Books: Sister Aimee

STORMING HEAVEN by Lately Thomas. 364 pages. Morrow. $10.

Aimee Semple McPherson liked to brag that she arrived in Los Angeles with $10 and a tambourine. If she'd had another ten-spot, she would probably have wound up Pope. As it was, she merely became the most famous gospel shouter of her time (1890-1944), founding mother of the enormous Angelus Temple and its 750 satellite churches, pastor to a radio parish of millions. Biographer Lately Thomas, who recounted one episode of her story a decade ago, fails to see his subject in any depth, or place her in historic context. Even so, his...