Royal Oak, Michigan: The Radio League of the Little Flower, 1932. First edition. Tall octavo (8 3/4 inches tall), original brown and black cloth lettered in silver. Very gentle scuffing to front board but about-Fine. Item #1283
"GOLD AND SILVER, BRICKS AND MORTAR, THESE BECAME OUR GODS, AND THESE TOO MANY OF US ADORED"
First edition collecting the sermons of the Populist "Radio Priest" at the height of his influence—uncommon in the original silver-stamped Art Deco boards.
Usually encountered stapled in paper wrappers, this volume captures the fervor and mass appeal of the radio and publishing activities at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan in the grim early days of the Great Depression. The centerpiece of the Shrine's public outreach was "The Golden Hour," a national radio broadcast preached by Father Charles E. Coughlin. "The immense size of the audience that listened in on his Sunday afternoon broadcasts testified to his uncanny talent for articulating the fears and suspicions of millions of Americans, both Catholic and otherwise, who felt victimized by the Depression. Coughlin drew on Scripture, the papal social encyclicals, and American populist literature in excoriating the legions of enemies he found responsible for the plight of the poor and wretched" (Thomas Bokenkotter).
Prefaced with Coughlin's brief Dedication: "May the message folded away in its pages remind the reader that Christ has not forsaken the multitude and that the principles of Christ's religion will continue to multiply the loaves." Coughlin's wide influence peaked in the middle of the decade and began to wane as he descended into demagoguery and sensationalism. The American Catholic hierarchy and the Vatican became increasingly alarmed and Coughlin was eventually silenced by Archbishop Mooney of Detroit. He is little known today, but Father Coughlin represents the appeal of an enduring Populist strain in American life. An important moment in the social history of American Catholicism in the scarce original hardcover binding. Approbations. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church.