Billy Sunday And The Redemption Of Urban America

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This is the first full-length treatment of mass-evangelist Billy Sunday to appear in 30 years. Lyle Dorsett makes a fresh and original contribuion to our understanding of this pugnaious baseball player-turned-preacher with his use of the Sunday family papers, a source previously unavailable to biographers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802801517
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/2/1991
  • Series: Library of Religious Biography
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 0.52 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Nathan O. Hatch

  1. Hard Times (1862-1882)
  2. Onward and Upward (1883-1891)
  3. The Apprenticeship (1891-1896)
  4. The Kerosene Circuit (1896-1907)
  5. The Redemption of Urban America (1908-1920)
  6. Agony and Decline (1921-1935)
  7. Legacy

Afterword (1935-1957)
Notes on Sources

Get on the Water Wagon


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2002

    Billy Sunday: Urban Transformer

    Lyle W. Dorsett¿s biography of William Ashley Sunday weds his two passions: urban history and evangelical Christianity. Dorsett, an Anglican priest as well as historian at Wheaton College (IL), gives readers a new lens through which to view the career of this popular evangelist of the early 20th Century. He not only tells us of Sunday¿s humble beginnings as a midwestern evangelist but also about his influence upon urban America. He reminds us that Sunday¿s polemics and vulgarity were used to fight poverty, prohibition, and promiscuity. Although Dorsett¿s narrative is multi-faceted and flowing, and we see the results of the evangelist¿s career on his private and public life, we see little of Sunday¿s own feelings. Dorsett believes Sunday had no private persona because he was wrapped up in public showmanship, and, unlike previous biographers, Dorsett had no personal contact with Sunday or his wife. Perhaps more attention to Sunday¿s journals might shed additional light on Sunday¿s internal state. Even though Dorsett does not always account for Sunday¿s psyche, he still gives us a Sunday we never knew before: the urban transformer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2002

    Dorsett's book on Sunday is a hit!

    In Dorsett's accessible book, the author describes how a former baseball star became the most popular American evangelist during the early twentieth century. From his childhood in the rural Midwest to the height of his career holding a citywide campaign in New York City, Dorsett attributes Sunday's success to his willingness to follow the Lord's calling. Unlike earlier biographies, Dorsett uses the Sunday Family Papers to portray Sunday's life from both within and without his tabernacles. Dorsett notes Sunday's faults but presents them without belittling his character. The book is sympathetic yet critical. Dorsett delves into Sunday's devoted relationship with his wife as well as his children's failures. The book lacks a summary of Sunday's theology, but it covers in detail the character of his enthusiastic preaching.

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