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Ruth, A Portrait: The story of Ruth Bell Graham Paperback – October 20, 1998


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Ruth, A Portrait: The story of Ruth Bell Graham + Footprints of a Pilgrim: The Life and Loves of Ruth Bell Graham + Letters From Ruth's Attic: 31 Daily Insights for Knowing God's Love
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385489005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385489003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A study of evangelist Billy Graham's wife from an old family friend?Edgar Award-winning author Cornwell.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A syrupy but engaging biography of the famous preacher's irrepressible wife. This is bestselling novelist Cornwell's (Unnatural Exposure, p. 759, etc.) second attempt at a biography of her mentor, 77-year- old Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy. The first try, published in 1982, caused the very private Ruth to distance herself from Cornwell for eight years. It's hard to imagine what Ruth could find objectionable about this version: She comes across as a near saint, enduring a dangerous mission childhood in China, terrible migraine headaches as an adult (of which she ``never complained''), and marriage to a mostly absent husband. Graham himself doesn't come off so well in this telling, seeming at times imperious or callous, even leaving a feverish Ruth alone for days, right after their honeymoon, when he received an invitation to preach (in his bestselling autobiography, Graham notes that, after all, she ``recovered quickly''). The book is filled with the tales of Ruth's quiet and heroic efforts to help others, visiting murderers and addicts in prison, aiding Vietnamese refugees, and assisting many students through college. These stories are touching, but they reveal less about the person of Ruth than they do about the genre of hagiography. In writing this book, Cornwell had complete access to Ruth's diaries but notes that, on a couple of key issues (like her migraines), Ruth censored her own journals. Yet whenever Cornwell allows this guise of saintly perfection to slip away, we glimpse a truly intriguing woman--one who designed their family's hand-hewed log cabin practically behind Billy's back, who learned to ride a motorcycle as an empty-nester, and who nearly killed herself in 1974 while rigging up a daredevil mudslide for her kids on their Carolina mountain. (b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

In 1990, Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. An auspicious debut, it went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure prize - the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year.

Today, Cornwell's novels and now iconic characters, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, her niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino, are known all over the world. Fox 2000 is actively developing a feature film about Kay Scarpetta. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive account of Jack the Ripper's identity, cookbooks, a children's book, a biography of Ruth Graham, and two other fiction series based on the characters Win Garano and Andy Brazil.

Cornwell was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Visit the author's website at: www.patriciacornwell.com

Customer Reviews

Yesterday was the impetus to start reading the book.
Grace
An interesting story of a remarkable woman with unusual strength and deep insight into faith, Christ and christian living.
Sanni
The book is a retelling of the life of a unique woman.
Mary K. Meisner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Grace on June 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ruth Bell Graham was ailing this week and died yesterday. I had meant for the longest time to read this book, but just never got around to it. I guess I just thought she was perfect, and perhaps the book might be about that, but I was so moved by her life ending that I just had to know more about her. I knew I was going to miss her presence in our lives and country. Yesterday was the impetus to start reading the book. Fascinating. Far from being just about "churchy" stuff and a woman who was seemingly "pefect", author Patricia Cornwell (who as a little girl befriended Ruth's parents Dr. and Mrs. Bell first and later Ruth who was already married to Billy Graham) covers so much ground about these fascinating, wonderful, decent, giving, generous, sacrifical, funny, Godly people. Ruth was born and raised in China and her parents took over the hospital run by legendary American author Pearl Buck's parents! Author Cornwell does such a masterful job, I felt I was standing in China at that time, with all of the turmoil, the attacks of the Japanese, and spunky Ruth -- who was open-minded and truly loved and cared for all different kinds of people at an early age (when she and her sister would get into physical skirmishes, the family's Chinese help would actually place bets about which sister would win!). And the hand of God was on them too, protecting them from the bombings of the Japanese war planes, as their train sat enveloped in fog. Ruth didn't make perfect grades at Wheaton College, in fact she actually did very poorly in some subjects, but was a superb human being and very funny.Read more ›
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sanni on October 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
An interesting story of a remarkable woman with unusual strength and deep insight into faith, Christ and christian living. Thus defenately worth reading. Yet the book left me spiritually hungry; I would have wanted to hear more Ruth's own voice, get closer to her and her way of figuring things out. That would have also brought more warmth into the biography. A book called "Coffee and conversation with Ruth Bell Graham and Gigi Tchividjian" fills that kind of needs better.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Blankenbiller on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book if you want to learn about Ruth's life from the perspect of a close family friend, someone who knew her well. It's easy to read and very interesting. However, as I read the book, it felt like there was an important aspect missing: the faith of Ruth Graham. The author, who I don't believe is a Christian hereself, does an excellent job describing Ruth as an incredible person, wife, mother, and friend; but I perceive from her writing that the author never realized the value or importance of Ruth's relationship with God. I read this book hoping to find encouragement and insight from Ruth's walk with God. However, I was disappointed in that area. Although very accurate and full of wonderful details about the life of this great woman, the author thoroughly glorifies Ruth as a person (with no real credit to her faith) so much so that by the end of the book I felt that Ruth was described as almost superhuman, someone to look at on a pedestal rather than try to relate to and learn from.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ruth Bell Graham is a fascinating woman. Patricia Cornwell, a personal acquaintance of Mrs. Graham, wrote an entertaining overview of Ruth's life, which undoubtedly captures Cornwell's view of Ruth Graham. However, although she lots of personal first hand sources available for her research, it seems to paint an incomplete picture of Mrs. Graham. In the beginning of the book, she describes how she talked Mrs. Graham into allowing her to write the biography, "If you don't let me write this biography, it will be the only selfish thing I've ever known you to do." Then Cornwell writes that she promised it would be painless, but it wasn't; that it would be fun, but it wasn't; and that it would be a great way to spend time together, but that when it was done they didn't talk for 8 years. This sent up a big red flag from the start. It seems that this portrayal of Mrs. Graham does not accurately reflect her life and relationships as Mrs. Graham viewed them. This books seems to emphasize the reckless stubbornness, humor, and kindness of Mrs. Graham's character as well as the tensions in her family relationships and marriage without adequately portraying her deep, sustaining relationship with God and her joy in her relationship with Billy, in her role as a mother, and in her ministry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this because I'm a fan of Cornwell's other work, especially the earlier stuff. My expectations weren't very high, since most books about religious "greats" tend to be syrupy or on a witch-hunt.

Instead, Cornwell brings in just enough of her personal experience with the Grahams to explain her adoring views of Ruth. But for the rest of the book, she manages to take herself out the story masterfully and give us a three-dimensional portrait of a strong, stubborn, soft-hearted woman's walk through life. Both of the Grahams are seen as normal, flawed, generous people with single-minded commitment to their lives' callings. The realistic presentation of both of the Grahams really highlights God's presence and action in their lives. I loved that Cornwall just trusted the facts to present a well-rounded picture, without inserting a lot of personal opinions. It's a perspective on Ruth that you won't find in a lot of simpering bios which show her as the ever-supportive, ever-submissive wife of an equally flawless evangelist. Here, you get to see her as a worthy match with a quick mind, a soft heart and sharp tongue.

The most incredible chapter is the last one, where we see how Ruth's compassion and acceptance of wounded and lost people had such on effect on the author's life as well. Just a really great book. I'm officially gushing to everyone about it!
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