Forgiven: The Rise and Fall of Jim Bakker and the PTL Ministry

Charles E. Shepard, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $22.95 (635p) ISBN 978-0-87113-293-2
Written in a flat, low-keyed reportorial style, this lengthy account of televangelist Jim Bakker and his PTL ministry is a devastating, behind-the-scenes portrayal of deceit, mismanagement and greed. Shepard is the Charlotte Observer journalist whose exposes forced Bakker's resignation in 1987 and helped thwart his return to power; he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reportage. Aided by scores of interviews, he follows Bakker from his Muskegon, Mich., boyhood, through his histrionics as a TV evangelist working for Pat Robertson to his masterminding of PTL as it grew into a $180-million corporation. Bakker and Tammy Faye posed as a model couple, but off the set their marriage was deeply troubled, according to Shepard. He views Bakker as a pathological narcissist and a cynical manipulator. Readers seeking gossipy details about the Jessica Hahn scandal, Bakker's alleged homosexual activities and his internecine feud with Jerry Falwell will not be disappointed. Above all, this bizarre saga attests to the dominant influence of TV on American life. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-87113-398-4
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