He was born in England in 1956, raised in the Derbyshire village of Mickleover, studied at Hertford College, Oxford (1974–1977), then moved to America and gained a PhD in American history at University of California Berkeley (1986).
He held the Arthur Blank Chair for Teaching Excellence at Emory University and was, for five years, director of Emory's Center for Teaching and Curriculum. He is now the Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
His recent publications include contributions to The American Conservative, The Spectator (London), The National Interest and Modern Intellectual History. He is also the principal lecturer in seven of "The Great Courses" made by The Teaching Company of Chantilly, Virginia. He speaks in many parts of the United States and leads college-level teaching workshops. In the late 1980s he wrote a short history of American biographies of Jesus Christ.
His scholarship has been widely reviewed in the leading history journals. Professor Lawrence Moore of Cornell University says "Any writer who has attempted to track a subject through a long stretch of time appreciates how difficult it is to balance the requirement of inclusiveness with a consistent elaboration of central themes. Patrick Allitt in his confident survey of American religion since World War II succeeds in this task far better than most and has produced a volume of immense value to university students, general readers, and scholars needing a reliable reference source."
- Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America: 1950 – 1985 (Cornell University Press, 1993)
- Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome (Cornell University Press, 1997)
- Major Problems in American Religious History editor, (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)
- I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)
- Religion in America Since 1945: A History (Columbia University Press, 2005)
- The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities in American History (Yale University Press, 2009).
- A Climate of Crisis. America in the Age of Environmentalism (New York: Penguin, 2014).
Audio and Video Lecture Series
- "American Religious History" (24 lectures)
- "Victorian Britain" (36 lectures)
- "Introduction to American History" (last 36 in an 84 lecture course, in collaboration with Allen Guelzo and Gary Gallagher)
- "The American Identity" (48 lectures)
- "The Rise and Fall of the British Empire" (36 lectures)
- "The Conservative Tradition" (36 lectures)
- "The Art of Teaching: Best Practices From a Master Educator" (24 lectures)
- "The Industrial Revolution" (36 lectures)
- Toby, Jackson (2010). The lowering of higher education in America: why financial aid should be based on student performance. ABC-CLIO. p. 39. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- See bio
- Allitt, Patrick (1 July 2010). "'Truths' not so self-evident to Brit". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Seeking a clearer image of Christ, Emory prof pores over volumes". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 14 April 1990. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Catholic Historical Review, July 2004, Vol. 90 Issue 3, pp 583–584
- Bjerre-Poulsen, Niels (2002). Right face: organizing the American conservative movement 1945–65. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 67. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Romeward Bound: Among colorful converts some unlikely candidates". The Washington Times. 14 September 1997. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Connor, Charles (2001). Classic Catholic converts. Ignatius Press. p. 165. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Rosen, Christine (13 October 2004). ""I'm the Teacher, You're the Student" Inside the classroom". National Review. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Caesar, Terry (3 February 2006). "Wanting and Not Wanting to Hit Each Other". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Religion in America Since 1945: A History". Church History. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Dolan, Jay P. "A view from the right: Catholic conservatives," Reviews in American History, Mar 95, Vol. 23 Issue 1, pp 165–69
- Gelpi, Albert. "The Catholic Presence in American Culture," American Literary History, Spring 1999, Vol. 11 Issue 1, pp 196–212
- Riccio, Barry D. "Patrick Allitt's 'Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America: 1950–1985," Cithara May 1995, Vol. 34 Issue 2, pp 37–41,