Though there is a considerable amount of text in this data-rich atlas, the obvious intent is to visually represent the current status of Christianity when compared to that of a century ago. On almost every other page, readers will find a map, chart, table, or other graphic comparing numbers from 1910 and 2010. At times, the focus is Christianity in general. Other times, it’s particular Christian groups (e.g., Catholics, Evangelicals, Anglicans)—all in the form of large, clear, vividly colored maps. The regional focus also varies throughout. Sections 1 and 2 present a global picture. Section 3 visits each continent, giving plenty of attention to significant subregions (e.g., eastern, middle, northern, southern, and western Africa). In fact, the atlas bills itself as the “first atlas to map Christian affiliation at the provincial level.” The focus narrows even more in section 4, which highlights the status of Christianity in major cities around the world. The fifth and final section is the most unique. Its focus is on the past 100 years of Christian missions and evangelistic efforts. Each continent receives individual treatment in the section along with topics like Bible translation and distribution, Christian finance, and responsiveness to evangelistic efforts. Accompanying most of the eye-catching maps are signed essays (each two pages in length), written by at least one of the atlas’ 64 expert contributors. The essays contain a surprising amount of historical and background information and typically include a five-source bibliography. The atlas also offers an added technological bonus—a DVD, referred to as a “presentation assistant.” It offers all the visuals of the atlas in easily exported formats (.jpg, .png). The overall feel of the atlas is only mildly scholarly, and it is suitable for users in academic libraries and public libraries with large religion collections. --Wade Osburn
A monumental and indispensable tool for the study of world Christianity. A book of breathtaking beauty and publishing virtuosity, it is an absolute treasure-trove of information on contemporary global Christianity and supercedes all previous encyclopedias and factbooks on world Christianity, bar none. Armed with a multitude of multicolored maps and statistical tables, it provides up-to-date information on world religions (Part I), global Christianity (Part II), Christianity by continent and region (Part III), peoples, languages and cities (Part IV), and Christian mission (Part V). Of great interest are its categories of "Independents" and "Marginal Christians" in addition to the mainline denominations. Lest we miss the forest for the trees, an unavoidable danger in works of this kind, all sections are preceded by rich and insightful historical overviews by experts in the field.'
-- Professor Peter C. Phan, Georgetown University