As I wait for the translation of Luigi Giussani's study on American Protestantism, I'm doing what I can to better understand my religious heritage as an American. To that end, I'm looking at books which can introduce me and others to the main themes and historical schema of the distinctly American and yet authentically Christian experience.
One resource that I've recently become aware of is the Library of Religious Biography from Eerdmans Publishing edited by Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, Allen C. Guelzo. Although there are a few Europeans in the lot, the series has done well to focus on American figures, Protestant and Catholic.
Right now, I'm most interested in A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden (who previously wrote a full biography of Edwards) and Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America by Barry Hankins.
Here's the editorial statement and list of titles in the series:
The Library of Religious Biography is a series of original biographies on important religious figures throughout American and British history.
The authors are well-known historians, each a recognized authority in the period of religious history in which his or her subject lived and worked. Grounded in solid research of both published and archival sources, these volumes link the lives of their subjects — not always thought of as “religious” persons — to the broader cultural contexts and religious issues that surrounded them. Each volume includes a bibliographical essay and an index to serve the needs of students, teachers, and researchers.
Marked by careful scholarship yet free of footnotes and academic jargon, the books in this series are well-written narratives meant to be read and enjoyed as well as studied.
Titles in this Series: