The book is about Protestant fundamentalism's "recovery" after its defeats in the 1920s. Carpenter tells the story of the movement's alienation and loss of status in the 1920s, its institution building in the 1930s and 40s, and its recovery the late 1940s. Among other themes, he discusses the how the movement wrestled with separatism and accommodation within the denominations and in the broader culture. This is not a popular history of the movement. To illuminate the development of key characters, theological positions and institutions, Carpenter goes into a level of detail that might overwhelm the casual inquirer.