From Publishers Weekly
A familiar presence at universities, Campus Crusade for Christ exemplifies for historian Turner the type of nondenominational parachurch organization that has contributed to the surge of evangelicals' political and social influence since the mid-1970s. Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade, focused chiefly on evangelism, at UCLA in 1951; in his 50 years as president he turned it into a worldwide organization. Turner, a professor of American history at the University of South Alabama, uses Bright's story to dig into the early postwar roots of evangelicalism, including its ties to conservatives, anticommunism, use of sales techniques, painful split from fundamentalism, ambivalence towardcharismatic Christians and unresolved tensions with mainstream American culture. Most interesting are the influence of Henrietta Mears, director of Christian education at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, on Bright's generation of evangelicals, and Campus Crusade's counteractivism at Berkeley in the 1960s. By the end of the book, Bright remains an enigma, but Turner's chronological account is a thought-provoking glimpse into the trajectory of modern evangelicalism as it moved toward its current involvement in national politics, opposition to abortion and gay marriage, and explosive growth in developing countries. (Apr.)
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Crisply written and well-crafted. . . . An important contribution to a new generation of evangelical historiography.--Journal of Southern History
[An] intelligently contextualized biography. . . . Turner has done a wonderful job of bringing Bill Bright out of the shadow of Billy Graham and thereby greatly enhancing our understanding of the new evangelicalism.--The Journal of American History
Carefully researched and well-written. . . . An informative and erudite book that will be welcomed by students of American religious history--The Alabama Review
A useful supplement for courses on American Christianity. . . . We need more books like Turner's to deepen our understanding.--Church History
Sheds new light on the past half-century of religious life in the United States, and the author is to be commended for developing the history without becoming either defender or mocker of the subject. . . . Exceptionally well done . . . it deserves a wide audience of professional and amateur historians alike.--Maryland Historical Magazine
An excellent analysis of postwar American evangelicalism. . . . Well-written, thorough, carefully researched, and engaging.--Religious Studies Review
Anyone who wants to understand modern American evangelicalism and its impact on the nation's culture and politics will find Turner's book informative and rewarding.--Georgia Historical Quarterly