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The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial That Captivated America    by David R. Stokes order for
Shooting Salvationist
by David R. Stokes
Order:  USA  Can
Steerforth Press, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

'The Shooting Salvationist chronicles what may be the most famous story you have never heard.' So says the flyleaf of this extremely interesting book.

The Reverend J. Frank Norris hated vice and conspiracies. He ranted and raved from his pulpit as he named names of those whose actions he felt needed to be stopped. He was not averse to outing those he felt needed to be brought to justice and used his newspaper, radio station, and church to accomplish this.

It was not unusual for him to preach to thousands at a time in the First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He was held in high regard by his parishioners. However, those he exposed did not have kindly thoughts toward him.

While he was not gunned down himself, he was the defendant in a murder trial. The prosecutors felt he had not shot a man in self defense but that it was cold blooded murder. The Shooting Salvationist is a fascinating book about a fascinating man. Believe in him or not; he was a force in society and apparently thought a great deal of himself.

The Shooting Salvationist has been thoroughly researched and not only captures the man himself but also the atmosphere of the United States after World War I. It's not a book to quickly skim. Yet the author has very ably managed to tell what could be a dry and possibly boring tale and bring it alive. Norris may have had thousands of members of his church, but not everyone saw him as the man to lead their lives.

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