KEVIN M. KRUSE. One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. New York: Basic Books, 2015. Pp. 384. $29.99. Paperback. ISBN: 0465049494.
One Nation Under God is the second book written by Kevin M. Kruse, Professor of History at Princeton University. The work historicizes the rise of religious conservatism in the United States of America from the 1930s to the mid-1950s, with an epilogue that continues the narrative through the early 2000s. Kruse is primarily concerned with tracing the rebranding of Christianity as a “public religion” by Depression-era industrialists. Wealthy business leaders bankrolled conservative ministers to concoct a new mixture of politics and religion that wedded Capitalism to Christianity. Kruse calls this admixture “Christian libertarianism,” and he argues that it subsequently became a central tactic of modern conservativism and the new Republican Party. Kruse is also concerned with the appearance of Christianity on the national stage more generally. He sees public Christianity as peaking during the Eisenhower administration and as still very much alive today, evidenced by the language of our everyday institutions and habits. Finally, by resituating the origins of public Christianity in the 1930s, Kruse is attempting to refute a “conventional historical narrative” that “the spiritual revival of the postwar era was” was a direct reaction to the anxiety-ridden context of the Cold War and the nuclear age.