December 2, 2008

Book Review: "Billy, The Untold Story"

Many say Billy Graham is a modern day apostle. I'm too young to have experienced him in his prime, but he certainly seems like the real deal. However, my cynical side wonders if it’s just a matter of time before his past sins come to light and he’s undone by his own doings.

The latter is the launching point for the book Billy, The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith that Almost Changed Everything by William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham. Set in 2001, an opportunistic reporter seeks to uncover the hidden “truth” about the 20th century’s most famous evangelist. She figures what better place to start than at the bedside of an aging Charles Templeton, Billy Graham’s once best friend and uber-evangelist-turned-atheist.

Told primarily through the eyes of Templeton, Billy is a look back on events that took place in the late 30’s to 1949. While the prose is more workmanlike than snappy, the story carries the reader enjoyably through an interesting behind-the-scenes look at Billy Graham’s early days, the business of evangelism in the 40s and eventually to a crisis of faith that nearly ended Graham’s career. Alongside that, Billy tells the tale of two friends, called by God. When they encounted a fork in the road, one chose one path and the other chose differently. Where the book lacked drama in the first 200 pages, it more than made up for it in the last 50.

Overall Billy provided an informative read. It whet my appetite to learn more about the characters involved. And it showed God working powerfully through the life of a young man who kept saying, "Yes."

This review was motivated by Thomas Nelson publishing’s offer for a free book. Free book? Yes! In exchange for posting a review on your blog or a consumer website (like, Thomas Nelson will send you a free book. Sign up (click here). Select a book. Read it. Write a review. Choose another book. Simple…and fun! Try it for yourself.


Sassy Granny ... said...

He's truly one amazing man! I have long loved him, especially his authenticity. I enjoyed reading his son's book, "Rebel With a Cause", too as it gives even more color to the lives of the Grahams.

For sure I'll have to grab a copy of "Billy".

Be blessed,

Chatty Kelly said...

I am doing this too! I already reviewed my first book. I wanted to get this one next, but they were out of it. :(

Thanks for the review!

Sue J. said...

And I suspect, since the last 50 pages were so great, that you probably have more things to write about this!

That's a very interesting idea that Thomas Nelson has. Certainly gets their books into people's hands, onto their blogs and maybe into more people's hands.... Helps to have good books, of course.

Pierre said...

I think the two things that have kept Billy's ministry strong and scandal-free are integrity and humility.

I had heard that he never went onto an elevator with a woman, but more recently I heard that he would rent out a whole hotel floor, remove all televisions and have guards watching the floor.

Wow! It reminds me of Joseph who ran from Potiphar's wife. Run! Run! Run!

Thanks for the book recommendation idea! I'm in! This will force me to actually complete a book! :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...


Go to the Cove, Billy Graham's training center in the mountains for a true feel of his life and witness. We've been there a couple of times for special weekends and speakers. I think it would make a great spot for a blogger get together. It's in Asheville.


Peggy said...

Kelli Dear,
I've been very busy this week, and just found this blog you posted.
I must witness to you that "Billy" is a powerful and encouraging messanger for Christ.
Even though I was brought up from day one in the church, Billy Graham brought me to my Lord and Savior in the late 50's, early 60's when he spoke to crowds and crowds of people in Philly.
There have been times when as we all do, I fell short of God's expectations of me, but I am not only greatful that He loves and forgives me daily, but I am so very greatful that I had the oppertunity to hear and come foward when Billy Graham invited me.
See you tomorrow.
Blessings and Love....Peggy