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Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith that Almost Changed Everything Paperback – Bargain Price, January 4, 2011


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About the Author

Bill McKay is an award-winning filmmaker and producer, and president of American Trademark Pictures.  His documentary, Great Souls, based on the book by David Aikman, was an award-winning television presentation in 2006.  He is also the coauthor, along with George Barna, of Vital Signs: Emerging Social Trends and the Future of American Christianity.
 
Ken Abraham is a New York Times best-selling author known around the world for his collaborations with high-profile public figures.  His recent books include God in My Corner with George Foreman and Let's Roll! with Lisa Beamer, widow of United Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785298320
  • ASIN: B007HWBCKG
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,042,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It gives a more personal view into the life of a great man allowing you to see his struggles and joys.
Donna Moore
All in all, I enjoyed the fast-paced storytelling of Billy, yet, as with all 250 page books, there are gaps I wish would have been covered.
Nolan Bobbitt
Billy Graham and Charles Templeton were best friends and partners, working together as Evangelists for Youth for Christ.
Tracy Keck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon C. Swanson on January 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The plot of the book is this: a reporter is interviewing a person on his deathbed. In flashbacks, Charles Templeton is talking about the early days of Billy Graham. The reporter is trying to find scandal in Graham's life. Templeton is trying for one last time in the spotlight.

Templeton had been a colleague and mentor to Billy Graham. Eventually, however, he decided that he had too many questions about his faith and gave up his pastorate, gave up his preaching, identified himself as an agnostic, and had a second career as a newspaper reporter.

Templeton talks, in answer to questions by the interviewer, about Graham's early life, decision to be a Christ follower, college mishaps, dating and marriage, and major struggle with his own faith in the Bible.

By focusing on the early years, the years before his big success, this book shows the pieces of Graham's life that can be overshadowed by later years. He attended three colleges before ending up at Wheaton (full disclosure, my college, too). He dealt with people who were pretty legalistic about what counted as church. He was a preacher and then a speaker and then a college president before ending up in the crusade preaching career that most of us know him for. These sections, this thread through the book, is great.

I struggle, however, with other elements.

1. Style of writing. It reads like a book that was written to describe what was on the screen. I want a book to be a book, not an adaptation of a screenplay. I want a book to be about the subject, not about what you are seeing on the screen.

2. Fictionalization. This book is a story about Billy, with elements made up to tell the story. Thus, there are parts of Graham's story that I recognize.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James John Hollandsworth, M.D. VINE VOICE on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Billy Graham remains one of the most iconic figures of our age: a man who has loved & devotedly followed Jesus Christ and worked his entire life to make Him known, while keeping his integrity & humility intact. Any book that shared his early life & crisis of faith would be a worthwhile read.

Or so I thought, until I read this book.

The entire book is framed around an entirely fictional interview of Charles Templeton, an early friend of Billy Graham who turned away from Christianity. Why such a literary device for either this book or the original movie? If the writer's purpose was to simply communicate moral truth via drama, then use historical fiction (Mel Gibson's The Patriot is an obvious example). But if he wanted to let people know what great things God has done in a real person's life, why mix truth with fantasy? I don't know.

And if you are going to chronicle a person's life, by all means do not suddenly put in a sudden imaginary conversation among angels and description of titanic spiritual warfare including Satan personally targeting young Billy's soul which is pure fantasy speculation. Awful. I sincerely hope that Reverend Graham never reads this book; I am convinced he would be deeply hurt.

My advice: if you really want to learn about this man of God, skip this book and instead read Graham's own excellent autobiography Just As I Am.
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Format: Hardcover
I recently was sent a manuscript for the book Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith that Almost Changed Everything by Bill McKay and Ken Abraham. I've read and reviewed other books about Billy Graham, but not any that restricted itself to the beginning stages of his ministry told in narrative form. This book is meant to coincide with a soon-to-be-released movie titled "Billy: The Early Years." In the book, the authors tell the story of Billy Graham's ministry through the eyes of his one-time partner, Charles Templeton. The scene is a hospital, where Templeton is living out his last days with Alzheimer's. An aging reporter, eager to revive her flagging career, has been told to interview Templeton in order to get some dirt on Graham... be it scandals, hypocrisy, or whatever. She sets up in the hospital room with a camera crew and starts the interview, trying to get Templeton to turn on his former colleague. But much to her dismay and amazement, Templeton's cynicism over what Graham believes and preaches is not enough to overcome the fact that he can find no fault in Graham. He knows that however much he belittles the beliefs he used to share, he can't deny that Graham has accomplished far more that should have been humanly possible given his background and skills.

The flow of the story starts back in Graham's teen years, before he became a Christian. After going forward at a tent-style revival, he decides that he wants to attend a bible college and move into some sort of ministry work. Much to his shock and surprise, he's asked to speak in front of a church. Terrified, he covers the breath of his Bible knowledge in rapid-fire fashion... taking an entire seven minutes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vicki A. Small on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Title: Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith That Almost Changed Everything
Authors: William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2008
264 pages

Billy is an unauthorized, true account of young Billy Graham, picking up when he is about 15 years old. It is as much a story of the man who became, for some years, his best friend: Charles Templeton, who, by his own account, was better looking, more articulate and a better preacher than Billy Graham. A popular evangelist, Templeton could command audiences of tens of thousands, when Billy could hope for only a few thousand, on his own. Yet, the two men took different paths in response to severe testing of their faith. Their stories, separate and joined, bring to mind that classic poem by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken":

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.

As the book opens, Templeton is in his early 80's, hospitalized with Alzheimer's. Deborah Matthews, a middle-aged, has-been reporter, is under orders to interview Templeton to "get the dirt" on Graham. Matthews' boss will not accept her assurance that there is no scandal to dig up, and she knows her job is on the line. Throughout the book, her interview provides a springboard for stories from Graham's life, including his awkward attempts to communicate coherently with girls who had caught his eye and his heart; his conversion and growing sense that he was called to preach the gospel; and the beginning and maturing of the love between Billy and his life's mate, Ruth Bell.
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