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That Printer of Udell's

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  331 ratings  ·  41 reviews
As a boy, Dick Falkner runs away from abject poverty and a physically abusive alcoholic father. Sixteen years later, he finds himself hungry of body and empty of spirit in a Midwestern town. Although he finds no help in this so-called Christian town, he is eventually taken in by George Udell, a local publisher and kind-hearted man. Through hard work and Christian morals, t ...more
Paperback, Webster's French Thesaurus Edition, 309 pages
Published by Icon Group International, Inc. (first published 1902)
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SailingByAshBreeze
Another very good book revealing the journey of a man growing in greatness. The side stories along the way reinforced all lessons learned through our main character's trials and successes. Could be one of those thought/idea changing books for some. Reminded me of In His Steps by Charles Sheldon; another must read with the same theme.

I appreciated the author's technique of not telling every detail, but using subtle innuendos. He was so subtle in painting a picture that at times you needed to re-
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Stevie Hine
Harold Bell Wright was a brilliant critic of the church a century before the likes of Kinneman (unChristian), Platt (Radical), and Idleman (Not a Fan). His ability to diagnose hypocrisy and pretension in the common church through his works of fiction is incredibly refreshing, and his heroes and heroines are always well developed and awe inspiring as examples. But HBW is hit or miss as far as the literary value of his stories go. "The Shepherd of the Hills" was a story of naturalistic beauty and ...more
James
Had high hopes for this book. This was Ronald Reagan's favorite book. Turns out it's a cross between Tom Sawyer and an evangelical text. The characters are presented without great depth, and I'm not sure the accents are that authentic, either. Basically, a Horatio Alger story draped over a church life commentary. It's a morality play, where evil doers are never quite given believable motivations, and the evils of drink are way over-wrought. I sorta see why Reagan liked it, but am not sure that i ...more
Laura
This is my second favorite book (behind Fields of Fire.) This book most accurately illustrates Christianity, as it was meant to be practiced, while simultaneously illustrating exactly how it sometimes goes so wrong. I first read it because I heard it was Ronald Reagan's favorite, and was curious. It turned out to be my second favorite book of all time (and in close competition with my first favorite.) The picture it draws is just so perfectly accurate. Oh, and this book has one of the best examp ...more
Missy
This is the book Reagan regarded as the most influential novel for his life. It is a story of practical Christianity written by a pastor in the form of chapters to be read on Sundays. Because it was formatted to be a concise story for the week, it loses something as a novel, but it still is a helpful and convicting book.
Eyebright
Mar 30, 2011 Eyebright rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
My Synopsis

That Printer of Udell's follows the path of young Dick Falkner, whose mother is dead and whose father is a drunk. From a very young age, he makes his own way in the world, until he finds himself looking for work among the "kind" Christian people of Boyd City.

Unfortunately, their hypocrisy is all too clear to him; they go to church and nod their heads as the pastor preaches goodwill to all men, but their lives reflect that of self-centered socialites. Disgusted, he applies for work fro
...more
Kit
My husband's grandma owns an antique shop and gave me this book that was published in 1902-1903. So I'm excited to read it.
It is about a Gentleman named Dick who runs into some bad luck and ends up homeless and searching for a job. Back then if you didn't have a job and were homeless you were considered a tramp. After finally finding a printing job; which is his trade. He is finding out more and more that the Churchs aren't living up to what they are preaching. As he becomes a person who is work
...more
Kent
Mar 17, 2015 Kent rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good story
Recommended to Kent by: Picked it up at College of the Ozarks and saw that it had a tremendous impact on Ronald Reagan as an 11-year-old, leading him to declare his faith through baptism (and more)
An entertaining tale of the churches of a small town, Boyd City, IL, having a reputation with outsiders as being generally unhelpful to society. They love to talk about theological points, but they don't offer any practical help to those who are down and out. The two protagonists of the book, George and Dick, are both lauded in some ways as more Christian than the Christians, though both resist Christianity and the Church, thoughtfully, because of the seeming hypocrisy and lack of compassion of ...more
Shannon McDermott
A well-written novel, old enough to be historically interesting, that examines the mission and failures of the Christian church. There are, you may be sure, didactic passages. The story is cleverly woven, with powerful and intriguing moments; its intensity, towards the end, belies the quiet first half of the book and becomes, once or twice, rather too grim. The author's skill and the window into a gone time raise the book to four stars.
Quin
Harold Bell Wright's tale of a region's treatment of those less fortunate than most, was very well written. The characters were also well developed. If you're at all squeamish about the "N"-word, it is mentioned a few times at the end.
Janetkc7wvy
This book has really made me think: am I truly a Christian? This is a story of a young man Dick Falkner who down on his luck and starving comes to a town of many churchs hoping to get a meal. He is not begging is willing to work for it however he is turned away by all the good Christian people and called a tramp. A non-Christian takes him in, feeds him, and gives him a job. He proves to be a good and skilled worker.
I understand this is the first book that Harold Bell Wright wrote. President Reag
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Ariel C.
I really enjoy how Harold Bell Wright illustrated the uncaring attitude that many Christians have for their fellow man as well as showing practical ways to care for others in this story. It was reprinted under the name The Least Of These My Brothers, and some of the ideas I shared from this story became the foundation of an actual study room created by a good friend of mine. The general idea was to provide a place were all were welcome to study, talk, sing, play, eat, drink, and most importantly ...more
Brandi
One of my top 20 most favorite books

This is one of the books Ronald Reagan said influenced him most in his life. It is the story of a young man who comes into town as virtually a beggar and becomes a very influential man in the community and in the church. He does not agree with the church's ways though seeing that its people are mostly hypocrites, but he does believe in Christianity wholeheartedly and he changes the whole city for the better through his Christlike beliefs AND actions.
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Chuck Engelhardt
I chose to read this book because Ronald Reagan mentioned it as being very influencial in in his life. I can see some of its lessons in his political policies, but was honestly a bit disappointed in the book. The book presents issues in the church and calls for action to make a difference in the world, but does so with characters who are not very well developed at all. Characters seem to suddenly be something they were not without explanation and certain apparently defining events go nowhere. I ...more
Diane
Outstanding. His "slice of life" portrayal is still applicable today. We are still struggling with some of the same things. Very Interesting.
Lisa
I read somewhere that this was President R Reagan's most influential book that he ever read. I can see why after reading it. Powerful.
Emily L
I love this book, having read several times an original 1902 edition that was in our house growing up. I recently came across the beautiful leather-bound reprint by Lamplighter, and couldn't pass it up.
Kathryn
The message from this story is a strong one. Although I do not have strong religious convictions I do have a strong sense of walking the talk. The basic story was a good read telling the power of the human spirit and following what we know to be true.
Paul
A fictional story about a man who tries to live rightly - and it was a bit bizarre I thought to have his long time love interest end up in a brothel. Only after this do they get together. But why the brothel? It didn't seem to fit with the progression of the story, even though he had a poor background and she was from a wealthy family. She could have ended up on the streets, or begging, or something less vulgar. It seemed to be for dramatic effect, yet I found it to be like a comedian who swears ...more
Precentor
This book is one I'd recommend to pretty much any reader 16+. I really really really enjoyed most of it but the end took a turn for the desperately grim-er reality of a Christian life lived as a charade.

A few sections left me puzzled as it seemed one of the characters had not sinned in a manner some of the other characters' actions and words seemed to imply. It could have been social ideas from when the book was written giving my modern perspective a few confusing bits.

Still for anyone 16+ grea
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Sharon
I wanted to read this because the author wrote my all time favorite book: The Shepherd of the Hills. Then I found out that this book was dear to Ronald Regan! As I read I could see why. It's a story of faith and what true Christianity should look like. As I followed the well drawn characters through their trials and triumphs, I came to care about them.

This book, written over 100 years ago, not only tells a good story, it is still relevant. Highly recommend .
Lisa
This book deserved five stars for its message and one star for its cheesy writing and need for editing. I decided four stars was fair since it is the message that matters. In a nutshell, a book about the difference between church-goers and true Christians. Also about the worth of souls, repentance, and the possibility of changing a life, whether that be one's own life or a the life of a stranger in need.
Sarah
This book was great! I LOVED the story line. The call to Christian living was beautiful. It reminded me of "In His Steps," But "That Printer of Udell's" was more practical and real.
P.S. The Lamplighter copy of the book is one of the most beautiful book covers that I have ever seen.

* This book deals with some pretty low parts of society and I would be careful of letting a young child read it.
Rebecca
Wow! This is an amazing book. There are very few books that I would rate above 5 stars, and this would be one. A beautiful romance (beautiful!), a great perspective on humanity, the church, our minsters, the common person, business, etc.

A story worth purchasing and reading time and time again. You just can't go wrong!
Devonne West
A fiction book where the main theme is the hypocrisy of Christians & how the world views someone that is Christ-like vs. someone that is a Christian. Being Christ-like requires ACTION, not just being. That action goes further than just praying, believing, & going to church.
Sadie
This book was my introduction to this great author. My mom read to me and my sibling a lot while we were growing up and this is one we read. It is a wonderful book about a community that is brought together by a stranger. A beautiful story with romance and feeling.
Cindy
Though this is a very old book, the topics cover through this novel are very contemporary. The story was gripping and caused me to reflect on whether my beliefs were only in my head or lived out in my actions. I highly recommend this book.
Katie
I had never heard of this book before until my Book Club decided to read it. I loved it! It does a great job of illustrating hypocrisy in upper places and much of the themes are still VERY relevant to today. A great, easy read!
Bonnie
apparently this was ronald reagan's favorite book....
i really like HBW's 2nd book, so i thought i'd give his 1st a try.

possibly liked this BETTER than his 2nd book - presents an interesting moral/religious dilemma.
Michael Vincent
I was a bit disappointed knowing this book had a great affect on Ronald Reagan as a boy. But it is a wholesome book of living out one's faith in Christ. It has been many years since I read it.
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135841
Harold Bell Wright was a best selling American author of the first part of the 20th century.

Between 1903 and 1942, this minister-turned-author wrote nineteen books, several scripts for stage plays, and several magazine articles. At least fifteen movies were made from his novels. Seven of Wright's books appeared on the top ten best sellers lists, two of them twice, including a number one seller in
...more
More about Harold Bell Wright...
The Shepherd of the Hills The Calling of Dan Matthews When a Man's a Man The Winning of Barbara Worth The Eyes of the World

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“As he stood there, the audience was forgotten. The past, with all its mistakes and suffering, its doubt and sin,
came before him for an instant, then vanished, and his heart leaped for joy, because he knew that it was gone
forever. And the future, made beautiful by the presence of Christ and the conviction that he was right with
God, stretched away as a path leading ever upward, until it was lost in the glories of the life to come, while he
heard, as in a dream, the words of his confessed Master, “Follow: thou me.”
3 likes
“This was the beginning. The end is easily foreseen; for, given a young man of Dick's temperament, longing
for companionship, and another young man of Charlie's make−up, with a legitimate business to bring the two
together, and only a friendship of the David and Jonathan order could result.”
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