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"No one can understand the Victorians who does not appreciate the impact of a dynamic Christian counter-culture in their midst--Protestant Dissent. Nonconformity gave the age its pre-eminent preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, its most famous missionary, David Livingstone, one of the most respected women in all of British history, the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, recreational institutions such as the YMCA and Aston Villa football club, highly successful businesses such as Thomas Cook's tours and Cadbury's chocolate, and much more. David Bebbington is the greatest authority on Victorian Nonconformity working today and this book is the best introduction to this subject that has ever been written. There is no better place to start learning about the Free Churches in nineteenth-century Britain than with this learned, lucid, and accessible volume."
Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College
"It is a very good thing to see this new edition of David Bebbington's detailed, informative, and clearly outlined primer on the Nonconformist churches during the period when their national influence was at its height. The booklet is carefully detailed, unusually informative, and skilfully outlined. Its success in explaining who the Nonconformists were, how they differed from the Church of England (and among themselves), and why their fortunes rose and fell makes this an ideal beginning point for further study, both historical and theological."
Mark A. Noll, McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
"This welcome reprint and light revision of Professor Bebbington's work reminds us that communities often caricatured as narrow and hypocritical were attempting to 'create a Christian counter-culture' which gave meaning to the lives of many ordinary people and influenced society at large. Combining critical analysis with engaging vignettes of individuals, this is an attractive, lucid and authoritative introduction to Victorian Nonconformity."
Henry D. Rack, Honorary Fellow and former Bishop Fraser Senior Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History, University of Manchester
About the Contributor(s):
David Bebbington has served since 1976 at the University of Stirling, where he is Professor of History. His books include Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (1989), The Mind of Gladstone: Religion, Homer and Politics (2004) and The Dominance of Evangelicalism: The Age of Spurgeon and Moody (2005).