Fundamentalism’s Roots: A Review

What does it mean to be a “fundamentalist?”

At his lively blog Leaving Fundamentalism, Jonny Scaramanga has offered a review of my 1920s book that puts this question squarely at the center.

Two Thumbs Up...

Two Thumbs Up…

As Scaramanga points out from his current work and from his personal life history, the term “fundamentalist” is often used as more of a bludgeon than a label.  People accuse each other of being “fundamentalist” about this issue or that.  People dither over whether this or that person is a true “fundamentalist.”

Scaramanga notes that unless and until we get a sense of the formative first decade of American fundamentalism—the 1920s—we’ll never wrap our heads around the contentiousness that has always been at the core of defining the term.  I agree entirely.

Best of all, he gave the book a thumbs-up.  As Scaramanga put it,

I was genuinely surprised how much I liked this book. I’m a longtime reader of Adam’s blog and he’s helped me out with research on numerous occasions, so I knew he’s an engaging writer and a top bloke, but I was still expecting to find this a dry, academic slog. Actually, I was riveted. Everything I’ve studied of fundamentalism makes so much more sense in the historical context this book provides. I’d recommend it to people with a casual interest in fundamentalism just as much as those with an academic interest.

Thanks, Jonny.  I don’t think I’ve ever been called a “top bloke” before.  A “top bloke’s” a good thing…right?


ILYBYGTH at RiverRead Books

…and you’re invited!  Everyone in the Binghamton area is welcome at a book talk I’ll be

giving at RiverRead Books in downtown Bingo.  Mark your calendars: September 20 at 6:30 PM.

I’ll be talking about the subject of my first book, Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America’s Culture Wars.  I’ll start by making my case for why we need to understand the 1920s if we hope to get a handle on today’s culture wars.  Then we’ll open up a discussion on any and all topics of interest to ILYBYGTH readers: the meanings of fundamentalism, the nature of the creation/evolution stalemate, the proper role for religion in public life, and so on.

So come on down!  Even if you can’t make this event, be sure to stop by RiverRead.  It’s a great place to buy books.