Pulling the Devil's Kingdom Down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain

Pulling the Devil's Kingdom Down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain

Pulling the Devil's Kingdom Down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain

Pulling the Devil's Kingdom Down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain

Synopsis

"Pamela Walker's treatment of the Salvation Army restores religious and social complexity to a group too easily misunderstood in the twenty-first century. Drawing us into a vivid, vibrant world of Victorian experience, Walker proves that the significance of the movement extended far beyond the demonstrations that became a familiar part of London street life."--Deborah Valenze, author of "The First Industrial Woman"

"A major contribution to our understanding of Victorian society, [this book] will undoubtedly become the key work on the origins of the Salvation Army, a major reference not just among historians of religion, but also among urban historians, gender historians, and historians of popular culture. . . . Perhaps the outstanding feature of the book is the author's ability to interweave a highly nuanced account of the development and theological orientation of the Salvation Army, and a fresh appraisal of its central figures, with a broader understanding of Victorian society, culture, and politics."--Andrew Davies, author of "Leisure, Gender, and Poverty"

"Deeply researched and vividly written, this book offers an innovative and consistently thought-provoking interpretation of the Salvation Army's origins and early history. Three aspects of the book are especially interesting. First, the discussion of conversion, including its physical manifestations, is powerful and convincing. Second, the theme of gender runs through the book. As well as presenting a striking portrait of the Hallelujah Lasses, Walker shows how the Salvationists challenged conventional notions both of femininity and of masculinity. Third, her discussion of Salvationist propaganda and its ambivalent relation tothe urban working class milieu is consistently illuminating. She shows how the Army drew on certain aspects of popular culture in order to subvert other aspects."--Hugh McLeod, author of "Secularisation in Western Europe 184

Excerpt

William and Catherine Booth yearned to rescue all the souls rushing to hell. Their encounter with holiness and revivalism convinced them that staid formality would crush any attempt to save souls and that the silence imposed on women could only harm their cause. the Booths' impatience with conferences and committees disposed them to fashion the Army with a strict order of command. the tambourines, music-hall tunes, uniformed preachers, and ecstatic services of the Salvation Army caused a sensation among believers and nonbelievers alike. the Army quickly grew to include thousands of officers and soldiers, but its origins may be traced to William and Catherine Booth, whose influence and power remained decisive well into the twentieth century.

The movement the Booths founded was shaped by their own religious and personal concerns. Their commitment to Methodism and their disenchantment with its rules and restrictions shaped the theology and practice of the Christian Mission and the Salvation Army. Their encounter with revivalism and holiness theology influenced how they evangelized. Equally important were William's and Catherine's family backgrounds, class position, and the evangelical partnership they forged in their marriage.

Among the most significant and groundbreaking features of the Salvation Army was the unusual prominence and authority of women. Catherine Booth was the decisive intellectual and practical influence on this unique status Salvationist women enjoyed. She exemplified a new model of Christian womanhood, articulating a new approach to female . . .

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