Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson [NOOK Book]


Sister Aimee was a scamp in school, a young widow in China, and a neurotic housewife in Rhode Island, but when the Lord spoke to her, she accepted her ministry and began preaching. This book “fills a significant gap in the history of revivalism” (New York Times Book Review). Photographs.

A powerhouse biography, Sister Aimee fills a significant gap in the history of revivalism, America's most distinctive religious form, with the ...

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Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson

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Sister Aimee was a scamp in school, a young widow in China, and a neurotic housewife in Rhode Island, but when the Lord spoke to her, she accepted her ministry and began preaching. This book “fills a significant gap in the history of revivalism” (New York Times Book Review). Photographs.

A powerhouse biography, Sister Aimee fills a significant gap in the history of revivalism, America's most distinctive religious form, with the sensational tale of Aimee McPherson--an evangelist who had greater drawing power than Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt, or P.T. Barnum before she paid the price for her fame.

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Editorial Reviews

Lindsay Throm
An evangelist's life is automatically subjected to a skepticism that often borders on hostility. Through careful scholarship and direct presentation of both documented facts and unexplainable occurrences, however, Epstein expertly circumvents doubt and generates interest in Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), whose life provides eventful narrative while Epstein's thoughtful analysis creates an intriguing portrait. Incidents in Aimee's childhood demonstrate her strong presence, abounding confidence, and debating skill, and their accumulation accounts for how she became a powerful leader. Her later success as a healer is presented with the same finesse, as Epstein recounts events and their reception at the time, then analyzes them in the light of modern medical knowledge. Aimee's followers were passionately loyal and astoundingly diverse, coming not only from varying segments of society, from prominent citizens to gypsies, but also from segments traditionally opposed to each other, such as blacks and the Ku Klux Klan. In a career that progressed from solitary itinerant preaching through extensive tours in portable tents to sermons in her Los Angeles temple that became lavish, costumed productions, she was profoundly successful, and Epstein clearly shows why: she preached an inclusive philosophy; she questioned, but did not judge. This biography deserves inclusion in every collection.
Kirkus Reviews
Powerhouse biography of perhaps the most charismatic and controversial woman in modern religious history. Although now less than a household name, Aimee Semple McPherson dominated the American spiritual landscape of six or seven decades ago. Her Pentecostal meetings, held first in tents and then in the gigantic Angelus Temple she built in Los Angeles, attracted millions of admirers. The media lionized her. The denomination she founded, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, today boasts 17,000 churches worldwide. Epstein (Love's Compass, 1990, etc.) seems half in love with his subject, and understandably so. He emphasizes her "angelic and foxlike" beauty, her erotic magnetism as a preacher; he takes her side in the great controversy of her life—her mysterious month-long disappearance in 1927, which she ascribed to a foiled kidnapping and her detractors to a romantic fling with her radio operator. Most notably, Epstein is able to write about "miracles" like glossolalia and faith healing (at McPherson's services, the deaf heard and the blind walked, or so eyewitnesses reported) without sneering—or, for that matter, without fawning. He presents the evidence, offers nonreligious (mostly psychoanalytical) explanations, and points out their shortcomings. The author seems to have gathered every scrap of material on McPherson, including such odd items as her surreptitious friendship with atheist Charlie Chaplin and her kind words to a teenaged Anthony Quinn, who played saxophone at her Temple. Epstein never skimps on details, whether limning McPherson's triumphs or her many falls—into depression, nervous breakdowns, loneliness, bad marriages, lawsuits. But this isanything but a lifeless patchwork: The author's admiration and his subject's breathtaking story give the narrative abundant energy. Holy-roller religion at its best, told with fire.
From Barnes & Noble
A scamp in school, a widow in China, and a neurotic housewife in Rhode Island. Then the Lord spoke to Aimee, and a ministry was born. Here's the story of a unique woman whose ministry brought her fame as well as loneliness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547544984
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 66,826
  • File size: 6 MB

Table of Contents

1 The Early Years
Mount Forest, Ontario, 1915 3
Aimee's Parents 5
Childhood Memories 14
School Days 20
Rebellion 29
First Love 40
Conversion 47
Marriage 54
China 64
The Old-time Power 76
Mount Forest, 1915 79
Triumph 86
2 Her Rise to Fame
Corona, New York, 1916 95
A Miraculous Healing 106
Fame 114
The Gypsy Life 126
Philadelphia, 1918 135
California 146
Baltimore, 1919 154
3 The Healing Touch
Washington, D.C., 1920 177
The Rising Tide 184
California, 1921 201
The Great Campaigns 215
The First Abduction 241
4 The Temple
New Year's, 1923 247
At Home in Los Angeles, 1924 259
Scandal 282
Kidnapped 296
Vindication 315
Aimee vs. Minnie, 1927 322
The Crash 338
5 The Final Years
Attar of Roses 355
The Commissary 369
Show Business 383
Sharing the Stage, L.A., 1935 390
Sanctuary 416
Epilogue 439
Notes 441
Bibliography 459
Index of Biblical Passages and References 471
Chronology of Aimee Semple McPherson 473
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007

    One of the top 5 books I've ever read

    When I saw this book, I wanted to walk on by it. I had no interest in Aimee Semple McPherson. But something grabbed me, and I gave it a try. I couldn't put it down! The combination of Epstein's story-telling, and the facts of her life mesmerized me. Her life unfolded like the bud of a flower. Her life was a marvelous combination of spirituality, the blessing of God when she yielded to Him, and reaping what she sowed when she went out of bounds. But instead of looking down on her, it was a feeling of looking under a microscope and probing the life of a huge personality........finding marvelous highs and very sad lows. Epstein's telling of it landed the ball at my feet: I wondered how my life would read, if it were a book. It challenged me to think long and hard about myself. How am I living what I believe? ~ All in all, I came to the end of the book, with such satisfaction, that I couldn't read another book for at least two months. It stayed with me that long! It was the same feeling that you get when you've had the most marvelous steak dinner, and you just don't want to eat another bite of anything else, because what you've just eaten was magnificent. Because, in reading about her life, you read about someone who at least dared to try.....

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2014

    The showcasing and drama added to attract donations

    When the rites rituals color music etc was forbidden by the reforormation and puritans would become more show business than religion in this era. The downfall of this lady put back and in question revivals for years many have followed and the same thing happened to question where the donations really went to cover production and union salaries

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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