"AGAINST THE ODDS: The Life of George Albert Smith," by Mary Jane Woodger, Covenant Communications, $19.99, 245 pages (nf)
In writing the biography "Against the Odds: The Life of George Albert Smith," author Mary Jane Woodger's goal was not to write a history of his administration as the eighth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or provide a full chronological treatise of his life.
Rather, Woodger wanted to portray the prophet's private life within the framework of his public image so the reader might come away as endeared to President Smith as she is now.
"It is a homespun collection of the stories for which his life became known," Woodger wrote in the preface of the book. "It attempts to catch glimpses of his private life and, in so doing, make George Albert Smith a more personable figure."
Woodger used passages from Smith's journals and correspondence, as well as work from Francis M. Gibbons, secratery to the First Presidency and general authorities, for source material. The book also includes President Smith's life-long relationship with Lucy Emily Woodruff, a girl he met when he was 10 years old and later married.
"Readers will find that a large portion of this volume contains the reoccuring thread of love between Lucy Woodruff and George Albert Smith," she wrote.
Woodger's biggest challenge was deciding what to include and what to omit.
"I knew from the enormous amount of data I had collected that I could write several volumes about this man's life and still never full tell his story," Woodger said. "It is my hope that President Smith's well-known ability to love others will flow through these pages and into the hearts of readers."
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