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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America's First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s » User review

The power of a pulpit misused

  • May 21, 2010
Rating:
+5
This book is about a man that was fiery, controversial and a fundamentalist preacher that operated in Forth Worth, Texas with a radio network that went to many states. J. Frank Norris was the preacher and in his life he was separately indicted for arson and murder. He was pastor of what was arguably the first megachurch in America; his influence was broad and deep. It is amazing to think that he gunned down a man in his church and yet his ministry did not suffer to any great extent. Norris lived by creating a continuous stream of nasty invective against anyone that dared speak against him and his methods as well as Catholicism in general.
This book is a detailed description of Norris, his life, ministry and trial for murder, one that was labeled the Texas trial of the decade. The title term "Apparent Danger" refers to the primary tactic of the defense team and likely the only one between Norris and a conviction. It refers to the doctrine that a person can kill another if they perceive themselves in danger from the other. Since Norris shot the other man several times and the man was completely weaponless, no other defense was possible.
It was a trial that was transferred to Austin, Texas on a change of venue, yet it had a significant polarizing effect on Forth Worth. Norris's followers truly believed in a vast conspiracy involving anyone that stood up to Norris. Some praise must be given to a few fundamentalist preachers that did speak out against Norris, but they were quite rare and largely ignored.
The roots from Norris and his religious fundamentalist are vast and deep, including John Birch, the Christian missionary whose name was used in the creation of the "John Birch Society." There is also significant interweaving of the power of the Ku Klux Klan. Power is derived from many sources and can be fed in many ways. This book is an amazing description of an instance where power emanated from the pulpit and was fed by hatred, character assassination and the ability to get thousands of people to believe in the infallibility of a man willing to use a gun on another.

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More Apparent Danger: The Pastor of... reviews
review by . April 10, 2010
Stokes, David. "Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America's First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s", Bascom Hill Books, 2010.    An In-Depth Study    Amos Lassen    I was an undergraduate history major and I remember so well one of my professors who told us that history was the telling of stories. That is exactly what David Stokes does here in "Apparent Danger". He takes a historical incident, checks all of …
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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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David Stokes has written a book that is both entertaining and informative. Entertaining, as are all well-written true crime tales. And informative, about an important figure in American history a man who touched the lives of everyone from Herbert Hoover to Jerry Falwell to John Birch. (Yes,thatJohn Birch.) --James Pinkerton, Contributor to Fox News andThe Huffington Post<br /><br />Everyone loves a good story, and David Stokes has unearthed one from history s archives and served it up with style and verve. --David Pietrusza, Author of1920: The Year of Six Presidents<br /><br />Like J. Frank Norris himself, this book moves briskly from one controversy to another. A fascinating read about a fascinating man. --Barry Hankins, Professor of History, Baylor University

Like J. Frank Norris himself, this book moves briskly from one controversy to another. A fascinating read about a fascinating man. --Barry Hankins, Professor of History, Baylor University

David Stokes has written a book that is both entertaining and informative. Entertaining, as are all well-written true crime tales. And informative, about an important figure in American history a man who touched the lives of everyone from Herbert Hoover to Jerry Falwell to John Birch. (Yes,thatJohn Birch.) --James Pinkerton, Contributor to Fox News andThe Huffington Post
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Details

ISBN-10: 1935456113
ISBN-13: 978-1935456117
Author: David Stokes
Genre: History
Publisher: Bascom Hill Books
First to Review

"An In-Depth Study"
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