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The Sawdust Trail

Billy Sunday in His Own Words

William A. "Billy" Sunday

Publication Year: 2005

Billy Sunday (1862-1935) was the best-known evangelist in America in the first half of the 20th century. Impoverished midwestern farm kid, professional baseball player, showman extraordinaire, unabashed patriot, and foe of the demon rum, this self-styled muscular Christian brought his brand of manly gospel to millions of Americans nationwide. Sunday connected with his fans through a combination of theatrics, conservative theology, and fervent patriotism; the circumstances of his life and work were consistent with a Horatio Alger-like myth of success that resonated with the millions of Americans of his time who had been transplanted from the farm to the city.Published serially in the Ladies' Home Journal in 1932 and 1933 and now in book form for the first time, The Sawdust Trail is the only autobiography that this hugely popular and hugely controversial preacher ever wrote. From his childhood days in Iowa to the early days of his conversion in Illinois, from his baseball career with the National League teams in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia to the challenges of preaching in New York City during his heyday, the sections of Sunday's autobiography roll out like so many exuberant sermons, yet the sympathetic reader can hear echoes of the loneliness and misery of his early years.In The Sawdust Trail the sometimes appalling but always appealing Billy Sunday creates a usable past for himself, notable for what he omits as well as for what he includes, which gives us insight not just into his own life and career but also into the peculiar history of evangelism in America.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

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pp. 8-29

William Ashley “Billy” Sunday was the best-known evangelist in America during the first half of the twentieth century. From 1896 to 1935, the controversial preacher toured first the Midwest, then the nation, preaching to between eighty and one hundred million people a version of the....

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pages 1 - 30

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pp. 30-59

I never saw my father. He walked from Ames, Iowa, to Des Moines, thirty miles, to enlist in the Civil War, and was assigned to Company E, Twenty-third Iowa Infantry, in August, 1862. I was born on my grandfather’s farm one mile south of Ames, Story County, Iowa, the nineteenth of the following November...

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pages 31 - 60

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pp. 60-89

You can dot every hilltop in America with a red schoolhouse; you can erect a university in every teeming center of population, until ignorance will slink away like a wolf in a den; and yet America will sink into hell unless her purity of heart keeps pace with her brilliancy of intellect. Then we have this companionate marriage bunk spread broadcast...

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pages 61 - 86

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pp. 90-115

Fred Dunlap became a diamond merchant. He would buy diamonds from fellows who were hard up, then sell them for a big profit. He was an expert in judging their value. He could tell within five dollars what Bailey, Banks & Biddle, of Philadelphia, or Tiffany’s, of New York, would give. Fred could neither read nor write. I used to write his letters for him. A woman in Detroit got sweet on Fred and would write him...

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pp. 116-117

E-ISBN-13: 9781587296468
E-ISBN-10: 1587296462
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877459491
Print-ISBN-10: 0877459495

Page Count: 116
Publication Year: 2005