The Girl Who Invaded America

Book review

by Edie Jenkins –

The Girl Who Invaded America
The Odyssey of Eliza Shirley
By Ken Elliott

Sometimes we hear of heroes of the faith and they seem to be the stuff of myth and legend—not real people who experienced the same joys and struggles that we do. One such hero, Eliza Shirley, comes to life in this book by Ken Elliott of the Coventry Corps in the United Kingdom, the corps from which 15-year-old Eliza entered officership in the Army over 100 years ago.

Most Salvationists know that Eliza accompanied her parents, Amos and Annie, to Philadelphia and together they began Salvation Army meetings in an abandoned chair factory. This small and difficult beginning eventually became The Salvation Army in the United States that we know today. But how many know of Eliza’s personal struggles, her marriage to Captain Phillip Symmonds, her children and family life, the sorrow of her husband’s early death, and serving as a woman alone for many years?

Readers will be touched by Eliza’s purposeful life, inspired by the progress of the Army in the United States through many difficulties, and intrigued by glimpses of early Army leaders that appear throughout the book.

In his introduction, Elliott says, “I have tried to do justice to a dauntless woman who has captured my imagination and whom I believe is one of the most underrated of the early day Salvation Army heroines.” Readers will find that the author has succeeded in his effort to make Eliza Shirley real to a new generation of Salvationists.

The Girl Who Invaded America can be ordered from Resource Connection— or (800) 937-8896—for $9.95.

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