Since Christianity has played such a key role in the history of both the U.S. and Canada, author Mark Noll has written a history text that tracks the development of Christianity and its offshoots in both countries. His inclusion of Canada reflects the common sources and influences both countries have shared. Think of this relationship in contrast to that of Mexico and the U.S., which have very different religious backgrounds. (Actually, Mexico receives brief mentions occasionally, but otherwise has not been included.)
Noll's treatment is so evenhanded that it is very difficult to determine his own religious leanings. He covers Protestantism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventism, and other branches or offshoots of historical Christianity. One of the most valuable features of this book is Noll's careful delineation of the different Protestant groups, their beliefs, their influence, and their political impact.
Ultimately, this book is extremely valuable if we want to understand both changes that have taken place in the more private realm of religious beliefs as well as in the public arena due to the influence of Christianity.
Noll writes a nuanced history that examines different aspects of people and situations, rather than presenting conveniently simplified descriptions such as we find in most history books. For example, he describes Christopher Columbus' strength of courage and spiritual convictions, while also demonstrating that he was sometimes driven by less lofty motivation.
At 592 pages and written at an adult level, this book is definitely written for an adult audience. While I'd love to see people read it straight through, I think it would be more realistic for most families to use it as a reference tool or adjunct to history studies. Mature teens can read excerpts.