Believe Me by John Fea

Believe Me

“Believe me” may be the most commonly used phrase in Donald Trump’s lexicon. Whether about building a wall or protecting the Christian heritage, the refrain is constant. And to the surprise of many, about 80% percent of white evangelicals have believed Trump-at least enough to help propel him into the White House. Historian John Fea is not surprised-and in Believe Me he explains how we have arrived at this unprecedented moment in American p...

Details Believe Me

TitleBelieve Me
Release DateJun 28th, 2018
GenrePolitics, History, Nonfiction, Religion

Reviews Believe Me

  • Josh Skinner
    I am not sure what surprised me more during the 2016 presidential campaign: Donald Trump’s electoral college victory or the overwhelming and unqualified support he received from so many self-professed Evangelicals. I did not understand how a person possessing as blatantly a disreputable character as Trump displays, who rejoiced in speech, actions, and attitudes that could only be defined as anti-Christian, could evoke such fawning admiration fr...
  • Shereen Lee
    An interesting take on evangelical Christian culture in the U.S., this was a book that presented questions, answers, and yet more questions about the past and future of American religious and political identity. Fea's perspective as an anti-Trump evangelical provides a nuanced analysis of racial politics and how evangelism intersects with culture, which I found enlightening. Unfortunately, this book had a lot of issues with accuracy. Fea refers t...
  • Jay
    On November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump won the American presidency. The next day, I heard someone singing. I recognized the tune as the late 19th Century hymn “Jesus Saves”, but the words sounded off. What should have been “We have heard the joyful sound / Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves!” was now “We have heard the election news / Trump Saves! Trump Saves!” It was that moment (after long months of other similar moments) that finally brought m...
  • Peter Kerry Powers
    Beginning with the obligatory notice that I’m friends with and work with the author, I will say I found John’s historical analysis of fear at the root of much evangelical politics to be compelling and useful. Although he doesn’t go there, for those of us who either grew up in or continue in that tradition it raises the uncomfortable question of how deeply fear is tangled in evangelical, or even just Christian, forms of faith and practice as...
  • Daniel
    This was a book I was looking forward to for months. I follow John Fea on Twitter and read his blog. His perspective as an evangelical AND historian is one that gives me hope as an evangelical who is tempted to chuck the term "evangelical" altogether. Fea gives a very fast sketch of the politics of fear, along with the theology of fear, that has formed the evangelical movement and brings us to WHY 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump ...
  • Johanna
    In John Fea’s new book Believe Me, he argues that the issues of fear, power, and nostalgia have been present throughout the history of white evangelicals in America and thus have contributed to the rise of Donald Trump as president. I first became acquainted with Dr. Fea’s work while I was pursuing my master’s in the history of Christianity, and I especially appreciated his book Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? over the course of ...
  • Jared Deame
    A fascinating look at the fear and nostalgia that drove the support of Trump by white Evangelicals. Fea does well to include the history of the Evangelical movement and does so more succinctly, and perhaps more effectively, than Fitzgerald’s volume on American Evangelical history. This is certainly a worthwhile read for anyone wanting more background on the theology and political worldview of many conservative Evangelicals.
  • Sandra Reyes
    I received ‘Believe Me’ by John Fea as an advanced reading copy from NetGalley. The thing I love most about this book is that it was written by a self-proclaimed evangelical who also happens to be a historian. I love that John Fea used history to back his claims. I found some parts of history to be a bit boring, but interesting at the same time because it all tied together in the end. What was so shocking to me was to find out that 81% of whi...
  • Caleb
    (From an Advanced Reading Copy) John Fea has accomplished what too few historians can do: he has skillfully combined an overview history of his subject with modern events and commentary. Fea truthfully and importantly recognizes that this book took him "beyond history and into social criticism," but this makes the book all the more powerful in the post-2016 election world. Readers who are familiar with his blog or his other books will recognize F...
  • Ashley
    This book bills itself as a book about the way evangelicals received Trump, by an evangelical; speaking their language, interpreting from the inside, as it were. It was definitely interesting to hear from someone not outright rejecting the evangelical premise, though little of it was revelatory to me as someone with more than a cursory knowledge of both American politics and right-wing zealots. However, I found that ultimately, whether because of...
  • J.K. Turner
    My Rating - Must ReadLevel - Short, easy readSummaryThe subtitle kind of says it all. How did Evangelicals so overwhelmingly support Trump (more than any other candidate in history)? He received 81% of self identified Evangelicals. There are people who dispute the support, due to the self identified label and have found that people who attend among those who attend church weekly, the support drops to 40's. However, Fea is a historian, and clear...
  • Jason Kanz
    I had seen John Fea's book, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (2018), featured on Eerdman's Facebook and Twitter feeds. I had never heard of him, but there was enough present in those short social media posts to intrigue me. Fea is an evangelical and chair of the history department at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, a historian who writes about "the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life" (from his...
  • Steve
    A staggering 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump! How are we to explain this? Fea, an astute historian from Messiah College, identifies an unholy trinity of fear, power and nostalgia as being at the roots of this bizarre voting pattern. As he explains:‘I approach this subject not as a political scientist, pollster, or pundit, but as a historian who identifies as an evangelical Christian. For too long, white evangelical Christians h...
  • Samuel P.
    As someone who grew up steeped in the conservative political world of the Evangelical Christian movement in the US, I was continually stunned by the ability (and willingness) of Evangelicals to continue to make excuses for the seemingly un-Christian behavior, attitudes, and rhetoric of Donald Trump. In his book, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, John Fea (my colleague at Messiah College) shows how Trump successfully played into w...
  • Adam Shields
    Short Review: I am probably primed to like this book for reasons outside of the book. I listen to Fea's history podcast, I vote democrat traditionally, so this book is not a critique of my voting or my party and I already have a very shaky relationship with the current cultural/sociological definition of Evangelicals (see my review of Still Evangelical for more of that )But I did still listen to the audiobook, ...
  • Joel Mitchell
    My earliest clear memory of American politics is of conservative Christians howling “Character counts! Bill Clinton is not morally qualified to be president and must be impeached!”. Fast forward to 2016 and many of these same voices eagerly led 81% of white Evangelical Christians to vote for a profane, lecherous bully…but it’s okay because “we’re voting for a commander in chief, not a pastor in chief and he’s going to appoint such g...
  • Eric Manuel
    Whenever there is a presidential election, inevitably there are books published about the winner. Since 2016, this has not changed. What is significant about Donald Trump's win, however, is the support that he had, and still has, garnered from Evangelical Christians. Many within evangelicalism have scratched their heads to try to understand why this has happened, in light of many of the moral and policy decisions that have been made by Trump. Joh...
  • Matt Grant
    In the struggle to understand how conservative Christian evangelicals, the same men and women who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, could not only support a morally bankrupt presidential candidate like Donald Trump but overwhelmingly vote him into office, John Fea's Believe Me is an enlightening text.A professor of history at Messiah College, Fea examines the rise of political evangelical activism in America, stretching all the way back to...
  • Alexandria Fanjoy
    I received this ARC from net galley in exchange for an honest review. I thought that this book was a really interesting analysis of the evangelical right and their interest and support for Trump. I thought it was an interesting addition to the literature about the increasing divide happening in the United States and the "explain how the hell we got here" - with other books such as "Hillbilly Elegy" by JD Vance. That said, I think other books are ...
  • Deanna
    In "Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump" John Fea traces the history of Evangelicalism to attempt to figure out how it was possible for such a large percentage of Evangelical voters to cast their votes for someone like Trump, whose character flaws were disqualifying in any candidate before him. Fea concludes that fear was the main factor in Evangelicals voting the way they did. In and of itself, that isn't a new idea, but where Fea s...
  • Tara Brabazon
    Absolutely, stunningly, surprisingly brilliant.Written by an historian, professor and evangelical christian, this book is excellent. It demonstrates how Trump created wedge politics to leverage white evangelicals to vote for him. The consequences of nostalgia - MAGA - rather than history is clearly revealed.Well argued. Well referenced. Well written. Well presented. This is a powerful and convincing argument about how nostalgia - or indeed an ima...
  • Seth
    This was one interesting read. Read it in two sittings. While Trump is a big part of the book, the bigger story is how conservative evangelicals paved the way for someone like him to get there. Fea writes from an American historian’s point of view and goes as far back as Thomas Jefferson’s presidency to make his case. The chapter I found most provocative was chapter 4: The Court Evangelicals
  • Conrade Yap
    Famous words are often uttered by Presidents. For President John F Kennedy, people remember his powerful words "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." President Jimmy Carter is remembered as a man who fought for peace: "We cannot be both the world's leading champion of peace and the world's leading supplier of the weapons of war." President Barack Obama rode into office under the banner of change said: "C...