For most of his sixty-year career, the Reverend Carl McIntire was at the center of controversy. The best kwn and most influential of the fundamentalist radio broadcasters and anticommunists of the Cold War era, his many enemies depicted him as a dangerous far rightist, a racist, or a McCarthyite opportunist engaged in red-baiting for personal profit. Despised and hounded by liberals, revered by fundamentalists, and distrusted by the center, he became a lightning rod in the early American culture wars. Markku Ruotsila's Fighting Fundamentalist, the first scholarly biography of McIntire, peels off the accumulated layers of caricature and makes a case for restoring McIntire to his place as one of the most consequential religious leaders in the twentieth-century United States. The book traces McIntire's life from his early twentieth-century childhood in Oklahoma to his death in 2002. From his discipleship under J. Gresham Machen during the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, through his fifty-year pastorate in Collingswood, NJ, and his presidency of the International Council of Christian Churches, McIntire-Ruotsila shows-stands out as the most important fundamentalist of his time. Based on exhaustive research in fifty-two archival collections-including the recently opened collection of the Carl McIntire papers and never-before seen FBI files-Ruotsila looks beyond the McIntire of legend. Instead, Ruostila argues, McIntire was a serious theological, political, and ecomic combatant, a tireless organizer who pioneered the public theologies, inter-faith alliances, and political methods that would give birth to the Christian Right. The moral values agenda of the 1970s and after would t have existed without the anti-communist and ant-New Deal activism that McIntire inaugurated in the 1930s.
Markku Ruotsila teaches American church history at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He has written widely on twentieth-century evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and anticommunism and has worked as visiting Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, and as a visiting scholar at New York University and the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. The author of six previous books, including The Origins of Christian Anti-Internationalism: Conservative Evangelicals and the League of Nations (2008), his articles have appeared in Church History, the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, the Journal of American Studies and elsewhere.