Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Barry Hankins

Barry Hankins is Professor of History at Baylor University, as well as a Resident Scholar with the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR). His publications include Baptists in America: A History and Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism: A Documentary Reader. Hankins's biography Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America: Fundamentalist Warrior, Evangelical Prophet was awarded the 2009 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography.

Hankins's new book is Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Well, it’s summer, so it’s novels, non-academic history, sports, and travel books. These are often oriented to the American southwest. Since I’ve been coming to northern New Mexico for almost four decades, I finally got around to reading John Nichols’s The Milagro Bean Field War. I saw the Robert Redford movie many years ago but never realized Nichols lives in Taos (I’m not even sure I knew it was a book). My stepson picked up a signed copy at a Taos bookstore when he and his wife were here in Taos with my wife and me in late June. I immediately moved it to the head of my summer reading list. (Last year it was Hampton Sides’s biography of Kit Carson, also set in and around Taos.)

I try to read a P.D. James novel every summer. So, the other day I started reading Devices and Desires, which I picked up at a used bookstore in Waco before we came west. My bad. I’ve already read it. There’s a Habitat for Humanity ReStore across the street here in Taos, so my wife and I are going there to see if I can find another used James that I haven’t read.

I’m a former college basketball player and high school coach (that’s how I funded my dissertation), so I like to read sports non-fiction. Michael Lewis (Moneyball, Blindside) is my favorite sports author (although he writes about non-sports subjects as well) and I also read his The Big Short right after I saw the movie. My son recently gave me a copy of David Halberstam’s Breaks of the Game about the Portland Trail Blazers of the late 1970s (Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas, Coach Dr. Jack Ramsey, etc.) I brought it with me along with a book about the University of Michigan’s football stadium (Forty Years in the Big House) that my mother in Flint, MI gave to me. But, I haven’t gotten to them yet. They got squeezed out by a beanfield.

Finally, my eldest stepson turned me on to Bill Bryson when he gave me Notes from a Small Island last Christmas—the one about Bryson’s hike across England. This summer I read his In a Sunburned Country about Australia. My former dissertation advisor, “Crocodile” Bob Linder, at Kansas State has been working on Australian Christianity for roughly 30 years. I’ve met some of his Australian colleagues, and I previously spent a few days in country while in college in the mid-1970s when I was traveling with a basketball team to New Guinea, of all places. Apparently, according to Bryson, Australia is as fascinating and inexplicable as my former advisor has always claimed.
Learn more about Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue