I'm now at the Detroit airport, having taken a four-hour flight from Portland that left at 11pm. As I wait for my flight to Chattanooga, I am thinking about which religious history books should be considered for the "Final Four." As there seems to be an unusually high number of viewers for my original post on a "Religious History March Madness," perhaps next year John Fea, the Anxious Bench bloggers, or the folks at the Religion and American History Blog will organize a bracket sequence as a test to determine the best books in religious history.
Although there are a lot of good books in religious history, my Final Four for American religious history would be:
Nathan Hatch's The Democratization of American Christianity (although people have disputed Hatch's thesis, it has stood the test of time)
George Marsden's Fundamentalism and American Culture (another oldie, but goodie)
Mark Noll's America's God
and finally, to mix things up a bit, I would include a newcomer: Darren Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt
These four books in some cases narrowly beat some of my "Elite Eight" contenders: John Wigger's American Saint, Tommy Kidd's The Great Awakening, George Marsden's Jonathan Edwards, and Christine Heyrman's Southern Cross.
Let me know if you agree or disagree with these choices.