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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"An excellent analysis of postwar American evangelicalism. . . . Well-written, thorough, carefully researched, and engaging."
-Religious Studies Review
"A useful supplement for courses on American Christianity. . . . We need more books like Turner's to deepen our understanding."
"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
"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
"[An] important, well-written, and thoroughly researched book. . . . Highly recommended."
"[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
"Crisply written and well-crafted. . . . An important contribution to a new generation of evangelical historiography."
Journal of Southern History
"A meticulous and well-documented account of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ. . . . Invaluable for investigating the history of this organization."
A thought-provoking glimpse into the trajectory of modern evangelicalism.
"Turner nicely captures the animosity of mainline Protestant campus ministries."
Books & Culture
This work is invaluable for investigating the history of this organization.
Turner's deeply researched narrative belongs on the shelf of anyone thinking and writing about evangelicalism in the public square. . . . Indispensable.Christianity Today
[A]n important contribution to the study of American evangelicalism, filling a large gap in the current literature.
Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University