Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America s First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in The 1920s

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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935456117
  • Publisher: Hillcrest Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 393
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    In Texas, admit to murder and get acquitted.

    I had never heard of this pastor so was very interested in how a man of God could confess to a murder and then be acquitted. The fact that the man was also one of the first Baptist Fundamentalist ministers to have a mega-church was also intriguing. The author has presented the pastor with all his good and bad points along with the reactions of the town members of Fort Worth during the 1920's. Mr. Stokes'obvious grasp of the way the rough and tumble State approached law and justice in those days demonstrates a familiarity with the nuances that only deep study or personal knowledge would accomplish. Although somewhat dry and repetitive in places, the story includes the background, the murder scene, the trial, and the views of the journalists covering the trial in detail. It was a interesting account of a famous Texas trial with a famous personality-cult-like defendant. I gave it 3 stars

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  • Posted June 10, 2010

    True crime novel questions whether a megachurch pastor got away with murder

    Apparent Danger by David Stokes is a true crime look at the 1920s murder trial of America's first megachurch pastor. J. Frank Norris was a controversial figure in Fort Worth, Texas. The head preacher of First Baptist Church was well known for his courting of trouble and links with the Ku Klux Klan. After fighting with city leaders for more than fifteen years, he shot and killed D.E. Chipps, a lumberman, in his office saying that it was self-defense. His trial created national interest and was filled with countless colorful figures. Stokes tells the story of the tension between Norris and the people of Fort Worth over the course of twenty years, laying the groundwork for the murder and trial to come. He occasionally throws in his opinion on the case making it obvious that he believes in Norris' guilt, however the evidence he gives doesn't prove that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I wish that Norris had personally interviewed some people associated with the case and included some pictures of the main players. I spent plenty of time on Google Images looking up pictures of the main players. The case is truly fascinating, and Stokes presents the evidence and characters well, but the book suffers for not providing the answer that has lingered for over 80 years: did Norris shoot Chipps in cold blood or self-defense?

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