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Book Review: Catherine Booth - From Timidity to Boldness 1829-1865by David Malcolm Bennett

Book Review: Catherine Booth - From Timidity to Boldness 1829-1865by David Malcolm Bennett

Book Review: Catherine Booth - From Timidity to Boldness 1829-1865by David Malcolm Bennett

27 November 2020

Reviewer Major David Woodbury says the new Catherine book biography from David Malcolm Bennet “breaks new ground”. Pictured here is an artist’s impression of Catherine ministering to people on the streets of London, while husband General William Booth preaches the Word of God in the background.

Reviewed by David Woodbury

The latest offering on the life and influence of Catherine Booth comes from David Malcolm Bennett, a writer who has devoted much of his life to researching and writing on the Booths and the early Salvation Army.

It is the first of a two-volume biography that explores the life of Catherine Booth, a highly complex and remarkable woman. While much of the narrative is known through the works of other writers, Bennett breaks new ground, particularly in researching Catherine’s family of origin, the Mumfords.

There are some strong emerging themes, such as the methods the Booths began to employ in reaching the lost, street parades before the service, and the altar call. Notable also is Catherine’s conviction on female ministry and the development of the Booths’ team ministry, a persuasion that may well have impacted the Army in its insistence that married candidates for officership must both receive the call to full-time ministry.

In this book, Catherine comes across as a ‘warts and all’ real person, complete with idiosyncrasies. Timid? Well perhaps by nature, but fearless and focused, often obsessed with her own health and death, judgmental, tactless and outspoken, yet compassionate. Catherine Mumford was a highly complex and multifaceted personality who was to emerge as perhaps one of the most outstanding women in Victorian England. It may well be that her early death deprived her of the recognition she so rightly deserved.

It is a story that once again proves that God will use those who are totally committed to him. A must-read for those interested in the birth and development of The Salvation Army.

Join author David Malcolm Bennett for an online book launch, or attend in Brisbane, on Saturday 28 November or watch a repeat on Monday 30 November. Contact to book your place!

Catherine Booth – From Timidity to Boldness by David Malcolm Bennett is out now and can be ordered from Sydney Salvationist Supplies (1800 634 209) or, and Melbourne Salvation Army Supplies (1800 100 018) or




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