Catherine Booth: From Timidity to Boldness 1829- 1865 tells the story of Catherine Booth’s dramatic early life, and how a timid young woman rose from a home damaged by alcohol to become a dynamic and popular preacher, campaigner for the rights of women and, with her husband, founder of The Salvation Army.
Author David Malcolm Bennett makes significant and revealing use of the letters that the Booths wrote to each other, the letters she wrote to her parents, and her diary and reminiscences. It is the first biography of Catherine Booth to make use of the complete transcribed editions of each of these works.
In Catherine Booth: From Timidity to Boldness, Catherine is allowed to speak for herself and what she says is frequently dynamic and, at different times, insightful, deeply spiritual, and, occasionally, controversial.
Garth R. Hentzschel Executive Editor, The Australasian Journal of Salvation Army History –
David Malcolm Bennett’s Catherine Booth: From Timidity to Boldness has ‘lifted the bonnet’ on the characteristics and influences of Catherine Booth, who was to become ‘Mother of The Salvation Army’. Bennett’s use of primary sources is refreshing and allowed him to uncover influences upon Booth’s life and ministry not previously discovered. To read Booth’s life in her own words is powerful. Using contemporary research and historical documents, Bennett grappled with inconsistencies of previous biographies to paint a clearer picture of events and personalities. This book cements David Malcolm Bennett as one of the very few experts on both Catherine Booth and her husband, General William Booth.
Christian Writers Downunder –
Link to Christian Writers Downunder interview
Writer’s Grapevine –
CATHERINE BOOTH: FROM TIMIDITY TO BOLDNESS, 1829-65
“Catherine Booth: From Timidity to Boldness, 1829-65” is the first part of a new two-volume biography of Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army. The second volume should be published in 2021. It is the first major biography of Catherine Booth this century, and makes extensive and significant use of the recently transcribed Booth letters and her diary and reminiscences. This volume tells the story of Catherine Booth’s dramatic early life, and how a timid young woman rose from a home damaged by alcohol to become a dynamic preacher and campaigner for the rights of women. In this book Catherine is allowed to speak for herself and what she says is frequently dynamic, and, at different times, insightful, deeply spiritual and, sometimes, controversial. As a young woman, she was a soldier in the making.
It is the first of two volumes, the second of which should come in 2021. The price is $45.99 for paperback. Catherine Booth: From Timidity to Boldness, 1829-65 is available from Morning Star Publishing, Koorong, Amazon, Book Depository, and, in theory any bookshop.
About David Malcolm Bennett
David Malcolm Bennett is one of the world’s leading authorities on William and Catherine Booth and the early Salvation Army. He has written two biographies of William Booth and transcribed, edited and published the Booth Letters and Catherine Booth’s Diary and Reminiscences. He is also the author of over 20 Christian books, including biographies of John Wesley, Hudson Taylor and C.T. Studd.
Garth R. Hentzschel –
From Under The Tricolour No.81
BENNETT ON BOOTH
by Garth R. Hentzschel
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the international interest in this topic, the Brisbane Chapter held their second Zoom meeting in November 2020. The meeting attracted 30 people who logged on from four countries (Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the Federated States of Micronesia).
Dr David Malcom Bennett, the presenter for the event, used his deep knowledge on the co-founders of The Salvation Army to argue that William Booth was a general long before he was made General of The Salvation Army. Bennett presented the argument in three sections and between each the participants could ask questions or respond with statements.
The first argument centred on the point that Booth could get young people, young men to follow him.
To prove this point, Bennet used the story of Booth marching youth into the Nottingham Chapel. Bennett pointed out that these youth were poor, ragged, unruly youth. Bennett cited an eyewitness account which stated Booth had over 50 youths march two-by-two to a field and form a ring where they knelt while Booth stood in the centre. The group then marched to the chapel and took the ‘good’ seats. Bennett pointed out how difficult it would have been to get any youths to follow, yet as Booth was a ‘general’ he could command the followership of these unruly youths.
The second argument made was that Booth was his own man, with his own mind. Bennett showed that while Catherine did in part convince William on matters such as female preaching and total abstinence of alcohol, she could not convince him to join the Congregational Union. Bennett also showed that Booth made up his own mind on the evangelists to emulate. People Booth emulated were not always liked by Catherine. Bennett argued that Booth was a general in thought and making up his own mind.
The third argument showed that Booth was a general as he had the gift of making adults, specifically male adults, follow him. Miss Short, who stayed with the Booths stated, “People who say Catherine was the greater of the two do not know what they are talking about. Mrs Booth was a very able women, a very persuasive speaker, and a wonderful manager, but the General was a force. He dominated everything…” Bennett then argued that the mission he preached from in 1865 was to be temporary, yet Booth’s ability to attract and keep people saw the mission continue.
These three arguments, clearly presented by Bennett, proved his point that Booth was a general long before he became General of The Salvation Army.
Discussion took place between the three arguments presented, the relationship between Catherine and William, the influence of revivalists on Booth, and the impact of people such as the Plymouth Brethren Publisher Morgan on Booth’s ministry.
One participant from the Shetland Islands (UK) told
how his ancestors were converted in a meeting led by the Booths and this has led to seven generations of the family being members of The Salvation Army.
Booth indeed was a general, and his leadership and influence are clear to this day, even in lives many years removed from his own and in the organisation he founded.