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Judaica
American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem
 
 
Author
Jane Fletcher Geniesse.
Publisher Nan A. Talese  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.25 inches
ISBN 9780385519267
Pages/Publication Date 378/2008
Daedalus Item Code 00869
This item is not available.
Description
"Anna Øglende Spafford's life was a classic 19th-century epic, related perceptively by [Jane] Geniesse [the author of Passionate Nomad]. 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 [the renowned American Colony 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, 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."—Publishers Weekly
 
 
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