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Fran Grace has 1 media appearance.

Oct
14
Fran Grace
Booknotes, Sunday, October 14, 2001
Fran Grace discusses Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life.

This landmark biography of a much maligned and misunderstood figure will be welcomed by those interested in the history of women, reform and religion in 19th- and 20th-century America. Early biographers dismissed the axe-wielding temperance reformer as crazy, fanatical, undersexed, oversexed or menopausal; University of Redlands religious studies professor Grace makes clear that the story was far more complicated, and much less Freudian, than that. The book is worth the price of admission simply because of Grace's admirable detective work; she draws on an immense body of primary sources that earlier scholars never bothered to tap. But the biography's most important contribution is Grace's insistence that Nation can't be understood without delving into her piety. Reared by Campbellite parents, Nation, who called herself a "bulldog of Jesus," also drew on Holiness religion, the Salvation Army, Catholicism and Methodism. The biography, however, is not flawless. Grace too often sets up historiographic straw men, and her self-conscious positioning of herself as a feminist historian who is recovering Nation from the condescension of male historians is tiring; she should have made this point once in the introduction and then let her work speak for itself. The flashes of polish in Grace's prose (Nation "carved her way into the twentieth century") balance out less felicitous academese (e.g., the term "genderalities"). In all, this is a worthy portrait of the notorious smasher. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)
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