Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham

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Overview

Ruth Bell Graham is known as the wife of evangelist Billy Graham. It was Ruth who influenced Billy, as his most trusted life-partner. In Ruth, a Portrait, we meet this fascinating and remarkable woman. Brimming with anecdotes, this is a breathtaking journey, with stops at many of this century's epoch-making events.

The childhood years of the future Mrs. Billy Graham were spent light-years away—in the China of the 1920s and 1930s. The daughter of medical missionaries, she and her...

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Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham

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Overview

Ruth Bell Graham is known as the wife of evangelist Billy Graham. It was Ruth who influenced Billy, as his most trusted life-partner. In Ruth, a Portrait, we meet this fascinating and remarkable woman. Brimming with anecdotes, this is a breathtaking journey, with stops at many of this century's epoch-making events.

The childhood years of the future Mrs. Billy Graham were spent light-years away—in the China of the 1920s and 1930s. The daughter of medical missionaries, she and her family were caught in a crucible of unspeakable hardship; in addition to pestilence and plague, there was the unstable political and military turmoil surrounding the Nationalist government, the Communists, and the Japanese invaders. These hazardous realities shaped Ruth Bell and her family, a family inured to difficulties, but buoyed up by their deep belief in God's abiding will.

Virtually raised by the Grahams, the author is a repository of Ruth Bell Graham's stories and has seen firsthand the spirit of this courageous woman. Patricia Cornwell not only gives readers a full, rounded, and intimate portrait of Ruth Bell Graham, but also insight into the life of the Graham family and particularly Billy Graham.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What is it like to be the wife of the preacher to the presidents, the peripatetic world evangelist Billy Graham? In this new version of her first book, published in 1983, popular crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, a long-time friend of the Graham family, draws an intimate and engaging portrait of a strong woman whose life is deeply informed by her religious faith. Relying on conversations with Ruth Bell Graham and anecdotes from Ruth Graham's life with Billy Graham, Cornwell chronicles the life of Ruth Graham from her childhood years as the daughter of medical missionaries in China to her life as the woman at the side of Billy Graham. As the child of these missionaries, Ruth Graham's strong, indomitable will was shaped by the hardships which her family faced as Christians in a country whose government opposed the presence of Christians. This biography also tells of Ruth Graham's great desire to be a missionary to Tibet, and the ways in which her dreams were altered when she met Billy Graham at Wheaton College in 1940. Cornwell's biography illuminates the life of a woman whose devotion to husband and family is an expression of her devotion to God. Ruth Graham also emerges in this book as a strong-willed mother who seeks to teach her children about the love and compassion of God through her own example. Cornwell's book will serve as an ideal companion volume to Billy Graham's just-released autobiography, Just As I Am. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A study of evangelist Billy Graham's wife from an old family friend -- Edgar Award-winning author Cornwell.
Kirkus Reviews
A syrupy but engaging biography of the famous preacher's irrepressible wife.

This is bestselling novelist Cornwell's (Unnatural Exposure, p. 759, etc.) second attempt at a biography of her mentor, 77-year- old Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy. The first try, published in 1982, caused the very private Ruth to distance herself from Cornwell for eight years. It's hard to imagine what Ruth could find objectionable about this version: She comes across as a near saint, enduring a dangerous mission childhood in China, terrible migraine headaches as an adult (of which she "never complained"), and marriage to a mostly absent husband. Graham himself doesn't come off so well in this telling, seeming at times imperious or callous, even leaving a feverish Ruth alone for days, right after their honeymoon, when he received an invitation to preach (in his bestselling autobiography, Graham notes that, after all, she "recovered quickly"). The book is filled with the tales of Ruth's quiet and heroic efforts to help others, visiting murderers and addicts in prison, aiding Vietnamese refugees, and assisting many students through college. These stories are touching, but they reveal less about the person of Ruth than they do about the genre of hagiography. In writing this book, Cornwell had complete access to Ruth's diaries but notes that, on a couple of key issues (like her migraines), Ruth censored her own journals.

Yet whenever Cornwell allows this guise of saintly perfection to slip away, we glimpse a truly intriguing woman—one who designed their family's hand-hewed log cabin practically behind Billy's back, who learned to ride a motorcycle as an empty-nester, and who nearly killed herself in 1974 while rigging up a daredevil mudslide for her kids on their Carolina mountain.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385489003
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 186,693
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia  Cornwell
Patricia Cornwell
Readers of Patricia Cornwell's crime novels need a strong stomach, both for the gruesome details and the suspenseful turns of her plots. With medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell created a cool and compelling heroine who repeatedly draws readers back for more.

Biography

Patricia Cornwell writes crime fiction from an unusually informed point of view. While many writers are, as she says, conjuring up "fantasy" assumptions regarding what really goes into tracking criminals and examining crime scenes, Cornwell really does walk the walk, which is why her novels ring so true.

Before becoming one of the most widely recognized, respected, and read writers in contemporary crime fiction, she worked as a police reporter for The Charlotte Observer and as a computer analyst in the chief medical examiner's office in Virginia. During this period of her life, Cornwell observed literally hundreds of autopsies. While the vast majority of people would surely regard such work unsavory beyond belief, Cornwell was acquiring valuable information that would not only help her write the groundbreaking 2002 study Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper -- Case Closed but would also enrich her fiction with uncommon authenticity.

"Most of these crime scene shows... are what I call ‘Harry Potter' policing," she said in a candid, heated interview. "They're absolutely fantasy. And the problem is the general public watches these, 60 million people a week or whatever, and they think what they're seeing is true." If Cornwell comes off as a bit vehement in her criticism of television shows meant to simply entertain, that's just because she takes her work so seriously.

Not that Cornwell's novels are ever anything short of entertaining, even if their grisly details may require extra-strong stomachs of her readers. She has created a tremendously well-defined and complex character in her favorite fictional crime solver Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell introduced medical examiner Scarpetta in her first novel, Postmortem in 1990. Today, Scarpetta is still cracking cases and cracking open cadavers. (She has even inspired a cook book called Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen.) In addition, Cornwell writes more lighthearted cop capers in her Andy Brazil & Judy Hammer series.

Good To Know

Cornwell knows what its like to shatter records. Her debut, Postmortem, was the only novel by a first-time author to ever win five major mystery awards in a single year.

Cornwell may be a former crime solver, but she shudders to think that her books could actually contribute to crime. In fact, she says she has received "thank you" notes from prisoners who claim they have gleaned information from her books that might help them cover their tracks while committing future crimes.

If parody is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then Cornwell has a fan in Chris Elliott. The professional wisenheimer published a hilarious takeoff on her true crime book Portrait of a Killer called The Shroud of the Thwacker.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Patricia Daniels Cornwell (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Boston, MA and New York, NY
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Inspiring

    This inspiring woman is relatable in so many situations. I go back to this story time and time again.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    A great book and up lifting

    This book was a true eye opener and the first book that i truly wanted to read in years i have read patrica cornwells books for several years and this book was a true departure from any other work of hers i had read it was very uplifting and a eye opener Ruth was and is truly a very special person as well as her husband Billy .The insight cornnwell exposed in this book showed the true closeness she and ruth shared even the few
    Pictures were very private family photos .it took me inside her hardships and strugles to be a mother and a wife of truly a very godley family .cornwell exposed the turmoil in her life torn between being a wife and hat she wanted to be in her heart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    Encouraging

    In a day of confusion, it is encouraging to read this work of the life history of Ruth Graham. From her early beginning in 1920's China, to her career as the wife of the world's most noted evangelist, this book will inspire!

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