At the Universalist Convocation in May 2009, I was on a panel to discuss Ann Lee Bressler's 2005 book, "The Universalist Movement in America 1770 - 1880" ---
I and co-panelist, Rev Richard Trudeau, both liked the book. I found it an excellent summary of the original Universalist theology, written in a style easily for non-theologians to understand.
With chapter titles like "Calvinism Improved", "the Challenge of Communal Piety", and "Universal Redemption and Social Reform" what isn't there to like?
Answer: folks who like later versions of Universalism understandably don't like the dismissal of the later version. While I understand their concern, I like the book for what it does show us.
anyway, I ended the panel by reading this from the author's acknowledgments
"Our children ... have grown up with this book. Almost every summer they have endured trips to historic Universalist sites and New England graveyards. The names and teachings of nineteenth-century Universalists must be lodged somewhere deep in their minds. As I complete this work, that is not an unhappy thought. "