About the Book
They sought to transform the globe and ended up transforming modern America
Between the 1890s and the Vietnam era, many thousands of American Protestant missionaries were sent to live throughout the non-European world. Their experience abroad made many of these missionaries and their children critical of racism, imperialism, and religious orthodoxy. When they returned home, they brought new liberal values back to their own society. David Hollinger reveals the untold story of how these missionary-connected individuals left an enduring mark on American public life as writers, diplomats, academics, church officials, publishers, foundation executives, and social activists. Protestants Abroad reveals the crucial role they played in the development of modern American liberalism, and shows how they helped other Americans reimagine their nation’s place in the world.
David A. Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. His many books include After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History (Princeton).
“One of the most important books about religion in twentieth-century America to appear in the last decade—a book that will reshape the way we think about the historical arc of American Protestantism.”—Joe Creech, The Cresset
“Elegant and original. . . . Hollinger’s book is a comprehensive history of American Protestant missionaries abroad, but it is also the more important story of how a religious and cultural movement overcame its own provincialism.”—John Kaag, Wall Street Journal
“Protestants Abroad is one of those rare books that slices American society in a way that hardly anyone—certainly no one of Hollinger’s intellectual breadth—has thought to cut the cake before.”—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost
“No one has done more than Hollinger to put mainline American Protestantism on the map of 20th-century American cultural and intellectual history, and this book adds an important chapter to that impressive legacy.”—Robert Westbrook, Christian Century
“The eminent intellectual historian David Hollinger restores liberal Protestants to their rightful place at the center of the history of struggles for rights, self-determination, and dignity at home and abroad.”—Thomas J. Sugrue, author of Sweet Land of Liberty