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J. Frank Norris: The Fascinating, Controversial Life of a Forgotten Figure of the Twentieth Century
J. Frank Norris: The Fascinating, Controversial Life of a Forgotten Figure of the Twentieth Century
by Michael E. Schepis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.42
30 used & new from $16.97

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good bio, not very objective, April 11, 2012
This book is a good overview of the life and ministry of J. Frank Norris. It is from a pro-Norris standpoint though it sort of claims to be written from a non-biased view point. The author tries to stick with the facts and not pass judgment, but in a few cases I think he tends to present a sugar-coated view of some of the more controversial aspects of Norris' life. I do feel that it does a better job of covering the varied and busy career of Norris than other biographies.

My only real complaint: this book basically presents the pro-Norris side of every episode. If you are an ardent admirer of Norris than I think you will find little to dislike in this book. Norris is a very complicated individual and did things at times that even admirers take exception with. A clear example of the pro-Norris bias is in dealing with the BBF split, which this book downplays how much of disgruntlement was due to Norris' actions.

As far as the books on Norris go, I think this one is on par with my favorite and sometimes hard to find The Life and Legend of J. Frank Norris: The Fighting Parson by Homer Ritchie. Both are pro-Norris. Ritchie tends to take a more balanced view in some of the more controversial topics but I think this book does a better job of developing a chronological narrative of Norris' life. I think this book is something of a counter to the more recent portrayal of Norris in Davis Stokes' The Shooting Salvationist: J. Frank Norris and the Murder Trial that Captivated America or its former incarnation Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America's First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s.


Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America's First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s
Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America's First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s
by David R. Stokes
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from $0.01

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but flawed, April 3, 2010
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 The Life and Legend of J. Frank Norris: The Fighting Parson. It is the most thorough look at his life and ministry available but is written from a more friendly perspective.

For a better analysis of Norris' ministry and influence, try God's Rascal: J. Frank Norris and the Beginnings of Southern Fundamentalism (Religion in the South). It is really the only work in print that deals with the ministry and impact of Norris from a scholarly perspective.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2013 8:16 AM PST


Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo: Learning with Nemo [Old Version]
Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo: Learning with Nemo [Old Version]
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $6.75
13 used & new from $1.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DOES NOT WORK!!!, March 20, 2010
This software WILL NOT work with:
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Mac OSX 10.5
Mac OSX 10.6

Our four year old received this for a gift. Would not run the program in Windows Vista. Did some research and followed a suggested workaround (involving updating Flash Player and using Compatibility mode) that also did not work. The copy we received was also for Mac, but it will not even install on a Mac running Snow Leopard, or even Leopard. The manufacturer is aware of this if you check their site.

I cannot believe this software is still sold in any type of store. This should have been cleared out a couple of years ago with its complete incompatibility with any of the latest two versions of both Windows and Mac operating systems.


What Child Is This?
What Child Is This?
Price: $0.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Not their best..., October 17, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: What Child Is This? (MP3 Music)
This track was originally on the Inspirations album "Country Christmas". I believe it was released around 1980. The only reference to it I could find was on the Inspirations' website.

I love the Inspirations, but this is not one of their best efforts. The only strong point is the solos by Mike Holcomb which are tremendous. When the group joins in it is obvious that the song was keyed a bit too high for Archie Watkins on tenor. The music also is not the same as the classic Inspirations sound. It has a very electric keyboard sound to it. Very strange to hear the Inspirations singing to it.

I'm not sure this is worth the download unless you are a huge fan of the group (like me) or just downloaded the entire album its on (looking at the tracks I'm not sure that's worth it). I'm glad to see classic gospel music being re-released, but this one wasn't the best choice to do so.


On Heaven's Bright Shore
On Heaven's Bright Shore
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic Inspirations album, October 17, 2009
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I believe I read somewhere that this was one of the Inspirations' top selling albums, and thanks to Canaan's re-release it is available for the first time in years.

The album was originally released in 1976, and features the classic quartet lineup of Archie Watkins / Troy Burns / Eddie Dietz / Mike Holcomb. This of course the same lineup that made "Touring That City" and "When I Wake Up To Sleep No More" classics. In overall quality, this album deserves to beside those two albums.

The only drawback to this album is that many fans probably already have the best songs. "On Heaven's Bright Shore" and "Rose Among the Thorns" have been included on a couple of compilation releases, along with "He'll Wipe Away The Tears" on the second CD of Inspirations Collection. The album is well worth the purchase for other lesser known gems, such as "The Redeemed Are Coming Home" and "I'll Live Again" (which the Kingsmen had a hit with some time ago). One track of note is "Are You Listening to the Lord" which has lead Troy Burns singing what sounds like a bass solo (Burns one of the early bass singers for the group before becoming their longtime lead singer).

Don't hesitate to download this one.


Is That Footsteps That I Hear?
Is That Footsteps That I Hear?
Price: $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good classic album by Inspirations, October 17, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm glad to see Canaan is releasing some of the classic albums from their collection. The only way to get albums like this one has been to track down a second hand vinyl.

This album is from 1981 and contains many songs that will be unfamiliar to many Inspirations fans. This especially goes for those like me are are younger than the album "Is that Footsteps that I Hear" has been kept in their concerts for some time. The only other one that may have some familiarity to new fans is "Thank God I've Made It", which the new lineup just recorded on the 2009 album The Son Came Down.

As much as I love the Inspirations, this album has a few flaws. The quartet lineup for the album is Archie Watkins / Troy Burns / Jack Laws / Mike Holcomb. This lineup still has much of the classic sound, but I have a hard time picking up Laws on baritone. To my ear it sounds like a trio most of the time. Not sure if this is a recording or remastering issue, or if his voice is just lost in the mix.

Along the same lines the sound quality differs greatly. Once again I'm not sure if it is recording or remastering, but the album is uneven in quality. Most of the fast songs have a really loud bass guitar. Even the vocals sound different track to track, most noticeably with "Let Us Sing" which has some kind of echo effect. Maybe I'm just being picky about an almost thirty year old album though.


A Thousand Months to Remember: An Autobiography
A Thousand Months to Remember: An Autobiography
by Joseph M. Dawson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $44.95
32 used & new from $6.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Autobiography, September 19, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is a very enjoyable read if you are interested in Texas Baptist history or life around central Texas from 1880-1910. While stories of ministry abound, I feel the strength of this book is the description of life in the Texas cotton-belt. Dawson grew up as the son of a sharecropper, and the tales of survival and life are wonderful. The book is also filled with descriptions of encounters with other Texas figures, like Charles Goodnight.

The book starts to drag about half way through. Suddenly it changes from chronological order, to random reminisces, then back to very detailed information about his late life endeavors. I don't think this hurts the overall value of the book, but the best part is the first half.

I purchased this book to do some research on J. Frank Norris. Dawson was a classmate of Norris at Baylor and edited the Baptist Standard paper for a short time under Norris. Eventually Dawson would become a favorite target of Norris' criticism.


For such a time as this: A history of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America
For such a time as this: A history of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America
by James O Henry
Edition: Paperback
11 used & new from $3.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Denominational History, September 19, 2009
I recently purchased this book thinking that is was about something else. I didn't realize that the title referred to an organization instead of a movement. My main purpose in posting this review is so that other don't make the same honest mistake.

The book tells the story of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, a group that you can read about at their website: IFCA.ORG. I had never heard of this group, probably because they do not seem to have any member churches anywhere close to where I live.

I don't really want to let my ignorance of the group flavor my review, but I only recognized one name associated with the group back in the 1930's (M.R. Dehaan on p. 58). If you are interested in the IFCA, this book is for you. If not, there is very little to interest someone here.

My rating is based on this book being dated (printed in 1983) and the tedious nature of its dealing with groups, committees, and such. You are constantly bombarded with acronyms to various entities. It is not a very enjoyable read, but that come from my not knowing the group. Also an index would have been a very nice addition.

Amazon seems to have this book listed twice (a common occurrence with older books). The other listing is For Such a Time as This.


Toy Story Mania! - Nintendo Wii
Toy Story Mania! - Nintendo Wii
Price: $18.31
81 used & new from $5.12

131 of 142 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute, Fun, Repetitive, but may not be for long, September 15, 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Toy Story Mania! is a collection of carnival-type games featuring Toy Story characters and themes. It is supposed to be inspired by a Disney theme park ride, but I've never ridden it so I can't comment on how it resembles that experience. This game features a few "3D" games, which are made to be played with the included two pairs of 3D glasses. From my experience you'll want to be in a dark room with a LCD or Plasma TV to get the full effect. It didn't really make a difference with our old TV.

The game is built around 30 or so mini-games in which you earn points and tickets that are used to unlock bonus stuff. I haven't played them all, but I think I have a good feel for them. These basically fall under a few categories: "point-and-click" shooting galleries, repeating motions, and carnival type games. The shooting games are pretty simple, just point your cursor at the target and press "A". If you are playing with multiple players everyone plays at the same time. Sometimes you trigger events that require waving the remote, usually once or twice a game. At the end of most shooting games is a small "bonus stage" where you are awarded bonus points by vigorously shaking the remote.

A few games are just mirroring the motions on screen. For instance, one game has Hamm dancing and you twirl the remote around just as he is spinning. You get points for correctly following the motions. Not the greatest games, but are a nice change of pace. If you are playing with multiple players each player takes a turn.

The last type of game is where you are playing a Toy Story themed version of a classic carnival game. One has you tossing rings on the Little Green Men (the Pizza Planet aliens) and rockets, which is essentially the same as a shooting gallery just aiming at the top of the targets. Another is a Gold Rush version of "Skee Ball" (my favorite Chuck E. Cheese game!) which is good but not great.

I think the best way to describe the game structure is to compare it to Mario Party. You can play "story mode" which strings together a bunch or random games. To continue through the games, you must meet certain point goals or tasks. There is a "free play" mode where you can play games you have unlocked either by playing the in story mode and completing all the goals or by unlocking them using the tickets you earned. One gripe about the free play mode is that the interface is very confusing at first, which is very odd compared to how simple the rest of the game is. The 3D games have to be unlocked using tickets and played from the free play mode.

I was very pleased with the quality of the look and feel of the game. The animation of the characters is very good. I watched the credits and many of the voices are the same actors as the movies, including Tim Allen ("Buzz"). Woody is the most obvious voice change, but it is Tom Hanks' brother and sounds pretty close (the same as the intro to the Buzz Lightyear movie from a few years ago if you saw that). The only voice I heard that I thought was completely off was Weezy the penguin.

The game experience is basically like you are playing a carnival staffed and decorated by the Toy Story characters. Games are grouped by themes, such as western for Woody, space for Buzz, tea party for Bo Peep, and army for the Army men.

This is really a fun game. The quality use of the Toy Story characters and themes adds much to it, but in the end it is just another collection of mini-games. This creates a huge problem since many of the games are very repetitive. Shooting a cactus in a western shooting gallery and shooting a submarine in a army shooting gallery fell the same after a while.

The best value for this game is as a party game. A single player will become bored after experiencing all the games. The simple controls and interface are great to just pick up and play. My three-year-old was playing with me on most of the games with little frustration. I can see how the many of the games would be a blast with four players.

On the subject of multiple players, one thing they overlooked in the game is that you set up your players at the very beginning of the game. You can't add or change players on the fly. Additional players can "drop out" of games, but can't rejoin until after completing a mini-game.

THE BOTTOM LINE - This is a very well presented and great looking mini-game collection. I think it would be great for small kids and as a family party game. The problem is that there are many, many, many similar games on the Wii from Mario Party to Super Monkey Ball to Wii Sports. This is among the best in looks and character appeal, but in the middle of the pack when it comes to games. They are fun, simple, and look great. It is a blast to play at first, but I have my doubts about long term playability because you can only play mini-games so much. I only gave it a three star review because of the similarities of many of the mini-games and my doubts about long term playability.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2010 8:07 PM PST


A Fascinating Biography of J. Frank Norris : The Most Outstanding Fundamentalist of the 20th Century
A Fascinating Biography of J. Frank Norris : The Most Outstanding Fundamentalist of the 20th Century
by Roy E. Falls
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from $49.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Great book for admirers of Norris, August 29, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This short biography of J. Frank Norris was written by a former student under Norris. It is generally well done. It is a very glowing account of Norris' life and ministry. The major crises are covered (the two trials, BBF split, etc.) but you won't find an ill word toward Norris. There are a lot of facts in this book that I have not seen in any other biographies of Norris.

The rarity of this book drives the price up quite a bit. If I was looking for a good Norris book, I'd start with Homer Ritchie's biography which is hardback, longer, and more comprehensive. I'd give it a higher rating if it were longer and more readily available at a decent price.


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