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BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTES Edited by Edwin B. Bronner A Procession of Friends: Quakers in America. By Daisy Newman. Religion in America Series; ed. by Charles W. Ferguson. New York: Doubleday, 1972. 460 pages. $10.00. In A Procession of Friends Daisy Newman has achieved something almost incredible: a fresh and original as well as authentic book about American Quakerism. A long book, without a dull page, it covers the whole range of the subject, from George Fox's call in 1640 to the marriage of Margery Nelson and Robert Perisho in 1970—but not precisely in that order. Friends of the past and present move across its pages weaving back and forth in time, more like figures in a dance than in a procession, representing not only the events of Quaker history but die growth of Quaker principles. Author of several successful novels, Daisy Newman brings to this work of history the novelist's skill in structuring scenes and in depicting character vividly in a few words. To this she has added die historian's scrupulous care in checking and re-checking sources and an indefatigability peculiarly her own in visiting places, attending meetings and interviewing individuals. In the first chapter she describes the journey to die Gestapo in 1938 of Rufus M. Jones, George Walton and D. Robert Yarnall. In die second she contrasts the warmdi of the welcome given to these Friends on their return to New York with the "lion's den" of Boston into which Mary Fisher and Ann Austin ventured in 1656 and others subsequently. A chapter on the work of the American Friends Service Committee in 1940 leads to the question of why "quite ordinary men and women living fully in the world" should have undertaken these things and finds the answer in Lancashire three centuries earlier and the young man who had a vision at Pendle Hill. So it moves back and forth, but not at random. The threads are distinct and the pattern, though complicated, is not confusing. The number of personalities who appear is vast, including not only all die great but also many lesser known figures like Paul Cuffe and Margery Nelson, who are there not only as themselves, but also as examples of the testimonies on race and peace diat their lives exemplify. Perry Hayden's cubic inch of grain planted and replanted over a period of six years until it yielded several thousand bushels of wheat to feed the hungry, becomes not only a symbol of sharing but a chain to which other events and testimonies are linked. The tragic separations in Quaker history are treated with compassion and understanding, and in this book as in no odier that I know of, the many varieties of Friends are included. It is a gold mine of Quaker stories, the old and well-loved and some new ones, always told to connote a deeper meaning, and it includes many moving and significant quotations. In keeping widi her skillful and imaginative use of time, Daisy Newman ends her book in 1970 with die not often quoted words of George Fox in 1670: "The Truth is widiout time . . . And do not 58 BOOK REVIEWS59 think that anytiiing will outlast the Truth, which standeth sure and is over that which is out of the Truth; for the good will overcome the evil; and the light, darkness; and the life, deathSo be faithful and live in that which doth not think the time long." Kendal at LongwoodElizabeth Gray Vining The Quaker Family in Colonial America. By J. William Frost. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973. viii, 248 pages. $12.95. Current efforts to combine the concepts and contributions of more than one discipline in studying Quakers find expression in a most helpful and illuminating fashion in this volume by Professor Frost. He has used a sociological approach in examining the colonial Quaker family which gives his readers many new insights into the way in which members of the Religious Society of Friends lived two centuries ago. The volume falls in three parts: a background section on the nature of Quakerism, especially as it related to the family; a study of the Quaker...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 58-59
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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