Friday, 8 March 2013

Spring Break!

Next week is Spring Break, and I look forward to having some time off from my teaching responsibilities. Having recently submitted an article that I had been working on for the past few months, I intend to use next week to catch up on my reading. In particular, I hope to finish some of the books that have been sitting dormant on my shelves.

Some of the books that I intend to tackle include, Christina Lupton's Knowing Books: The Consciousness of Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Phillis Whitman Hunter's Purchasing Identity in the Atlantic World: Massachusetts Merchants, 1670-1780, Hugh Amory's Bibliography and the Book Trades: Studies in the Print Culture of Early New England (edited by David Hall), and volume 26 of the Works of Jonathan Edwards: Catalogues of Books.

Lately, I have been captivated by David Swartz's Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservativism. Although I purchased this book in January at the AHA conference book exhibit, I haven't had the time to begin reading it. Yesterday, I started the process--reading the first one hundred pages--and could hardly put it down.

I am not all that interested in political history, however, this book, as well as Darren Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt may make me a convert yet! In many ways, Swartz's book feeds off of Dochuk's work on the influence of "plain-folk" religion and grassroots politics. But Swartz's monograph is more of a case study of various influential evangelicals in the political Left. He begins by analyzing Carl Henry as a transitional figure for the evangelical Left, followed by chapters on the socially-conscious John Alexander, Jim Wallis, and Senator Mark Hatfield. This is a fascinating book that should be read by anyone interested in fundamentalism and evangelical culture in the twentieth century. Swartz's book reminds us that not all evangelicals in the latter half of the twentieth century supported the Religious Right.

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