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Matthew Avery Sutton

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Product Description


An impressive work...Sutton's account of Aimee's search for companionship and the debilitating toll her ''kidnapping'' took on her mentally as well as physically (in 1926, she disappeared for 36 days, then concocted a bizarre tale of kidnapping that led to a lengthy trial, the equivalent in its day of the O.J. Simpson trial) is the most persuasive portrayal of this episode to date; it also sheds light on the continuing struggles of Pentecostal women called to ministry in a man's world...I highly recommend it, not just because it teIls a good story--though it certainly does that--but also because its insights into the Pentecostal cult of personality are all too relevant today.--Arlene M. Sanchez Walsh"Books & Culture" (05/01/2008)

Product Description

Aimee Semple McPherson was the most flamboyant and controversial minister in the United States between the world wars, building a successful megachurch, a mass media empire, and eventually a political career to resurrect what she believed was America's Christian heritage. Sutton's definitive study reveals the woman as a trail-blazing pioneer, her life marking the beginning of Pentecostalism's advance to the mainstream of American culture.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2586 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (30 Jun 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0010NXU6W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #354,405 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book 11 Nov 2007
By E. Blum - Published on
This is an incredible biography of Aimee Semple McPherson, one of America's most important religious leaders. It is a fabulous read (I breezed through it on a long plane ride); it tells amazing stories of supposed kidnappings and faith healings, of sexual intrigue and flappers, of patriotism and anti-Communism. Every chapter was fascinating. Professor Sutton shows how Sister Aimee played a pivotal role in helping to create what we call today the Christian Right. Its ability to connect old-time religion, media ingenuity, and American nationalism does seem to build from McPherson. Great book for the classroom, the airplane, or the beach.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Giving "Sister Aimee" her due 24 May 2009
By Jim Baumer - Published on
Long before megachurches and names like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen became commingled with American Christianity, Aimee Semple McPherson was America's key religious figure, representing fundamentalism and old-time religion in America between the two World Wars. She was America's most famous and certainly flamboyant minister, during the 1920s, 1930s, and even into the early 1940s. Given the scope of her influence, and thorough remaking of the country's religious landscape, it is unfortunate that so few within, and without the confines of American Christendom know about "Sister Aimee" today.

While there have been books detailing McPherson's life before (both Edith Blumhofer and Daniel Epstein produced solid works about McPherson) Matthew Avery Sutton's Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America is the first book that places her firmly within the cultural, political, and religious milieu of her era.

The book, which came out in 2007, avoids some the traps of previous treatments of McPherson's life--the stereotypes and caricature so often attendant with this early 20th century religious icon.

Avery does an excellent job of highlighting the context of the period when McPherson's star began to rise. From simple beginnings on a farm in Ontario, McPherson would utilize the new media of her day, particularly radio, to draw upon the burgeoning appeal of popular entertainment, and the development of modern day Hollywood.

While there is no doubt that McPherson would have attained a measure of fame and notoriety regardless of where she put down roots, the city of Los Angeles during the 1920s was the perfect place for someone with McPherson's gifts, charisma, and sexual aura to be living. It is Avery's ability to place McPherson within this context, and his understanding of its importance that makes his book the standout that it is.

Avery clearly makes the case that it was McPherson who deserves credit for the megachurch movement, and the political strength exhibited by the religious right, and figures such as James Dobson.

Eighty years ago, fundamentalism floundering. It was on the ropes, after taking an uppercut to the jaw from the Scopes Trial, and repeated attacks from liberal theologians like Fosdick, making claims that modern science invalidated the fundamentalist theology. McPherson and her allies reshaped the "old-time religion" and found new ways to promote it and connect it to changes happening in mainstream American culture.

Avery's book is well-researched, without being overly pedantic, or unnecessarily scholarly. This isn't to say that it doesn't hold up well as a strong source of historical documentation.

He takes a very even-handed approach to an important 20th century figure, one that is sadly underrepresented in the 21st century, and should be, given the importance of who she was, and what she represented, particularly her role model for women, as a religious and cultural pioneer.

The book should appeal to anyone wanting to broaden their understanding of America and early 20th century history. It also is a very strong work on the phenomenon of urban growth in the last century, particularly Los Angeles, and its ascendancy to becoming one of the nation's great cities.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 25 Dec 2010
By Pamela Bodine - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always been interested in women in ministry from the early years. Aimee Semple McPherson was a complex but Godly woman. This book shares her victories and failures. The author paints a picture of the true woman behind the fame. She loved the Lord with all her heart, made a few mistakes, but ended up in history as a mighty warrior who started a demonination that is still growing. Whether you like her or not, she was fascinating and effective. I really enjoyed this book and was inspired in my own ministry.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More then just a reference. 10 Oct 2008
By C.White - Published on
Matthew Avery Sutton's Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America is a great source for reference on the life of Aimee Semple McPherson and the controversy that went along with it. This book provides positive incite for both the reader who knows of McPherson and the Four Square Gospel and for someone all together new to the topic. Sutton provides clear information in an appealing and interesting way. This may not be your beach novel, but it is a good read and filled with important information from a historian who clearly knows his topic well.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From A Secular View 4 Nov 2008
By So. Calif book reader - Published on
I've read the books on ASM by Blumhofer and Epstein and prefer them both more than this one. "Storming Heaven" is good too. This one was from a more political viewpoint, in which some good points were made, but it was hard to tell whether he's on Aimee's side or not. But it is nonbiased writing. The fundamental/political mix written about is still relevant and active in today's America. She was a leader there is no doubt.
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Popular Highlights

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McPherson did not want to draw members away from their home congregations, but she hoped to send visitors and tourists back to their various denominations filled with the pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit. &quote;
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users
By citing American presidents along with theologians, McPherson intentionally associated fundamentalism with patriotism, and theological liberalism with un-Americanism. &quote;
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she brought conservative Protestantism back from the margins to the mainstream of American culture, by arguing that Christians had an obligation to fight for the issues they believed in and boldly proclaiming that patriotism and faith were inseparable. &quote;
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users

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