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Swaggart: The Unauthorized Biography of an American Evangelist [Paperback]

By Ann Rowe Seaman (Author)
Our Price $ 35.30  
 
 
Item Number 136568  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   438
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.87" Width: 5.73" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   1.39 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2001
Publisher   Continuum International Publishing Group
ISBN  0826412904  
EAN  9780826412904  


Availability  106 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 22, 2017 11:52.
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Item Description...
Overview
By 1987 Swaggart was one of the most popular video preachers in the world, with a weekly television audience of 2.1 million in the US and a worldwide audience of millions more in 143 countries. But then, in a cheerless motel west of New Orleans, Jimmy's life and ministry took a calamitous turn. This the tale of the rise of two intimately linked colossi of the American century: Pentecostalism, the fastest growing religious movement in the world, and its "evil twin", Rock 'n' Roll. A major theme of the book is how the religious ecstasy of Pentecostalism - the rousing music, the speaking in tongues, the reception of the Spirit - combined with its severe sexual repression leads to the kind of furtive acting out that brought down not only Jimmy Swaggart but also other evangelists. It is the story, too, of the rapid rise of the Religious Right, with its competing personalities and ideologies. In the end, the author sees Jimmy as a victim - like many others - of a primitive faith colliding with the forces of the late 20th century fame.

Publishers Description
By 1987 Swaggart was one of the most popular video preachers in the world, with a weekly television audience of 2.1 million in the US and a worldwide audience of millions more in 143 countries. But then, in a cheerless motel west of New Orleans, Jimmy's life and ministry took a calamitous turn. This the tale of the rise of two intimately linked colossi of the American century: Pentecostalism, the fastest growing religious movement in the world, and its evil twin, Rock 'n' Roll. A major theme of the book is how the religious ecstasy of Pentecostalism - the rousing music, the speaking in tongues, the reception of the Spirit - combined with its severe sexual repression leads to the kind of furtive acting out that brought down not only Jimmy Swaggart but also other evangelists. It is the story, too, of the rapid rise of the Religious Right, with its competing personalities and ideologies. In the end, the author sees Jimmy as a victim - like many others - of a primitive faith colliding with the forces of the late 20th century fame.

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More About Ann Rowe Seaman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ann Rowe Seaman, a native of Austin, Texas, is the author of Swaggart: The Unauthorized Biography of an American Evangelist.

Ann R. Seaman has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Unauthorized Biography of an American Evangelist


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A book of mixed accuracy!  May 5, 2006
Being from Louisiana, I've known of Rev. Swaggart most of my life. I attended one of his first worldwide campmeetings in Baton Rouge. During one afternoon service, we got to shake hands with him. A tour of his ministry included a look at his Goya Avenue headquarters and his house in Tara. That was awhile back. He's since moved both his home and ministry. Many ministers have received unfavorable press coverage. This book's tone is mostly negative. One of the main sources was his 1978 autobiography, To Cross A River. Another was the highly critical Let Us Prey, written by Marvin Gorman's lawyer. We hear from some family members. Comments cover a broad range. The book does get graphic and disgusting at times. Do we need this information about pornography? His wife Frances' "nylon-clad" legs are mentioned. Translation: she was wearing panty hose! There is material regarding the scandals that nearly destroyed his ministry. Talk about one sided! These allegations are treated as proven fact. Most likely, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It's highly unlikely that Rev. Swaggart will tell his side of the story. One story can definitely be put down as bogus. There's a humorous incident regarding him baptizing a baby. PENTECOSTALS DON'T BAPTIZE BABIES! In fact, he blamed a question on the subject for getting him cancelled in predominantly Catholic cities. Maybe the author got confused about baby dedications. The Swaggart ministry continues, though on a smaller scale. I still think that he should have submitted to the Assemblies Of God's rehabilation program. Even during the state organization's 3 month suspension, he would get up and testify. This book does deal with the effect of his defrocking. The author did a lot of work on this book. It is a good read at times. But talk about needing more balance!
 
Fair and balanced book about a fairly unbalanced kook  Dec 4, 2005
In an age where a television network has become a propaganda arm of the government and co-opted the phrase "fair and balanced", I hesitate to use those two words any more. But fair and balanced, in its true and original sense, is exactly how I would describe this smart, sensitive and thorough study of the fascinating and immensely talented preacher Jimmy Swaggart.

Ms. Seaman has done a superb job with this book. It would have been so easy to denigrate Pentecostal/Charismatic religion or Southerners in general while telling the story of Jimmy Lee Swaggart's rise and fall, but the author has taken the high road. She writes of the South and its rural religious traditions with the respect and authority that perhaps only a Southerner could manifest. She even treats the tender subject of Brother Swaggart's sexual proclivities with a lot more grace and taste than the Brother probably deserves, considering that he has made a career out of telling others how to live their lives. She also avoids any mention of Swaggart's numerous nervous tics, malapropisms, and his abiding hatred of Catholics, gays, and generally anyone else who won't get with the Biblical program as he interprets it.

As she so thoroughly documents, the power and dynamism of Swaggart's electrifying onstage performances would always reach their apex just as Jimmy was at the peak of sexual frustration, and just at the cusp of giving in to temptation. I personally witnessed this at Swaggart's 1987 Thanksgiving Campmeeting in Baton Rouge, in which he ranted, raved and rocked a beyond-capacity audience of 8000 souls who hung on his every word, shortly before hopping in his car and heading over to New Orleans to visit a prostitute. This should not be surprising, considering that most of the "power" in "that old Pentecostal power" is generated by sublimating one's sexuality, and compressing one's humanity and flaws into the pinched, narrow mold of bible-approved expression of the self.

I would put this book right alongside Dr. Edmund Cohen's landmark work "The Mind of the Bible Believer" as a fascinating study in the destructive psychology of fundamentalist Bible belief. However, this book's highest achievement may be in the fact that it can be enjoyed by both believer and doubter alike. Any intelligent reader will be satisfied with this excellent book. Now we just need a sequel, to document Jimmy's subsequent series of continuing rises and falls with other financial supporters and other prostitutes.
 
Excellent Biography  Jul 11, 2002
"Swaggart" is readable, carefully researched, and objective.

The media focus on the scandals, and these are covered in the book. Ms. Seaman also discusses many of the good things this minister and his ministry have accomplished, such as feeding the hungry, building churches, and supporting missionaries overseas.

Mrs. Swaggart is often portrayed as a "dragon lady," but Ms. Seaman is quick to point out the important, positive and supportive role she has played in her husband's life and ministry.

This book is well worth the price.

 
A Decent Book on Swaggart  Aug 15, 2001
I bought and read this book in two days. The story of Jimmy Swaggat captures my heart because I too am an Assemblies of God pastor. I too have seen the fall of many sincere Christians because they got focused on power, money, greed, sex, or anything other than preaching the Word of God (Col. 3:16).

This book offers the reader an inside view of the life of Jimmy Swaggart. It is rather long though from his family background until Swaggart becomes the world famous evangelist he was to be prior to his fall into sin.

The details of the sexual fall of Swaggart are troublesome for those who are not use to strong sexual language. The negatives of this book is that Seaman does use offensive language at times and she is very harsh on Pentecostals and other conservative Christians. Seaman, at times, seeks to put the blame not on Swaggart himself but upon the Assemblies of God and the Church of Jesus Christ. This of course is not the case for anyone who is committed to being a true disciple.

One final note, I do not doubt Swaggart started out with a sincere heart for people and for God but he allowed his unconfessed sins and unrepentance to keep him from obeying God. Be sure, the Bible says, yours sins will find you out. And in the end, God exposed Swaggart to the world but thankfully we serve a sinless Savior. As Jim Elliott once wrote, "We are all nobodies seeking to glorify somebody."

 
Fascinating and insightful analysis  Jan 31, 2001
I have long held the theory that there is little difference between a popular televangelist and a rock star. They just play to different audiences. Both undergo the same temptations. Both face the same potential pitfalls that are the side-effects of fame. The life of Jimmy Swaggart is in many ways intertwined with that of his cousin, rock-and-roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis (and, to a lesser extent, with his other famous cousin Micky Gilley). This book gives insight into how these relationships, along with his poor Southern upbringing and his youthful religious experiences shaped him into to the well-known Christian celebrity he later became. Soberingly, it also points out that the seeds of his downfall were planted early in life, and the demons that would gain victory over him were the same ones he struggled against his entire life.

What really impresses me about this book is the fact that it is anything but a hatchet job. In fact, Jimmy Swaggart had many admirable qualities, despite his struggles with anger and sexual temptation. The author points out many times that the media was unfair in their assessment of Swaggart. She bends over backwards, in fact, to be fair and even-handed. The book does make it fairly clear that much of the ambition to make it to the "top" and the later drive to maintain a lavish lifestyle comes from his wife, who rules the Swaggart empire with an iron hand. If there is any fault in this book, it's that it barely mentions the years since the scandal, where Jimmy maintains a more modest, scaled-down ministry. But that is a minor fault. All the important stuff is here.

 

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