by Howard GlassThis book is one of a five-part series, A History of Evangelicalism. Written by five different authors, they comprise a comprehensive examination of the movement that helped shape religion and civilization as we know them today. Focusing on the second half of the nineteenth century, Bebbington details how the evangelical movement grew and what made it distinct, covering things such as musical trends, worship styles, and organizational structures. The author shows how God used dynamic personalities to drive the spread of Christianity; how the increase of affluence, commerce, and communication enabled that spread, and how the momentum it generated influenced social and political progress around the world. Believers are often asked, "Why are there so many different denominations?" This work will help answer that question. It shows that, for the most part, differences that gave rise to new groups were not negative events, as many assume. Rather they were the product of a rich love for the gospel that spawned vigorous expansion and missionary zeal in spite of a variety of theology within the movement. Bebbington is a first rate historian, including the bad along with the good. He tells how the movement supported racial oppression and helped keep women subjected to men. On the other hand, in a day when political hacks routinely demonize the "religious right," it is heartening to read about the evangelical's heritage of good works. If the other volumes match this one's quality, the series is worthy of any pastor's bookshelf.