Chiara Press, 344 Pages, Paper, $16.95
Many people probably don’t know that evangelist and editor John R. Rice had a black sheep in his clan—the author of this book, Rice’s grandson, describes himself that way. Says Himes, “While my brother trained to be a missionary to Japan, I trained to be a proletarian revolutionary and overthrow the imperialist bourgeoisie. I had worked in the steel fabrication plants and foundries of Birmingham for several years, organizing strikes, passing out revolutionary literature, and building up my arrest record.” He says he “ended up as much a Maoist failure as I had been a Christian failure.” There seems to have been a reconciliation between him and his aghast family, though the book leaves the reader hanging as to his current relationship with Christ.
Opening chapters have to do with his ancestry, including interesting matters relating to the Civil War, slavery, and the South. Then the focus shifts to the various issues and personalities of the fundamentalist movement of the last 75 years or so, of which the Rices played a prominent part. Himes generally takes a dim view of various aspects of fundamentalism, though it seems he tries to be fair and kind. The book helps the reader understand how other people view fundamentalism, even when the reader would disagree theologically. A glossary, reading/discussion guide, index, and bibliography round out the book, and photos and illustrations are included.