THE GENERAL NEXT TO GOD by Richard Collier


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The dual account of General William Booth and the Salvation Army is told with evident relish and sympathy. General Booth was a burning figure both as an evangelist and social crusader. His sermons were as simple as a white-hot horseshoe and his motto was, ""Go for souls, and go for the worst."" As a young preacher, he was expelled from the Methodist ministry and so set to work recruiting his own followers. The idea of the Salvation Army did not spring to his mind full-blown, but was rather an accumulation of activities. In 1865 he looked about him in London and saw the city's poor swimming in indescribable depths of vice. One of the Army's earliest campaigns was against child prostitution and white slavery, during which the Army was instrumental in getting social reform legislation passed. The Army's first street band came about accidentally, when the General's bodyguards turned out to be brass players. Soup kitchens and beds for the indigent were also later innovations. During his lifetime the General saw his Army grow into a globe-circling institution. This biography is a bit bleached out in spots, quite vivid in others.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1965
Publisher: Dutton