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The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America (Indie Next Pick) Paperback – November 6, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Indie Next Pick
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Steerforth (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586422006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586422004
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A National True Crime Bestseller

"At a moment ripe for a new kind of media-savvy preacher, in a place where parsons wielded guns as confidently as they toted their Bibles, radio minister and mega-church pastor J. Frank Norris emerged as the archetype of his day. In his riveting tale of Norris’s 1927 trial for murder, David Stokes explains just how it is that this “Texas Tornado” became such a star…and lightening rod for controversy. Through rich and compelling narrative, a sharp eye for the quirky as well as the profound, rigorous research, and a commanding sense of the big picture, Stokes offers his reader a rare, exhilarating look at this notorious individual. In the process, he opens up fresh ways of understanding the local culture that vaulted Norris and his Texas-style fundamentalism onto a national stage."  - Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism

"This excellent book chronicles [a] court case that captivated the nation  - even if it's barely remembered today  - and makes its central player, Norris, as compelling and multilayered as any character from fiction. . . . The book is engagingly written, in an immediate, you-are-there style, and the story is as compelling and surprising as any Grisham thriller. Top of the line." - Booklist (starred review)

“Readers will enjoy this oversize tale—a snapshot of a fascinating time in American and Texas history—that reads like fiction. It will appeal to those interested in true crime, the history of fundamentalism, and the early days of Texas” – Library Journal

J. Frank Norris was the pastor of a “mega-church” before the name itself existed. He was famous, and to many he was a righteous and inspiring hero.  By others, however, he was thoroughly hated. His endless crusades frustrated both businessman and politicians in Fort Worth, TX.  Norris was also a publicity hound who was brash and abrasive.  His enemies knew that he was a formidable foe.  On July 17, 1926, Norris shot and killed an unarmed man in the church office.  David Stokes's The Shooting Salvationist offers the complete story of  the shooting, the criminal trial, and their aftermath  Eighty-five years ago, this event captured the attention of the entire nation.  Modern readers will likewise be enthralled by David Stokes's skillful presentation of this shocking crime.  The story is simply incredible, yet every word is true.  And you won't put this book down until reach the end!  -- Chris Rose, Andover Bookstore


“For all the colorful characters who became part of Fort Worth’s history, surely none surpassed J. Frank Norris, the fiery fundamentalist preacher at Fort Worth’s First Baptist Church in pure outlandishness. His oratory and penchant for publicity brought thousands into his congregation and at one point, First Baptist was among the largest churches in the world, a mega church before the phrase was coined. Unfortunately, for all his oratorical skills, Norris’ horizons were limited by several criminal indictments brought on by his tendency for violence.
In this book David Stokes tells the J. Frank Norris story.
If I hadn’t grown up in Fort Worth, I would have thought someone made all this up but no one did.
It really happened.” - from the foreword by Bob Schieffer (CBS News)

“Everyone loves a good story, and David Stokes has unearthed one from history’s archives and served it up with style and verve.”  - David Pietruzsa, author of 1920: The Year of Six Presidents

“David Stokes has written a book that both entertaining and informative.” - Jim Pinkerton, Newsday Columnist and FOX News Contributor

“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.” - Bob Hamer, Author of Enemies Among Us

“Thank you for sharing this fascinating story!” - Former President George W. Bush

“Reads like a page-turning novel, but is built and based on fact and not fiction. I became more and more enthralled with each passing page.”  - O. S. Hawkins, Southern Baptist Convention

“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 and author of Jesus and Gin—Evangelicalism, The Roaring Twenties, and Today’s Culture Wars




From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

David R. Stokes is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, ordained minister, commentator, broadcaster, and columnist.

His articles and columns regularly appear at places such as The Daily Caller, Townhall.com, and American Thinker.  His work has also been published in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies, The Jewish Press, The Cold War Times, The Richard Nixon Foundation, History News Network, as well as various publications and periodicals related to Christian ministry.

A minister for 35 years, Reverend Stokes has, since 1998, served as Senior Pastor of Fair Oaks Church in Fairfax, VA, a non-denominational congregation with more than 30 nations represented in its membership.

He has had his own national satellite radio talk show and is a regular guest-host for talk shows in across the country.  David has also produced and hosted podcasts for The Cold War Museum and Richard Nixon Foundation.

David has been married to his wife Karen for more than 36 years and they have three daughters and seven grandchildren. They live in Fairfax, Virginia.

About the Foreword Author:

Bob Schieffer grew up in Fort Worth and is the Chief Washington Correspondent for CBS News. He believes Fort Worth is the best place in the whole world. The author lives in Fairfax, VA.

Customer Reviews

That doesn't mean my review is automatically "wrong."
DC_Fan_52
"The Shooting Salvationist" is the story of Fort Worth Baptist Minister J. Frank Norris's killing of East Texas lumberman D. E. Chipps.
Mohe
In any case, this is a good book, well written, interesting, and quite informative.
not a natural

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Gibbard on June 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved this vintage true-crime account of a Texas Baptist preacher in the 1920s who shot and killed an unarmed man in the preacher's own study. The story is well-written; it drew me in with nary a dull moment and I could hardly wait to get back to the book when I had to put it down. David R. Stokes has carefully mined the newspaper accounts and other original sources available about the murder and its aftermath. He also did a great job of background research on the shooter (J. Frank Norris)'s childhood and rise to fame.

J. Frank Norris was the kind of intense and driven individual who becomes a leader in whatever field he pursues. In his case, the path to religion was marked out by the guidance of a devout mother and the bad example of an alcoholic father. His early life was characterized by violence, as his father whipped him for destroying his stash of booze. Norris's sheer guts were revealed in an incident that happened when he was only thirteen: he defended his father against a gunman and the boy was shot three times. The dark Gothic of Norris's life continued as he entered the ministry and built an enormous church in Fort Worth, Texas. The church soon burned to the ground, and Norris was suspected (but never convicted) of arson.

Like other powerful preachers and politicians, Norris had inner demons that haunted him even as he built his megachurch empire. His moral crusades drew enemies to him who circled him like vultures, including some of Fort Worth's most powerful politicians. This only reinforced the narcissistic and paranoid aspects of his personality. When a local lumberman threatened him, Norris did not wait for the man to draw first; he shot him three times, claiming self-defense.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Writer Mom VINE VOICE on July 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Long before Casey Anthony or O.J. Simpson, another murder trial captured the nation's attention and this book gives an exhaustive look into what at the time was a national obsession.

This book didn't immediately capture my attention, but like a good litigator it slowly built anticipation for the verdict.

In the 1920s J.Frank Norris was pastor of the largest church in America. Every week he preached to thousands at his huge Texas church. He also had a large radio following and owned his own newspaper which carried transcripts of his sermons. He preached against a lot of things and made enough enemies that what should have been a clear case of self-defense became a trial for murder with prosecutors seeking the death penalty.

I can't begin to imagine how much research went into this book. But the story is told objectively and with exhaustive documentation.

I think this book ought to be required reading for every seminary student, every minister, and anyone else who tries to do good while living in the public eye. Norris's arrogance did more damage than a hundred great sermons could undo. He started out with a good heart but somewhere along the way, it seemed like he was sidetracked by greed, fame, popularity, and a love of controversy and power.

The story made me feel a little sick. It's such a shame, but reading it can serve as a cautionary tale.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. C Clark VINE VOICE on June 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been a reader of true crime books since the late 60s. Mafia books, the Lindbergh kidnapping, Specs O'Keefe on the Brinks robbery...I devoured these and many many others as I fantasized about a life of crime where surely one as smart as I could be successful. I eventually grew up and realized that any realistic cost benefit analysis showed law-abiding behavior far saner. But I've still read many such books over the years.

The Shooting Salvationist tells an interesting story I had never heard of. Coming between the Scopes trial and the Lindbergh trial, what was seen in 1927 as something vital has kind of disappeared from view as more dramatic events overtook it. Yet it is a tale of power and religion and greed and ego and murder, all topics that can make compelling reading. However, the author is clearly an amateur historian (not inherently bad, but in this case it sure was) who makes enough flawed decisions that I had to chop the book's rating down significantly.

First though, I wish Reverend Stokes were more sympathetic to his "hero." J. Frank Norris does not sound like a pleasant man, but he sure seems to have been sincere. And many many people found him inspiring and worth listening to, several times a week for hours on end. There are no revelations in this book that diminish his stature as a fervent believer. But Stokes does not like fervency, so he denigrates and belittles it throughout, usually in asides and snide remarks. Those who followed Norris are cast as slightly deficient, missing the power of thought and incapable of reason. Like so many other "moderate" religious people, Stokes sees those who take the word of God very seriously as fundamentally unbalanced.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Johnny K. Young VINE VOICE on June 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before there was Jim & Tammy Faye. Before there was a Jimmy Swaggart, a Robert Tilton or even an Oral Roberts...there was J.Frank Norris, one of the Founding Fathers of The Fundamentalist Movement in America. Despite his bands of loyal followers...despite his taking the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas from an almost dead husk and transforming it into what was truly THE first "Megachurch",complete with a radio station with which he could reach even MORE people and despite his belief in a loving but vengeful God, Norris had one fatal flaw: Pride. Because of that pride, he made many unnecessary enemies...some who were far more dangerous and corrupt than others and had the muscle to back up their words. This all came to a head one day in Norris' church office when an unarmed man by the name of Dexter Chipps was shot and killed. There were three other men in the room besides Norris and Chipps. With this revelation came the start of one of the most famous and infamous trials of the 1920's.

Author David Stokes gives a masterful retelling of the events leading up to the shooting and the aftermath in "The Shooting Salvationist". This is, in my opinion, a well written, well researched page turner. I literally read the entire book in one night and it's been a while since I have had that sort of experience with a book. Stokes draws you in and keeps you on your toes as stories begin to be told which cause other stories to start to unravel. If you like "True Crime" novels that also have an excellent historical base then I beleve you will enjoy this book! It is scheduled for publication to the general public on July 12th, 2011 by Random House. Watch for it and read it when you get the chance. You won't be sorry!
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More About the Author

[BREAKING NEWS: "BLAIR UNDERWOOD is heading to Camelot. The actor's production company, Intrepid Pictures, has acquired the rights to David R. Stokes' spy novel Camelot's Cousin: The Spy Who Betrayed Kennedy. Intrepid will partner with Little Studio Films to adapt the thriller into a film with Underwood in the lead role." - From THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (02.03.2015)]

David R. Stokes (58) is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He is currently working on several projects for publication 2015.

Screenplays based on three of his novels, CAMELOT'S COUSIN, NOVEMBER SURPRISE, & CAPITOL LIMITED, are currently being represented for production in Hollywood.

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 an ordained 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

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The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America (Indie Next Pick)
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