Cover of With God on their Side

With God on their Side

William Booth, The Salvation Army and Skeleton Army Riots

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The SalvationArmy is nowadays viewed with fondness, but William Booth's evangelical crusadeof the 1880s and early 1890s sparked violent riots led by an opposition group,the Skeleton Army. These riots caused destruction to property, injury to manypeople and, on occasion, loss of life. Spreading across the South and West ofEngland, the Skeleton Army's aim was to eject Salvationists from their towns. Rather than facing repercussions themselves, however, it was often the peacefulparading Salvationists who were imprisoned.In With Godon Their Side, James Gardner follows the spread of violence in the contextof the popular conservatism of late-Victorian England, with close study ofparticular towns creating a rich tapestry of historical narrative that will beof interest to scholars and enthusiasts alike. The motives and actions of bothgroups are considered, along with the subsequent shift in the Salvation Army'sfocus towards social welfare. It is this shift that enabled the organisation togrow into the treasured charity we know today, and helped transform WilliamBooth from one of the most vilified men of the nineteenth century into itssaint.   

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