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In his more than 20 books (most notably The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind) and his university posts (first at Wheaton College, then at the University of Notre Dame), Mark Noll has played a pivotal role in reviving the serious study of history among evangelicals. Here, he chooses his top 5 books for inspiring a passion for history.
David Brion Davis (Oxford University Press)
Davis wrote several important books on slavery before penning this summary volume for high school teachers attending summer seminars at Yale. It begins with Aristotle's description of a slave as less than human, carries the story through Roman, Byzantine, medieval, and early modern periods, and then expands on the crucial role that slavery played in funding European settlement in the Americas. Davis' sensitivity to the moral consequences of America's long toleration of slavery makes for painful, but essential reading. His main concerns are economic, racial, and diplomatic, but the role of religious actors—on every side and every aspect of "the rise and fall"—is a constant sub-theme.
Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford University Press)
Howe's Pulitzer-Prize winning contribution to the Oxford History of the United States is a page-turner, not least for its full attention to the religious dynamics of this critical period. It is a "Whig history" because Howe admires John Quincy Adams (of the Whig Party) and shows so clearly how unconscionably Andrew Jackson carried out his public duties. Without hiding instances where religion exacerbated social strife, he also shows that Christian energy and Christian determination contributed at every stage to the startling rise of the American nation in this period of rapid change. The book is long, but very, very satisfying.
Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century ...