Although Ian MacPherson's 1999 book on the development of the global credit union movement partially bridges the gap, one of the most gaping holes in contemporary credit union historiography has been the lack of a synthetic treatment of the American movement's recent history. While Moody & Fite's The Credit Union Movement remains an absolutely vital resource, an enormous amount has happened since the last edition was released in 1984 that has the potential to shine new interpretive light on the whole sweep of the movement's development.
One of the benefits of a synthetic work of history is that it organizes the jumble of changes that characterize its subject's development into a coherent, meaningful narrative structure. While people often enter into ferocious debates about the exact parameters of that structure, having some sort of understanding of the mechanisms by which the world came to exist in its current form is a powerful aid to decision-making. Without such a framework, it is impossible to learn from the past beyond the scope of simple personal experience. As George Santayana put it more than a century ago, "when experience is not retained ... infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."