American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism
"Before Thomas Kidd's magisterial work, "American Christians and Islam," no scholar had traced the long and convoluted history of Muslim-Christian exchange in the American experience from colonial beginnings to the present. Kidd brings a deep understanding of both traditions to his analysis and brilliantly demonstrates how so many contemporary American denunciations of Islam--especially evangelical denunciations--have a rich history that goes all the way back to the Age of Exploration and the first English settlements."--Harry S. Stout, Yale University
"Though its emergence as one of the central concerns of our time took the secular-minded by surprise, the friction between Christianity and Islam--the world's two largest and most energetically missionary faiths--is nothing new in American history. As Thomas Kidd shows in this thoughtful and highly accessible account, the conflict runs like a thread through the American past. Knowing that history will provide us with valuable insights about the road ahead--and about ourselves."--Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee
""American Christians and Islam" gives historical perspective on a timely topic. Kidd provides a thorough examination of the prism through which American evangelicals have viewed Islam, a prism consisting of fears, challenges, and opportunities. He offers an important chapter in the story of American attitudes toward Muslims. This book fills a gap in the scholarship of American religious culture."--Frank Lambert, author of "Religion in American Politics"
""American Christians and Islam" combines a timely subject, stylistic directness, and a broad scope to create an effective and useful historical survey of evangelical attitudes about Islam that is accessible to a wide audience. Kidd provides succinct readings and elucidates important patterns and shifts that offer readers a revealing overview of the engagements of U.S. evangelical culture with the Islamic world."--Timothy W. Marr, author of "The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism"
"A significant contribution to the field. There have been plenty of books on Western views of Islam, but none has focused exclusively or comprehensively on American Christian attitudes over such a long period. The scope and targeting of this book make it unique and pathbreaking."--Gerald R. McDermott, Roanoke College
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Evangelizing Muslims In "American Christians and Islam," Thomas S. Kidd presents a scholarly historical survey of Christian proselytizing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book is roughly divided into the sections of: Barbary wars, Victorian era, middle-class reformers, Arab-Israeli crisis, modernity, postwar, and post 9-11. The thesis of the book is that: American Christians' views about Islam usually divulge more about American Christians than about actual Muslims. Kidd attempts to show how a distorted vision of the Muslim world has led to unnecessary animosity between members of both faiths. Kidd does not attempt to show the Muslim point of view, but he is polemical against the prevailing Christian attitudes toward Islam and Muslims in general. In particular, Kidd is primarily focused on the Christian idea that Islam was founded and propagated through a doctrine of violence, ie. jihad. That Islam was spread throughout the world by the sword. Misconceptions, for example, that the Turkish slaughter of Armenians was religiously based. Another theological theme that Kidd explores throughout are the Christian eschatological beliefs that have been misinterpreted to view Islam as the anathema of Christ. Such literal views of Revelations in the Bible have fundamental Christians believing in the establishment of Israel to end the Jewish diaspora and the Judgement Day when Christians will defeat Muslims forever the second coming of Christ will appear. While Kidd is impressive in the depth he covers. I do however feel that some parts are under-explored or missing altogether. For instance, popular Christian misconceptions about Islam as intolerant of women is scantily mentioned by Kidd. Though not in a evangelical sense, but the Orientalism of Cold War social scientists in the proliferation of area-studies, which have included the Middle-east, is all but ignored. Bernard Lewis, Emeritus of Princeton, the most famous of which, is never even mentioned. If you are really interested in a more detailed book on Protestant missionaries in the Middle East, I highly recommend "Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East" by Ussama Makdisi. That is not to say that "American Christians and Islam" is not important or not any good, but that "Artillery of Heaven" presents more depth with which the analysis can draw its conclusions from.
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