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That Printer of Udell's

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  505 Ratings  ·  52 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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Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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-
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
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Chuck Engelhardt
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose to read this because President Reagan considered it to be one of the most impactful books in his experience. I find out to be the same. Wright uses a fiction format to present the concept of "true religion" and the dichotomy between the church response and the community response to the needs of undesirable people. The writing is of excellent quality, and the concepts are challenging and convicting. I'm buying a paperback version to encourage my family to read it.
Pam Gowen
I found this book a pleasant read and was interested in it after I read somewhere that it was the book that Ronald Reagan wrote had changed his life. I didn't realize until after I was finished that it was one of his mother's books and he read it when he was 11. Because his life was similar to the main characters' circumstances to some degree, it made a big impact on him and he in turn, made a decision that is, in fact, a life changing one.
♡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.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not what I expected. It took me a little while to get into it, but then held my attention. It is about the difference between belonging to a church and actually being a Christian in action, word and thought. "The change that comes to the individual who applies Christ's teaching to his daily life." I'm grateful for that change I've felt in my own life.
Madeline Rose
This was a very interesting story!
I really liked the writing style, surprisingly. I didn't think I would like it because at first it sounded stuffy and descriptive. But I really did like it.
The characters were wonderful! Dick is a great role model and I really loved his character.
It's a great read if you're looking for something historical fiction-ish. Plus it has great morals.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most impactful, interesting books I have ever read. I enjoyed the story but enjoyed the message even more. There is a lot for the Christian to think about in reading this. Society, the poor, and the church faced many of the same problems 100 years ago as we do now. I give this book my highest recommendation.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Emily L
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Devonne West
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
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.
Oct 12, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mom
Started reading this book and it is good. However, too many stressful situations in my life right now with our neighbors that I couldn't keep my attention on the book. I'm putting it down for now but will definitely return to it...krb 10/12/16
Read the first time 3 years ago. Reminds me of Sheldon's In His Steps. My edition contains a letter President Reagan penned to the author's widow, telling her of the transformative impact this particular novel had on him as a young man.
Tirzah Eleora
I read this book a while back when a friend lent it to me. I was intrigued about it, as it was one of Ronald Reagan's favourite books and it had a recommendation from him. It started out fairly well, but ultimately I found it tedious and didactic, and Wright's writing skills are rather lacking.
Shelby Stafford
the book that Ronald Reagan said had the a big impact on his life. wonderful book, republished by Lamplighter Ministries
Ronald Reagan based many of his social politics on this book.
Rich McNeill
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like In His Footsteps by Sheldon I think you'll enjoy this one too. Fictional - yes, maybe but very encouraging how one person can affect so many others has always intrigued me.
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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 about Harold Bell Wright...

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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.”
“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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