In the first full-length biography of evangelist Gerald L. K. Smith (1898–1976), Glen Jeansonne traces the tempestuous career of this notorious bigot. A spellbinding speaker and brilliant organizer, Smith founded the reactionary hate sheet The Cross and the Flag as well as the anti-Semitic Christian Nationalist Crusade and ran for president three times.
Exhaustively researched, this study contains information from Smith’s FBI dossier, his personal papers, and Smith himself. Also included are compelling arguments concerning the causes of anti-Semitism in America, the role of demagogues, and the mentality of their loyal supporters.
Praise for Gerald L. K. Smith
“Glen Jeansonne has produced a well-written, dispassionate biography of one of America’s most colorful demagogues that fills a big gap in the historiography of the 1930s and 1940s. It is difficult to believe that anyone will surpass his effort for many years to come.”—Journal of American History
“An important work on a colorful and fascinating inhabitant of the farthest shore of American politics.”—American Historical Review
“A stirring biography. Jeansonne has performed extensive research in both primary and secondary materials. He was also able to interview Smith at length. In so doing he has presented an objective assessment of Smith’s life. More importantly, he has written a clear, descriptive story about a man who has been neglected far too long.”—Social Science Quarterly
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