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Woodbine Willie

Woodbine Willie [Kindle Edition]

Bob Holman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Woodbine Willie was remarkable. After his years as an army chaplain, he campaigned against a social system that rewarded those returning from the trenches with poverty and indifference. No one is more equipped to recover the memory of this great and complex figure than Bob Holman." -- Richard Holloway, Former Bishop of Edinburgh "This is a fascinating tale of an inspiring figure." -- Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, London "Timely and well researched... well written. If you like a good biography with the sniff of cordite, this is not to be missed." Evangelicals Now

Product Description

Woodbine Willie was the affectionate nickname of the Reverend Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, an Anglican priest who volunteered as a chaplain on the Western Front during the First World War. He won the Military Cross for his reckless courage, running into No Man’s Land to help the wounded. This superb biography is based on original interviews with those who knew and loved him. A deep and real concern for his fellow men drove him relentlessly, and this book shows how vital was the role he played, on the battlefields of the trenches and then the slums.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 416 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Books (22 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,682 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By brendap
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave this book 5 stars because I have waited so long for Woodbine Willie to be given the recognition he deserves and Bob Holman is just the person to do it well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting biography 2 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good, but gets rather dry at times and tends to branch off into social analysis rather than biography. Could have been made into a more exciting human story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly honest and honourable man 5 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Less about the Great War than I expected, but certainly worthy of the reveiws I had read. He was indeed an astonishing human being with the author being equally sensitive and honest regards his strenghs and weakness's. My grandfathers death at the Somme 01/07/16 making it all the more relevant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a moving read about a great and unusual priest 13 May 2013
By Drwatts
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a well written stimulating account of the life of a radical and influential Christian minister who reached millions outside the doors of the Church in the trenches as a chaplain and after World War 1 as a wide ranging travelling speaker ..His message of the reality of the living Christ as one who suffered and died for us all regardless of our culture of class made a huge impact and is the same today .His insights on the senseless of war and means to bring reconciliation and peace are still much needed today.

Bob Holman has researched the book very thoroughly including talking to relatives and people who knew him and the book also forms a fine introduction Stoddert Kennedys writing -still very much worth reading today .
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5.0 out of 5 stars a rare parson in touch with the working class 15 May 2014
Fr. Studdart Kennedy came from a long line of priests and his dad was vicar of a church I knew well: St. Mary’s, Quarry Hill, Leeds. The Quarry Hill flats, now demolished, were eyed up by Adolf Hitler for the base of his operations in Northern England.

Most of his ministry was in working class parishes of a moderate catholic tradition – ceremonial was to help people to pray, not an end in itself, and the daily mass was established.

And he was popular. He spoke their ‘salty’ language. He converted more men over a pint of beer than most parsons could achieve. He criticised war after his experiences in the trenches but he was no pacifist. He thought that young men would be challenged and become more mature by facing German guns than by consorting to girls of vice. He set up self-help groups for men in thrall to prostitutes and/or drink.

The author is a Christian Socialist but Kennedy was suspicious of the Labour Party, seeing it as copying the rich just as the rich took money from the poor, so it wanted to reverse the process – the poor would take from the rich: We must learn to hate with a bitter lasting hatred the idolatry of wealth... We took it for granted that man was made to make money, that true happiness could be bought... It has spoiled the spirit of our people, weakened our Government, and corrupted our institutions.' Holman sees parallels in New Labour under Blair.

He was a brilliant preacher: One moment he has them in fits of laughter, the next he has hold of their heart-strings, and is drawing those hearts to Christ and all that is good.

He wanted reform of the Prayer Book and lectionary, bishops to live in houses rather than palaces and the abolition of the parsonic voice. He also questioned aspects of the monarchy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ! 12 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this excellent biography Holman creates a graphic account of an almost forgotten WW1 hero.
Relying on Woodbine Willie's own prose and poetry, previous works of his contemporaries, soldiers, clerics and friends and interviews with previous authors of Studdert Kennedy's life as well as his descendants, Holman has created a very readable and fascinating account of one mans Christian dedication and courage in WW1 and its aftermath.
It is not a book cluttered with details of battles, which the reader needs if needs can find elsewhere, the story is simply about the man, his life and death and his legacy.
A eye opener to the social plight of millions in Britain 100 years ago.
A recommended read for anyone reading around the social history of WW1.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious after subject's death 3 April 2014
The first half was good with WW struggling to match his beliefs in a merciful God with the horrors of war. But the rest of book became an exercise in tedious analysis, focusing on Christian principles and how they might be implemented as part of economic policy. The problem for WW was that while he presented the evils of social injustice and inequality very well he possessed no real strategy as to how to address them. He didn't, for example, believe in strike action, one of the key weapons of the working classes in pursuit of better pay and conditions etc. I'm afraid I skimmed quickly through the last twenty or thirty pages as I'd stopped learning anything about the hero of the story. A good book generally but too much waffle.
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