What is it about Mary Baker Eddy? Beginning with the 1909 muckraking biography by Georgine Milmine, writers have been unable to resist the temptation to dish the dirt on the founder of Christian Science. Milmine was followed in quick succession by Wilbur (pro), Dakin (con), Powell (judiciously favorable), Bates and Dittemore (disillusioned), Kennedy (countering Bates and Dittemore), and Smaus (worshipful). Lately, the page tally has been mounting at an ominous rate. First, there was the “definitive” three-volume life published between 1966 and 1971 by Christian Scientist Robert Peel—weighing in with about a thousand pages of text supported by 250 pages of notes. Then, just four years ago, Robert David Thomas entered the lists with a 363-page psychosocial portrait of Mrs. Eddy, justified by what was then called “unprecedented access” to the Church’s extensive archival holdings. But now Mrs. Eddy has been subjected to the...


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