By Joy Allmond
Since his Feb. 21 death, Americans of varying faiths and denominations have been sentimental about the man informally deemed “America’s pastor.” Not surprisingly, Protestants are quite familiar with Billy Graham’s ministry.
A recent study by LifeWay Research shows nearly half (48 percent) of Protestant churchgoers in America have seen one of his televised sermons. One in 10 has attended one of his evangelistic events, known as crusades.
But the study also shows a significant portion of the nation’s population is not familiar with Billy Graham.
More than half of the 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed said they’ve never interacted with his ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), and 16 percent said they’d never heard of him.
Whether you’re a baby boomer who followed Billy Graham’s ministry for decades, or a millennial who has never heard of him, here are a few books that will give insight into his life and ministry.
1. Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (HarperOne)
The most popular of Graham-related books, this 1997 release spent 26 weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Since then more than 1.5 million copies have been sold.
In 2007 an updated edition was released. This new version includes Graham’s public ministry through tragedies such as the 1999 Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11.
This book is a collection of photos tracing the life of Billy Graham from the Charlotte, North Carolina, dairy farm where he was raised to the global stage where he preached the gospel and counseled world leaders, and the national stage, where he prayed with presidents and denounced racism.
All photos were captured by Russ Busby, the BGEA photographer who followed Graham for decades all over the world to document his ministry and impact on the world.
3. The Preacher and the Presidents (FaithWords)
This 2007 release from Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy chronicles Graham’s relationships, from President Harry S. Truman to President George W. Bush. Dubbed “pastor to the presidents,”
U.S. presidents often sought out Graham for prayer and comfort in the midst of national or personal disasters. This book shows the reader how Graham brought faith into the public square through his friendship with each Commander-in-Chief.
4. America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation (Belknap Press)
Grant Wacker, professor of Christian history at Duke Divinity School, examines how Graham captured the hearts of millions and was woven into the fabric of American society.
This 2014 release gives a reader a sociological analysis of Graham’s presence in the culture of his day, and what that meant for social and political issues as well as religious ones.
5. Billy Graham: Candid Conversations with a Public Man (David C. Cook)
Billy Graham had a warm relationship with the public, but this 2014 release written by David Frost displays the more private side of this husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Based on 30 years’ worth of conversations, Frost tells the reader through this book what many have wanted to know, but didn’t have the opportunity to ask.
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- Remembering America’s Pastor: Billy Graham
- Billy Graham’s Funeral Brings Ministry Full Circle in ‘The Canvas Cathedral
JOY ALLMOND (@JoyAllmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.