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Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America's First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s Hardcover – June, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Bascom Hill Books (June 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935456113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935456117
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,678,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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, that John Birch.) --James Pinkerton, Contributor to Fox News and The 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 of 1920: 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, that John Birch.) --James Pinkerton, Contributor to Fox News and The Huffington Post

From the Author

Check out my new novel, CAMELOT'S COUSIN: An Espionage Thriller, available in e-book and paperback formats at Amazon.  A discovery long buried in a Northern Virginia yard contains clues to the last great secret of the Cold War -- a Soviet spy near the Kennedy White House. This enemy agent influences all the crises in the era called Camelot, from the Bay of Pigs, to the Berlin Wall, to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and even a fateful day in Dallas.

More About the Author

David R. Stokes (58) is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He is currently working on several projects for publication 2014.

Retired FBI Agent and Bestselling author, Bob Hamer, says, "David Stokes combines his meticulous research with a writing style which makes you feel as though you are that fly-on-the-wall witnessing history as it unfolds."

David grew up in the Detroit, Michigan area and has been a minister for 36 years. Along the way he added radio broadcaster, columnist, and author to his resume, while living and serving in Texas, Illinois, New York, and for the past 16 years--beautiful Northern Virginia. David has been married to his wife, Karen, for more than 38 years and they have been blessed with three daughters--all now grown and with wonderful children of their own.

There are, in fact, seven grandchildren, a fact verified by hundreds--maybe thousands--of pictures, as well as an ever-growing collection of toys joyously cluttering their home.

Visit David's website: http://www.davidrstokes.com

Customer Reviews

This enjoyable book was an easy read.
PastorB
Author David Stokes takes soooo much time telling and re-telling details that seem unimportant to the topic that I found my eyes glazing over.
Leslie, Diamondhead, MS
Marcet shows up to interview J. Frank Norris after he shot D.E. Chips.
Dwayne Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One hot July Saturday in 1926, the pastor of America's largest Protestant church shot an unarmed critic to death in the church offices. The media circus that followed presaged the celebrity trials of the Twentieth Century, divided churches nationwide, and shaped the future of Evangelical Christianity for generations. And now, few people even remember that it happened.

In the first half of his book, David Stokes traces Reverend J. Frank Norris' life and career. Though he was new and inflammatory in his time, Norris' career has all the hallmarks of a modern Evangelical firebrand. He used theatrical techniques to make converts, weighed in on hot-button political issues, and was willing to alienate some of Fort Worth, Texas, if it served his ministry. He also made enemies like few preachers before him.

Then Stokes moves on to Norris' murder trial. With new wire-service technology and a court full of aggressive stringers, the trial held America's newspaper readers transfixed day by day and polarized the nation. Mixing drama, religion, and law, the story Stokes pulls together reveals what happens when the two pillars of Texas culture, church and guns, come a cropper of each other.

Stokes keeps readers glued to the page, learning about a part of American history that didn't make it into our schoolbooks. Though he's telling a true story, he skillfully uses storytelling techniques to build anticipation and keep us as riveted as 1927 newspaper readers. Even as Stokes delves into legal terms and court transcripts, I couldn't tear my attention away from his gripping narrative.

I would have liked to see more aggressive copy-checking in the writing. Stokes has many misplaced commas, typos, and other quirks.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Fritz R. Ward TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The great English historian J.C.D. Clark once argued that all great history took the form of a narrative. Narrative writing, however, is a difficult art to master and few do it well. David Stokes, in his first book, shows he is already at the top of the profession. This book is at once biography, social history, and a "true crime" work wrapped into one.

At the heart of the book is the story of fundamentalist minister J. Franklin Norris, pastor of the first mega church in America and a controversial figure in the politics of Fort Worth, Texas. Norris relished politics and identified with William Jennings Bryan, the great commoner and prosector at the Scopes trial. Like Bryan, Norris craved publicity, but he had a darker side as well. He occasionally sided with the resurgent Klan of the 1920s, and in 1926 he shot a man, D.E. Chipps. Norris's trial and acquittal rank offer genuine drama and human interest.

But this book offers far more than that. From Jack Dempsey's first loss to Turney, to the rise of professional baseball in Texas and the decline of a wild west mentaility, this book paints a portrait of the 1920s that is at once comprehensive and readable. But perhaps the most important aspect of the book is its exploration of the rise of fundamentalism. This is a uniquely American religious experience. At once passionate, spiritual, and deeply political, it is rooted in nativist tendencies and bible literalism. After his trial, Norris gravitated towards the more spiritual aspects of his faith but this book reminds us that fundamentalism is a vibrant (and sometimes dangerous) outgrowth of the best and worst that America has to offer.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Matthew on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very entertaining read about the sensational murder trial of J. Frank Norris. When you read this book you will wonder how it has avoided being written about before. It is a fascinating story that is told expertly. It is not a biography of Norris, but is the story of the events in 1926-27 leading up to and during the trial.

In style the book is written in a flowing narrative. It reminds me of reading someone like Shelby Foote or H.W. Brands. There are no end notes of any kind, and only selected bibliographical information given for each chapter.

My only real gripe about the book is a fairly major one. The author tries desperately to tie not only Norris but Fundamentalism in general to the Ku Klux Klan. Chapter after chapter in the first half or so of the book is filled with pointing to people or events tied (sometimes by great stretches) to the Klan. Once the story takes off in the second half of the book you will find only a couple of mentions of the Klan. Since it has no real bearing on the actual story of the trial I do not see why it has to be such a major emphasis of the book. I am not arguing the facts laid out in the book, but I am worried about the analysis of them. In the preface you will find that the author believes that Fundamentalism and the KKK are organically linked, and he goes to great lengths in attempting to prove it through Norris. A much better analysis of the facts regarding Norris can be found in chapter eight of Barry Hankins' God's Rascal.

For a better biography, try
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