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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing What One Learns About By Reading, September 5, 2008
This review is from: American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem (Hardcover)
Here is an extraordinary story about an international group of people who immigrated to Jerusalem to await the Second Coming led by Anna and Horatio Spafford beginning in 1881. The American Colony as they were known settled in a compound situated in the Old City in the Arab Quarter between the Damascus Gate and Herod's Gate. Jane Geniesse writes with fairness about the leader, charismatic Anna Spafford, who was appalling in many ways but also the positive force in developing welcome and lasting social services for any of the local people in need. (Of course much can be accomplished with mostly unpaid workers who are dependent on their leader for food, shelter and salvation.)
This was like reading three books: Immigration to America, tough times in Chicago and Protestant Evangelism (and dipping into the till); The growth of The American Colony with its vague religious ideas; and The Middle East spanning the two world wars. Her research on the Spaffords, their descendents,the civil, military and religious personalities who lived through the political turmoil of the region resulted in a broad portrait of that era.
The American Colony Hotel on the grounds of the compound continues to be a favored setting for celebrities,spies, diplomats,journalists, tourists and politicians. Until her death in June, 2008, Valentine Vesper, the granddaughter-in-law of the Spaffords and proprietor, lived there. Be sure to go on-line to tour this beautiful hotel.
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