Grant Wacker's narrative focuses on the rapid growth of evangelical Protestants in denominations such as Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist and their competition for dominance over religions such as Catholicism and Judaism, which were augmented by large immigrant arrivals from Ireland, Eastern Europe, and other lands. The author uses lively anecdotes to describe topics such as temperance and Sunday schools, and introduces the personalities sometimes colorful, sometimes saintly, and often both of the men and women who shaped American religion in the 19th century, including Methodist bishop Francis Asbury; ex-slave Sojourner Truth; Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science; and the popular evangelist Dwight L. Moody.
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