The past generation has seen tremendous breadth and depth of scholarship on the 18th-century North Atlantic evangelical awakening, from deep in central Europe to the American frontier. There have been many debates about the origin, character, and significance of evangelical religion during this period. Here are some of the books that best introduce the general reader to early evangelicalism. All of these books are a pleasure to read, and all of the authors are experts in their fields.

The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys
Mark A. Noll

A masterful survey of the whole transatlantic movement. Mark Noll has (as usual) taken the best of the secondary literature and summed it up in a readable narrative with a wide perspective.

* * *

The Inextinguishable Blaze: Spiritual Renewal and Advance in the Eighteenth Century
A. Skevington Wood

A classic account of the evangelical awakenings of the period that covers the ground in a brilliantly written and lucid narrative.

* * *

Wesley and the People Called Methodists
Richard P. Heitzenrater

A balanced and expert introduction to the biography of John Wesley and the rise and progress of Methodism. Rich in detail and explanation.

* * *

Jonathan Edwards: A Life
George M. Marsden

A prize-winning biography of Edwards that richly places him in his historical context, offering a great introduction to Edwards' thought and his times.

* * *

The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America
Thomas S. Kidd

An up-to-date survey of the rise of the evangelical movement in America and the persistence of revival in New England, the Middle Colonies, and the South throughout the 18th century.

By Bruce Hindmarsh, professor of spiritual theology at Regent College in Vancouver and author of The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiography in Early Modern England