Cover: The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ’n’ Roll, from Harvard University PressCover: The Devil’s Music in HARDCOVER

The Devil’s Music

How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ’n’ Roll

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Product Details


$29.95 • £23.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674980846

Publication Date: 03/19/2018


344 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

23 halftones


Excellent… Valuable, clearly written and meticulously researched.—Christopher Carroll, The Wall Street Journal

[A] beautifully written, well-researched book… What Stephens has provided is an extensively evidenced account of just how tetchy Christians—especially theologically and politically conservative Christians in the U.S.—have been about popular music, while also wanting to make use of it when necessary to promote their version of the faith.—Clive Marsh, Times Higher Education

Stephens’ deeply researched The Devil’s Music charts the long and oftentimes contentious relationship between evangelical Christianity and rock ’n’ roll. Along the way, it offers some surprising historical insights and a somber lesson for social progressives who have long scoffed at their evangelical adversaries in America’s ongoing culture wars.—Ed Whitelock, PopMatters

Perhaps the most comprehensive history of Christian rock yet published. Armed with an astonishing array of archival material, from pamphlets to sermons to newspapers and magazines, Stephens blows through nearly 70 years of church, music, and cultural history… Revelatory.—Joel Heng Hartse, Christianity Today

Stephens wants us to think of rock and Christianity not as enemies but as siblings engaged in a family dispute.The New Yorker

The Devil’s Music chronicles the development of popular music in America since the mid-20th century, attending to the audience as well as the performers. Focusing on the reception of rock by conservative Christians, it is a commentary on the emerging social role of Evangelicals and the politics of the period.—Harriet Baber, The Church Times

An engrossing story about American Christianity’s long and ambivalent relationship with what Fats Domino dubbed ‘the big beat.’—Paul W. Gleason, Hedgehog Review

In this beautifully written, entertaining, and smart book, Stephens masterfully analyzes the religious roots of rock music, the evangelical response to the rise of rock music, and the ways in which evangelicals made rock music their own in recent decades.—Matthew Avery Sutton, author of American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism

Stephens brilliantly explores the many enmities, ambiguities, adaptations, and constant braiding of rock music and conservative Christian youth culture as the electricity of rock music jolted and shocked parents and captivated teens and young adults. The fiercely fought battles over music, values, and taste were indeed proxy wars for the soul of the nation.—David N. Hempton, Dean of the Harvard Divinity School

An admirably balanced, exhaustively researched, consistently engaging narrative of the complex and fraught relationship between conservative Christians and popular music in the United States.—David W. Stowe, author of No Sympathy for the Devil: Christian Pop Music and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism

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