The Core of Johnny Appleseed: The Unknown Story of a Spiritual Trailblazer

Ray Silverman. Swedenborg Foundation (Chicago Distribution Center, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-0-87785-345-9
The author (Rise Above It: Spiritual Development through the Ten Commandments) explores the man and the myth of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) in history, telling quite a tale. Far beyond the Walt Disney version that may be familiar to many readers, Johnny was a pioneer who not only sowed fruit trees but also was a theologian who spread the gospel of the New Church in America as a follower of the visionary scientist-theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. "From home to home he went, armed not only with apple seeds, but with the seeds of heavenly truth he found in Swedenborg's writings," Silverman writes. He dispels the myths that Johnny walked always barefoot and lived with the animals and documents his genealogy and purchases of apple seeds. In his later years, he bartered land for Swedenborg's books. This is an engaging biography of an underexamined nineteenth-century figure. Illustrations by Nancy Poes use soft lines and washes and are evocative. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
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