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1 Burnside Middle East- Jerusalem

This title in other editions

American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem

by

American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For generations in Jerusalem, a fabled mansion has been the retreat for foreign correspondents, diplomats, pilgrims and spies-but until now, few have known the true story of the house that became the American Colony Hotel or its bizarre history of tragedy, religious extremism, emotional blackmail, and peculiar sexual practices.

During the boom years following the Civil War, in the countrys heartland capital, Chicago, a prominent lawyer Horatio Spafford and his blue-eyed wife Anna rode the mighty wave of Protestant evangelicalism deluging the nation. When suddenly tragedy struck, the charismatic Spaffords, grieving, attracted followers eager to believe their prophecy that the Second Coming was at hand and in 1881 sailed with them to Jerusalem to see the Messiah alight on the Mount of Olives.

No sooner had they settled into the Holy City than the U. S. Consul and the established Christian missionaries declared them heretics and whispered of sexual deviance. Yet Muslims and Jews admired their unflagging care of the sick and the needy, and Jews were intrigued with their advocacy of a Jewish Return to Zion. When Horatio died, Anna assumed leadership, shocking even her adherents by abolishing marriage and established a dictatorship that was not always benevolent. Ever dogged by controversy, she and her credulous followers lived through and closely participated in the titanic upheavals that eventually formed the modern Middle East.

Written with flair and insight, American Priestess provides a fascinating exploration of the seductive power of evangelicalism and raises questions about the manipulation of religion to serve personal goals. A powerful narrative, the story sweeps through the dramatic collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of the British Mandate, and finally the founding of Israel where Annas house in East Jerusalem, now the American Colony Hotel, stands as an exemplar of beauty and comfort, despite its turbulent history.

Review:

"Anna glende Spafford's life was a classic 19th-century epic, related perceptively by Geniesse. Born in Norway in 1842, she came to the United States as a child, buried her father on the Minnesota prairie, then married evangelical lawyer Horatio Spafford in Chicago. Somewhat unhinged by the Great Chicago Fire, bankruptcy and a shipwreck that drowned four of their daughters, the couple founded a Protestant sect called the Saints; hounded by creditors, they absconded to Jerusalem in 1881 with a handful of followers to await the Second Coming. With Horatio's death, Anna tightened her grip on her 'American Colony' cult, abolished marriage and reshuffled couples into chaste 'affinities.' Then she turned her sect into a business empire, including a profitable hotel, farms, bakeries and Jerusalem's first telephone company, all staffed by Swedish converts. Whew! 'There are neither villains nor saints in this story,' notes Geniesse (Passionate Nomad), setting her sprightly account against the era's Christian Zionism and millennial hysterias. Geniesse paints her charismatic heroine as part ur-feminist survivor, part totalitarian despot. (June 17)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Bringing to life complex interactions among cultures and peoples as she did in "Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark," Jane Fletcher Geniesse now traces the odyssey of an oddball religious sect and its charismatic doyenne.

Anna Spafford was 39 in 1881, when she and her husband, Horatio, arrived in Jerusalem with a small band of followers to greet Christ's imminent Second Coming.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Written with flair and insight, "American Priestess" is at once a portrait of Jerusalem from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire to the founding of Israel and a fascinating exploration of the birth of the evangelical movement in America.

Synopsis:

During Chicago’s turbulent 1870s, Anna and Horatio Spafford, suffering personal and financial losses, broke from their evangelical colleagues to preach the need to return to Christianity’s apostolic beginnings. When Anna began receiving messages from God urging her to go to Jerusalem, members of their enthralled congregation followed them to Palestine.

In multicultural Jerusalem, the ecumenical Overcomers befriended Muslims, Jews, and Greeks alike, yet were determined that Jews be returned to their ancestral land. Their efforts were dogged by controversy, and two consular representatives of the United States accused them of deviant behavior and sexual license. Singularly charismatic, Anna ignored her critics and quashed all dissent, preaching a strange form of sexual abstinence, abolishing marriage, and declaring the established Church “iniquitous.” Her “benevolent dictatorship” survives today as the famous American Colony Hotel, a historic favorite of visitors to Jerusalem.

Written with flair and insight, AMERICAN PRIESTESS is at once a portrait of Jerusalem from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire to the founding of Israel and a fascinating exploration of the birth of the evangelical movement in America.

About the Author

JANE FLETCHER GENIESSE, a former reporter for the New York Times, researched American Priestess for seven years. Her biography of Freya Stark, Passionate Nomad, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. She lives in Florida and Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385519267
Subtitle:
The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem
Author:
Geniesse, Jane
Author:
Geniesse, Jane
Author:
Geniesse, Jane Fletcher
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Americans
Subject:
History
Subject:
Middle East - Israel
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Women
Subject:
American Colony (Jerusalem) - History
Subject:
Christian communities - Palestine
Subject:
Israel
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080617
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 PHOTOS FOR 1-16 PAGE INSERT
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.48x6.64x1.29 in. 1.63 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Middle East » Jerusalem
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East

American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385519267 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Anna glende Spafford's life was a classic 19th-century epic, related perceptively by Geniesse. Born in Norway in 1842, she came to the United States as a child, buried her father on the Minnesota prairie, then married evangelical lawyer Horatio Spafford in Chicago. Somewhat unhinged by the Great Chicago Fire, bankruptcy and a shipwreck that drowned four of their daughters, the couple founded a Protestant sect called the Saints; hounded by creditors, they absconded to Jerusalem in 1881 with a handful of followers to await the Second Coming. With Horatio's death, Anna tightened her grip on her 'American Colony' cult, abolished marriage and reshuffled couples into chaste 'affinities.' Then she turned her sect into a business empire, including a profitable hotel, farms, bakeries and Jerusalem's first telephone company, all staffed by Swedish converts. Whew! 'There are neither villains nor saints in this story,' notes Geniesse (Passionate Nomad), setting her sprightly account against the era's Christian Zionism and millennial hysterias. Geniesse paints her charismatic heroine as part ur-feminist survivor, part totalitarian despot. (June 17)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Written with flair and insight, "American Priestess" is at once a portrait of Jerusalem from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire to the founding of Israel and a fascinating exploration of the birth of the evangelical movement in America.
"Synopsis" by , During Chicago’s turbulent 1870s, Anna and Horatio Spafford, suffering personal and financial losses, broke from their evangelical colleagues to preach the need to return to Christianity’s apostolic beginnings. When Anna began receiving messages from God urging her to go to Jerusalem, members of their enthralled congregation followed them to Palestine.

In multicultural Jerusalem, the ecumenical Overcomers befriended Muslims, Jews, and Greeks alike, yet were determined that Jews be returned to their ancestral land. Their efforts were dogged by controversy, and two consular representatives of the United States accused them of deviant behavior and sexual license. Singularly charismatic, Anna ignored her critics and quashed all dissent, preaching a strange form of sexual abstinence, abolishing marriage, and declaring the established Church “iniquitous.” Her “benevolent dictatorship” survives today as the famous American Colony Hotel, a historic favorite of visitors to Jerusalem.

Written with flair and insight, AMERICAN PRIESTESS is at once a portrait of Jerusalem from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire to the founding of Israel and a fascinating exploration of the birth of the evangelical movement in America.

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