Last week, in studying for my upcoming field exam in 17th and 18th century Church History, I realized that Francis Asbury was probably the person who was a key figure in the 18th century who I had the least amount of information about. So, I did a few quick searches and came across America’s Bishop: The Life of Francis Asburyby Darius L. Salter. So, I did something completely out of character, I made an impulse purchase and bought the book.
The book arrived yesterday and it appears to be a serious and substantial biography of Asbury. The text is 362 pages followed by an additional nearly 20 page Bibliography and more than 50 pages of notes. However, there are a few things that make me wonder about this book. First, I could not find any academic reviews of it on the major search engines through Bridwell library. It seems to me that what appears to be the first in depth biography in decades would have been reviewed in a journal somewhere. In other words, why aren’t academics saying anything about it? (On the other hand there is an endorsement from Russel E. Richey on the back cover of the book, and I could have just missed the reviews.) Second, it is published by Francis Asbury Press. At first glance this seems very fitting for a biography of Francis Asbury. However, I would have guessed that Abingdon or someone of the like would have jumped at the chance to publish a major biography of Asbury. And finally, I would have guessed that a book like this would have been written by an expert in American Methodism, rather than someone with a PhD in psychology and religion.
None of these mean that the book isn’t going to be a terrific study of the life of a key figure for American Methodism, they just have made me wonder if I am missing something. So my question is, have you read this book or heard anything about it? Am I missing anything? And are there other biographies of Francis Asbury that you have read and would recommend?