Rylander Memorial Library

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November 21, 2007 Review

The Preacher and the President: Billy Graham in the White House by Nancy Gibbs, Shadow and Lies by Marjorie Eccles, Too Far from Home by Chris Jones

Nancy Bannister

November 21, 2007

Reading Recommendations:

The Preacher and the Presidents, Billy Graham in the White House, Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy -

In this extraordinary book, Time's Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy unwrap the tale of how one preacher came to know every president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush. No other figure in American history managed to do what evangelist Billy Graham did: he counseled them all, prayed with them, knew their spouses, their children, their aides, and played a role in almost every presidential election between 1952 and 2000.

The presidents called for comfort and asked the simplest questions: How do I know if I'll go to heaven,? Eisenhower wanted to know. Do you believe in the second coming?, Kennedy wondered. Will I see my parents when I die?, Johnson asked. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton needed help with forgiveness. George W. Bush asked if some sins are worse than others.

Graham also offered shrewd political counsel and a sharp read on the American mood. But the friendships posed a challenge: how could any president resist taking political advantage of one of the world's most admired men? For Graham, how did he resist the temptations that come when power, faith, and fame collide? And, what did he learn from being allowed to look inside the hearts of the presidents and the workings of the White House?

With unrivaled access to both Graham and the presidents he knew, Gibbs and Duffy have uncovered a story of trouble and triumph, sin and forgiveness that goes a long way toward explaining why our faith and our politics are knit so tightly in America.

And, Shadows and Lies, A Mystery, Marjorie Eccles -

It is the year 1910 and the bloodstained body of an unknown woman is found on the grounds of Sir Henry Chetwynd's Shropshire estate. A reluctant heir to the estate, Sebastian Chetwynd is already battling with divided loyalties: his ambition for a career of his own and his father's expectation that he follow in his footsteps, and his duty to marry for money when he is in love with Louisa, a student doctor and supporter of women's rights.

Unknown to the Chetwynds, there is Hannah, living in London, who has lost her memory of everything that happened in the dozen years previous to a serious accident. In an attempt to unravel her past, Hannah writes down the story of her life as far as she can remember it. As she reaches out to grasp and piece together the fragments of those missing years, it seems that the ongoing murder investigation in Shropshire could hold the key.

Switching between troubled South Africa in the last years of the 19th century and the murder in England 10 years later, Marjorie Eccles's delicate narrative reveals the lies and deceptions that have him beneath the veneer of polite Edwardian society.

And, Too Far From Home, On February 1, 2003, 10 astronauts were orbiting the planet. Seven were headed back to earth on the space shuttle Columbia. They never made it, and the three men left behind found themselves Too Far From Home. Chris Jones put this true story on paper, a story of life and death in space.

Have you ever wondered how our astronauts eat their meals, sleep, bathe and take care of natural acts we take for granted? I can assure the reader, this is a cliff hanger, a book I've found hard to put down. Every American should read this one!

See you at Rylander!