Synopses & Reviews
Recent biographies of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, have portrayed him as anything from a schizophrenic wandering ascetic to a hedonistic pleasure-seeker. But who was the real man behind the misconceptions?
In this spiritual biography, Ray Silverman explores the stories and the popular misconceptions about Johnny Appleseed as well as the truths behind the legends. As a businessman, Chapman owned nineteen nurseries and twenty other land holdings throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, brokering deals that belie the popular image of him as a wandering nomad with a tin pot on his head. But it is only once we talk about Chapman’s spiritual convictions that we come to the core of who he was: a thoughtful and also joyful Christian who was deeply moved by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. The picture that emerges is of a lighthearted person whose convictions led him to seek harmony not only in nature but in the spiritual realms also—and to share his bounty with as many people as he could.
"The author (Rise Above It: Spiritual Development through the Ten Commandments) explores the man and the myth of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) in history, telling quite a tale. Far beyond the Walt Disney version that may be familiar to many readers, Johnny was a pioneer who not only sowed fruit trees but also was a theologian who spread the gospel of the New Church in America as a follower of the visionary scientist-theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. 'From home to home he went, armed not only with apple seeds, but with the seeds of heavenly truth he found in Swedenborg's writings,' Silverman writes. He dispels the myths that Johnny walked always barefoot and lived with the animals and documents his genealogy and purchases of apple seeds. In his later years, he bartered land for Swedenborg's books. This is an engaging biography of an underexamined nineteenth-century figure. Illustrations by Nancy Poes use soft lines and washes and are evocative. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, has become an American icon. Recent biographies have portrayed him as everything from a schizophrenic wanderer to a shameless hedonist. Who was the real man behind the legends? Ray Silverman uncovers a portrait of a thoughtful, deeply spiritual man whose joy in life inspired him to share his bounty with as many others as he could.
About the Author
Ray Silverman is the author of Rise Above It: Spiritual Development through the Ten Commandments (co-authored with his wife, Star) and the editor of Helen Keller’s spiritual autobiography Light in My Darkness. More recently, he authored the introduction for the stand-alone edition of Helen Keller’s inspirational essay How I Would Help the World. Ray has a PhD from the University of Michigan, an MAT from Wesleyan University, and an MDiv from the Academy of the New Church Theological School. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Religion, English, and Moral Philosophy at Bryn Athyn College, and is an adjunct instructor at Urbana University, the home of the Johnny Appleseed Education Center and Museum, and the Chapman School of Leadership in Sustainability.
Nancy Poes was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and received a BA in history from the University of California Berkeley. She studied illustration at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Since 2006, she has lived and painted in Santa Fe after twenty years in Hawaii and extensive time in Portugal. Her work is part of many international public, corporate, and private collections.