Thank You, St. Jude and The Madonna of 115th Street
American Apocalypse relentlessly and impressively shows how evangelicals have interpreted almost every domestic or international crisis in relation to Christ's return and his judgment upon the wicked...Sutton sees one of the most troubling aspects of evangelical influence in the spread of the apocalyptic outlook among Republican politicians with the rise of the Religious Right...American Apocalypse clearly shows just how popular evangelical apocalypticism has been and, during the Cold War, how the combination of odd belief and political power could produce a sleepless night or two.--D. G. Hart"Wall Street Journal" (01/20/2015)
American Apocalypse will quickly become the definitive general account of evangelicalism's spectacular growth as a political and cultural force in the twentieth century. It is a brilliant book, sophisticated and compelling yet also lively and entertaining. With religion continuing to play a major role in American politics and culture, American Apocalypse is a must-read that will shed new light on the nation's past, present, and future.--Andrew Preston, author of Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy
Matthew Avery Sutton read just about everything that fundamentalists and evangelicals had to offer in preparation for his pointed argument in American Apocalypse premillennial dispensationalism pushed conservative Protestants into public, political, national, and international action. If you want to wrestle with evangelicals, read this book.-- (11/25/2014)
It is to the great credit of Matthew Avery Sutton, an American historian who has spent the past seven years 'thinking about the end of the world, ' that we now have a concise, convincing and eminently readable account of the rise of the U.S. evangelical movement...In American Apocalypse, Sutton traces its improbably spread. It is a disquieting story filled with outrageous characters [and] jarring beliefs...[A] valuable, timely and often entertaining account.-- (12/21/2014)
American Apocalypse is the best history of American evangelicalism I've read in some time. Sutton strews his chronicle with little pleasures...If you want to understand why compromise has become a dirty word in the GOP today and how cultural politics is splitting the nation apart, American Apocalypse is an excellent place to start.-- (02/01/2015)