An Annotated Bibliography of Books on Church and State


If there are any useful books you think I ought to examine I am quite happy to take suggestions.

Noll, Mark A. One Nation Under God. 1988. Harper & Row, San Francisco. (Hardcover ISBN 0-06-066303-0)
Here Noll considers both historical and theological aspects of Christian political activism. Most of the book is spent on Noll's reporting and analysis of several specific historical episodes and issues: the Revolution, the writing of the Constitution, the election campaign of 1800 (the election of Jefferson), the life of Abraham Lincoln, abolition, and prohibition. Noll also presents some practical suggestions based in large part on the history as he presents it. I'm not sure if everyone would agree entirely with Noll's analysis of the history, but most of it seems to be largely uncontroversial. I doubt anything here would be of much surprise to professional American historians, but I think it would be very relevant for even those with a fair amount of exposure to history, as Noll's presentation is devoid of most of the mythologizing that is presented in popular and especially Christian "history." This is a very useful book, at least for the lay audience, I think. It rather compactly presents some of the major issues and some historical context (the latter of which is quite valuable). While it is several years old, there isn't much here to be out of date. It is unfortunately, out of print, but can be had for around $25 used.
Noll, Mark A. and Nathan O. Hatch and George M. Marsden. The Search for Christian America. 1983. Crossway Books, Westchester, llinois. (ISBN 0-89107-285-3)
Considered a fundamental book on Christianity and America (at least among those books written from an explicitly Christian perspective). Noll, Marsden, and Hatch have some interesting things to say. The historical chapters are only rough surveys though, and there are occasional leaps that could be better layed out (there are enough citations that presumably anything could be figured out given enough time; it would have been nice to sometimes have more explicit explanations, though). (Note that there is an expanded edition from 1989, ISBN 0939443155, which I have not examined.)