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American Priestess

The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem

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Description

For generations, The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem has been a well-known retreat for journalists, diplomats, pilgrims and spies. However, few know the story of Anna Spafford, the enigmatic evangelist who was instrumental in its founding

Branded heretics by Jerusalem’s established Christian missionaries when they arrived in 1881, the Spaffords and their followers nevertheless won over Muslims and Jews with their philanthropy. But when her husband Horatio died, Anna assumed leadership, shocking even her adherents by abolishing marriage and establishing an uneasy dictatorship based on emotional blackmail and religious extremism.

With a controversial heroine at its core, American Priestess provides a fascinating exploration of the seductive power of evangelicalism as well as an intriguing history of an enduring landmark.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 31, 2008 – Anna Øglende Spafford’s life was a classic 19th-century epic, related perceptively by Geniesse. Born in Norway in 1842, she came to the United States as a child, buried her father on the Minnesota prairie, then married evangelical lawyer Horatio Spafford in Chicago. Somewhat unhinged by the Great Chicago Fire, bankruptcy and a shipwreck that drowned four of their daughters, the couple founded a Protestant sect called the Saints; hounded by creditors, they absconded to Jerusalem in 1881 with a handful of followers to await the Second Coming. With Horatio’s death, Anna tightened her grip on her “American Colony” cult, abolished marriage and reshuffled couples into chaste “affinities.” Then she turned her sect into a business empire, including a profitable hotel, farms, bakeries and Jerusalem’s first telephone company, all staffed by Swedish converts. Whew! “There are neither villains nor saints in this story,” notes Geniesse (Passionate Nomad), setting her sprightly account against the era’s Christian Zionism and millennial hysterias. Geniesse paints her charismatic heroine as part ur-feminist survivor, part totalitarian despot.
American Priestess
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 17, 2008
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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