In the Bookcase


Book Review: A Man Called Peter

A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall (5 star review)

A Man Called Peter // written by Catherine Marshall

351 pages // published in 1951 // Christian biography


A MAN CALLED PETER is a book about love -- the compelling love between a dynamic man and his God, and the tender, romantic love between a sensitive man and the girl he marries. The extraordinary life of Peter Marshall is a gripping adventure -- a poor Scottish immigrant, he becomes Chaplain of the United States Senate and as such one of the most revered men in America and an inspiration to Americans of all faiths.

"The best stories are those that really happen. None of the novels concerning the ministry written during the last few years touches the heart and appeals to the mind in the way that Catherine Marshall does in telling the story of her husband's life." (Chicago Tribune)

My Review...

5 Star Rating

What an AMAZING and INSPIRING book this is!

I was drawn to reading it after watching the film, and was not let down. It's impossible to say if I liked the film or book better (and that's a major compliment to the movie, as the book is ALWAYS better than the film version!).

A Man Called Peter film

Some people may also recognize the author Catherine Marshall as the writer of Christy (which is a great novel). But in this book, A Man Called Peter, Catherine tells the story of how her husband Peter reached the pinnacle of his career as a minister. The highlights of his life are found in the small stories which lead to how Peter Marshall became a household name in the 1930-40s.

Being a pastor (or pastor's wife), as you can imagine, can lead one to become involved with people and the community. In turn, it leads one to become involved in a lot of "interesting" situations that one might not have considered doing before. Catherine divulges some funny stories, a few secrets, and the demands of the Marshalls and their life led by Christ.

When Scottish-born Peter Marshall desperately wanted to follow his calling to "the Chief" (one of his names reserved for the Lord), a friend led him to try ministering in America. There's a lot of (really good) stuff that happened before and during this move, but after coming to the U.S. in 1927, he eventually finds his place in life. And yes, it is in ministering about the grace of God.

It seems that what set Peter apart from other ministers of his time is how he wrote his sermons. He talked to the community in a common way. He didn't talk in technical theological terms; he didn't speak over the knowledge of the common people. And what happened? Thousands flocked to him; they couldn't get enough.

"Whereas most people write a sermon to develop an idea, Peter wrote his sermons to paint a picture and to arouse our emotions."

He believed in "a God that knows folks' names."

What I liked? Catherine simply adores her husband, and although she sometimes found his habits a bit comical (and they were), she lovingly supported all he chose to do. Frequently she talks about how he is a Scotsman, through-and-through. He had a few peculiarities, but that probably only aided in his likability. As every chapter went by, I couldn't wait to learn something new about this down-to-earth pastor. Always, it seems, he kept his humbleness about him, even as he reached for the very heights.

Frankly, I'd say it's a charming biography.

I'm going to have to read this one again one day.

A Man Called Peter is available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover and audiobook format.

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  1. Tarissa, I didn't know there was a movie of this book! I have not read this one but have read other books by Catherine Marshall and really enjoyed them. She is a wonderful writer! Have you read Julie?

  2. @Peggy Ann, I haven't read Julie yet. I'll be sure to take you up on that one! (I'll keep my eyes peeled for it at book sales and thrift shops.) :)

  3. Catherine Marshall was one of my favorite authors when I was a teen. I even did a school report about her. I've read Christy and Julie but never read this. Sounds like Peter Marshall was quite an interesting person and an amazing minister.

    I just recently found out that my dad got to meet Peter and Catherine Marshall when he was a kid. My grandfather invited them over to his house when they visited Sri Lanka.

  4. @Christina T, thanks for stopping by! That's an amazing story about your dad meeting the Marshalls. Catherine Marshall has become an inspiration to me just since last year, and I've only read 2 of her books so far.