7 books on American history by Baylor authors
This week, Americans will celebrate Independence Day — most of us via traditional favorites such as cookouts and fireworks. But we would all be well-served to also take a few minutes to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made by individuals throughout the years to secure the freedoms we celebrate.
A few Baylor professors and alumni have made it easy (and entertaining) to do just that, through a variety of books on subjects ranging from America’s founding to World War II. Among a wide array of choices, here are seven books by Baylor authors to help you more fully appreciate our nation’s history:
* God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution, by Dr. Thomas Kidd — A prolific author and Baylor history professor, Kidd here offers a comprehensive look at religion’s role in the founding of the United States. God of Liberty is one of several books by Kidd on Colonial America, highlighting figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry and more.
* Ben Franklin: America’s Original Entrepreneur, by Dr. Blaine McCormick — As chair of the Department of Management in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, McCormick takes a particular interest in Franklin’s entrepreneurial spirit, unpacked in this adaptation of his 18th-century autobiography.
* Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Millard, MA ’92 — James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, is not well known, but his tragic story is fascinating in this bestseller. Millard, a Baylor alumna, has written two other bestselling books, including Amazon’s No. 1 history book for 2016.
* A New Moral Vision: Gender, Religion and the Changing Purposes of Higher Education, by Dr. Andrea Turpin — Beginning before the Civil War and running into the 20th century, Turpin — an associate professor of history at Baylor — explores the impact of the admittance of women into American universities on higher education, its purposes, and American culture at large.
* Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, The Roaring Twenties and Today’s Culture Wars, by Dr. Barry Hankins, BA ’83, MA ’83 — This provocative title by the chair of Baylor’s history department sets the stage for a tour of the 1920s and the fight over a variety of cultural issues, including prohibition.
* Doris Miller, Pearl Harbor and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement, by Dr. T. Michael Parrish and Dr. Thomas Cutrer. The authors — including Parrish, a Baylor history professor — show how the heroic actions of Waco native and Navy messman Doris Miller at Pearl Harbor made a listing impact on the Civil Rights era.
* The Price of Valor: The Life of Audie Murphy, America’s Most Decorated Hero of World War II, by Dr. David Smith. Audie Murphy became a national hero as a teenager for his record-setting bravery in World War II; here, Smith — a senior lecturer of history at Baylor — shares the heroic and tragic story of this native Texan and World War II giant.
On a recent episode of Baylor Connections, Dr. Smith said that history must not be understood “as an abstraction, but as something resolutely human. If we don’t pay attention, we will lose the humanity of it. … That’s how we keep this alive for future generations.” Thanks to these Baylor professors and authors, it’s a little easier to do just that.
Sic ’em, Baylor historians!