Psychiana Man: A Mail-Order Prophet, His Followers, and the Power of Belief in Hard Times (Paperback)

Psychiana Man: A Mail-Order Prophet, His Followers, and the Power of Belief in Hard Times By Brandon R. Schrand Cover Image

Psychiana Man: A Mail-Order Prophet, His Followers, and the Power of Belief in Hard Times (Paperback)

$24.95


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(Western History)

Six weeks after the 1929 stock market crash, Frank Bruce Robinson created a self-help religion he called Psychiana. An ingenious mass-marketing pioneer, he sold a correspondence course promising health, wealth, and happiness to those who believed in the "God Power." In the midst of the Great Depression, his mail-order religion with a money-back guarantee swept the United States and spread to some sixty-seven countries--or so its founder claimed--to become one of the most successful twentieth century New Thought religions.

Facing charges of passport fraud in May 1936, an immaculately dressed Robinson arrived at the federal building in rural Moscow, Idaho. A person of considerable local and regional significance, he was Latah County's largest private employer. Throngs lined the streets and sidewalks waiting for him. He exited his sleek green Duesenberg, waved to the crowd, and smiled for pictures. His son later wrote that the charismatic leader possessed "an insatiable appetite for publicity." Central to the investigation was Robinson's true identity. He was not all he claimed to be, and his small-town trial captivated the country and made national headlines.

A full-length biography of Robinson combined with an in-depth historical examination of Psychiana, this book traces the improbable rise and fall of a master charlatan while also giving voice to his unwavering followers--from a dust bowl farmer to a former heavyweight boxing champion--who clung to their beliefs despite ongoing financial and emotional costs. Their stories reveal how adversity can galvanize faith in a false prophet, and paint an intriguing, intimate portrait of a nation challenged by a brutal depression and war.


Product Details ISBN: 9780874224047
ISBN-10: 0874224047
Publisher: Washington State University Press
Publication Date: March 30th, 2021
Pages: 414
Language: English