One Soul at a Time: The Story of Billy Graham

Grant Wacker. Eerdmans, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7472-6
Historian Wacker (America’s Pastor) provides an overview of the public life and career of Christian evangelical leader Billy Graham (1918–2018) in this comprehensive biography. Beginning with Graham’s rocky start to pastoring at Bob Jones Bible College in 1936, Wacker explains how this experience and Graham’s transfer to Florida Bible Institute confirmed his desire to preach. With only a brief introduction to Graham’s theology, Wacker’s analysis focuses mainly on Graham’s preaching crusade and rise to fame in the 1940s, including revivals that lasted for weeks and his role as an advisor to American presidents. Graham had an outsized public influence on issues such as segregation, poverty, and American wars abroad—on which he frequently clashed with politicians. Wacker draws from the work of fellow historians to round out his portrait, such as what initially sparked Graham’s interest in social reform (an experience giving to evangelical humanitarian organization World Vision) and how he successfully harnessed television (and later the internet) to promote his Bible crusades. Wacker also often includes quotes from press conferences and interviews (“I think Vietnam has taught us... that we are not all-powerful and that America is not the Kingdom of God”) to give the flavor of Graham’s voice. This detailed, enjoyable biography will please readers interested in Graham’s political life and influence on American culture. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/09/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Religion
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