Ernest Sandeen’s Roots of Fundamentalism remains a landmark work in the history of religion. A National Book Award finalist, it was the first full-length study to present an intellectual historical critique of the Fundamentalist movement in America. Sandeen argues that our understanding of this movement has been grievously distorted by the Fundamentalist-Modernist debate of the 1920s, as symbolized by William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes trial. Rather than viewing Fundamentalism as a chiefly sociological phenomenon of the 1920s, Sandeen argues from a transatlantic perspective that the Fundamentalist movement “was a self-conscious, structured, long-lived dynamic entity” that had its origins in Anglo-American millenarian thought and movements of the nineteenth century.
"All historians need to face the issues [this book] raises. Serious theological discussion of Fundamentalism tends to be neglected because it is intellectually unfashionable: Mr. Sandeen shows that for the historian such neglect is a luxury he cannot afford.”—David M. Thompson, English Historical Review
“Sandeen’s ‘new approach to Fundamentalism’ eschews the common tendency to see the movement as parochially American, rurally based, and essentially a phenomenon of the twenties. . . . It is a highly valuable addition to American and—more singularly—to comparative theological history.”—William R. Hutchinson, Journal of American History