At the heart of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frances FitzGerald's engrossing book The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, which is a finalist for a National Book Award, is a detailed outlining of the role religion plays in American politics. Considering how intertwined the two have become in recent elections, her 700-page book is incredibly timely.
This historical account, conducted with meticulous journalistic research, details the origins of Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and how the religious right has become such an indelible part of American society. While our founding fathers ensured a clearly divided church and state, those in the religious right and Evangelical movement believe it is their duty to put God back into politics.
Beginning with the Great Awakening in the mid-1700s and touching on manifest destiny and the takeover of the West, FitzGerald deftly details the growth of conservative Protestantism. Their stretch of power has reached numerous presidents, and every election, politicians vie for important Evangelical votes. She explores their different fractions, what they want, and the lengths they will go to get it.