To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Anyone considering this book already knows what they're looking for: this is a very niche field. Boyer's book is a great addition to the literature on end time belief: it looks in great detail at old timey panics and practices and, in some ways more fascinatingly, much more modern hysterias and wayward thinking, too. A learned, fascinating, readable (and big) book.
On the one hand, I wish I had read this book when it was first published. On the other hand, reading it now is a very thought-provoking experience.
Boyer presents a very thorough look at American "apocalypticism," going into depth on the post-1945 era, but doing a good job of showing its origins.
I wish I had read this about 25 years ago, because it would have given me insight into why so many people think about Russia and the Middle East the way they do.
Still, reading the book now shows how sound Boyer's research and conclusions were. This book was published well before the whole "Left Behind" phenomenon took off, and Boyer identified Le Haye as a key thinker and popularizer of apocalypticism. Also, the attitudes of apocalypticism, the distrust of internationalism, globalization and elites, has, if anything, gotten stronger in the intervening years. This book did a lot to explain the link between evangelicals and Donald Trump.
Paul Boyer was a great historian who did our nation an important service by writing this book. Usually, a candidate for political office's religious beliefs should be off limits for public scrutiny. But, with a politically important part of our population believing that wars in the Middle East are harbingers of the Second Coming of Christ, we need to ask such questions.
Boyer's book is reasoned and cautious. I was privileged to talk with him before he died and, in several instances, he told me things weren't as bad as I had thought they were. He impressed me as a historian searching for truths whether or not they support his beliefs.
This book is a good look into prophecy belief in the U.S. This book reads like a history of these movements, and in doing so shows the reader how this belief has influenced and grown over time. The author discusses the leaders of these movements as well as some of the celebrities within the movements that exert so much influence over millions of people. Mr. Boyer has obviously done extensive research combing through hundreds of books and archives to resource this history, and the research is certainly evident in this book. The author knows his subject very well which comes through on each page.
Mr. Boyer also discusses the different strands of prophecy belief such as the passive and activist branches. The activist branches being those who actively seek to help bring about the end times by helping to fulfill percieved prophecies in order to bring about god's rapture as soon as possible as opposed to the passive branch that believes that people cannot affect god's plan and that the end is preordained by god and there is nothing that can change that plan. Both sides of this movement are well represented here and thoroughly discussed in an historical context, but this is the problem with the work also.
This book begs for a deeper look into the prophecy movements. Throughout the entire work I felt it needed something more like a psychological or sociological approach to go with the historical rendering. The book simply scratches the surface and leaves the reader wanting these deeper looks into the leaders and the millions of people who follow end time prophecies.
Another problem with the book is that the author tends to use the same sources over and over again. This means his chapter breaks do not really break anything at all. The book simply reads as one single strand which makes the breaks irrelevant and makes the reading tedious. The same authors and preaches are constantly quoted over and over again in each chapter which leaves no natural breaks in the reading.
To finish, I think this is a good starter to get any reader into this topic, but it is not a definitive work. This book leaves the reader wanting a deeper look into these movements. The reason I don't take off for this is the author is up front from the beginning that his book is not that deeper look. His is an historical look at this movement which leaves the deeper studies to others. I do give this work a high mark even with the problems it has because the book does deserve to be read. I recommend this book but with reservations.
The author does not take sides or criticize, just reports what has taken place in the name of what some consider to be their special revelation from God beyond what the Bible says. I had to laugh out loud at some predictions, while at the same time soul cringe at the damage some by some of the "predictions" of the last times. Great Book.
Boyer presents a comprehensive look at the development and continuing influence of end times prophecy, especially what has become dominant in American Christianity, premillenialism. I think for premilleniaslism's attractiveness to American, it presents an over-arching scheme to world history, especially America's part in the great scheme of things. With the downfall of utopian post-millenialism (see Tuveson's excellent work, "Redeemer Nation," Boyer shows historically how this system of Biblical interpretation has become increasingly popular among us. He at points, e.g. pg. 310, suggests that premillenialism of our day is not intellectually valid, especially in its exegetical competence. I believe this unfair, given the caliber of individuals who study and believe in this eschatology, e.g. Ryrie, Chafer, etc. Although I personally do not buy into their eschatology nor hermeneutics, I cannot concur with Boyer by suggesting that only simple minded will buy into it. Without this critique, this work would have been a five. It is a valuable, well-documented source for end times history and currents within popular American culture.
A history of all the apocalyptic movements throughout history, going back to the time of Jesus. In a time when we are surrounded by people who think this is the end of the world, this book is relevant. It is comforting to realize that fundamentalists have thought it was the end of the world about thirty times before this most recent wave.
"When ... time shall be no more ... and the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there" (popular Christian hymn).
If you believe bible prophecy exegesis, read this book to be amazed at the range of ideas proclaimed as certainties by prophecy preachers. If you think it's nonsense, or are unaware of it, read this book to understand a belief system, widely held by intelligent Americans, which affects national policy -- claims to be "the exceptional nation," to fight "the axis of evil," that "... the purpose of our great land is to rid this world of evil ..." --President Bush. (Paradox: prophecy preachers say human effort cannot rid the world of evil or improve the world, nothing can prevent God's plan for history, which includes continued growth of evil, The Tribulation and Armageddon; yet like other Americans they advocate a strong military defense for the nation.)
Google "bible prophecy" and see nearly six million hits. It's a hot topic.
Boyer spent years wading through a vast literature of bible prophecy writing in the U.S. since WW2. His extensive quotation saves us from the ordeal of reading any of it. The word "antichrist" appears in the Bible only in letters of John -- "even now there are many antichrists" 1 Jn 2.18 (that is, persons who deny Jesus is the Christ/Messiah). Theologians and preachers for 2000 years have built a huge edifice of speculation on this word, linking Gog from Ezekiel and The Beast from Revelation. In each generation, religious and political leaders have been labeled The Antichrist. Boyer wrote before LaHaye's "Left Behind" prophecy/fantasy novels (16 volumes, 1995-2007, 65 million copies, four films, a PC game). It's worthwhile to try to understand this persistent belief system about Rapture, Tribulation, the number of The Beast 666, Second Coming, Armageddon, The Millennium, Last Judgement. Failed predictions of the imminent end of the world (from Jesus and Paul to Pat Robertson and Edgar Whisenant), of a Russian invasion of Israel, of Nuclear Holocaust, have not diminished the power of prophecy preachers.
Boyer, history professor at the University of Wisconsin, grew up in the Brethren of Christ Church (Mennonite) in Dayton, a church founded by his grandfather. His memoir of his grandfather's mission is MISSION ON TAYLOR STREET: THE FOUNDING AND EARLY YEARS OF THE DAYTON BRETHREN IN CHRIST MISSION (1987). He quotes his grandfather (pgs 295, 447) saying in 1942 that the war was fulfillment of a prophecy of Jesus.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who studies end time prophecy. Especially if you are of the Dispensational mindset. This book lays out and documents how people have always found "signs of the end times" in world event for centuries and how those signs always seem to change with the culture and worldview of the time. After reading this book, you will begin to see how people have been misinterpreting Bible prophecy for a long time.