Books: The Great Brooklyn Scandal

FREE LOVE AND HEAVENLY SINNERS (273 pp.)—Robert Shaplen—Knopf ($3.95).

He was a national institution 80 years ago, widely acclaimed as the greatest preacher "since Paul preached on the Hill of Mars." Member of a famous evangelical family (Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, was his sister), he had packed in the parishioners at Brooklyn's big Plymouth Church for 23 years. Then, at 57, and at the peak of his influence, he was accused of practicing what he preached against. "On the night of July 3, 1870,'' writes Author Robert...

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