“Thirty Years in Hell,” or, “From Darkness to Light”. Bernard FRESENBORG.

“Thirty Years in Hell,” or, “From Darkness to Light”

Published for the trade, [1903?]. First edition? Illustrated wrappers (5” x 7”), 246 pp., illustrations. Some wear to wrappers with small tear to crown; cheap paper browning with slivers missing from the top corner of the first few leaves; VG. 

An attack on the Catholic Church by the German-born ex-priest who refers to papal power at Rome as the “distant rumblings of an antiquated chariot of darkness.” Fresenborg warns that this “chariot of darkness” wants to invade America with its licentious priests, pagan rituals, and stultifying educational practices. He perpetuates the idea that Lincoln’s assassination was a plot concocted in Rome and carried out by the Catholic, John Wilkes Booth, and seeks to expose the “diabolical cunning of th[e] Romish doctrine.” 

But despite Fresenborg’s colorful denunciations, in an article headlined “Apostate Priest Retracts Errors” in the October 16, 1930 issue of “The Catholic Transcript,” his abjuration is described including the repudiation of the authorship of this book and the destruction of 350 copies he still owned. The publishing history of this title is somewhat unclear. Most sources cite the 1904 copyright date of the North American Book House as that of the first edition, although an OCLC entry for a 1960 reprint notes a cover title that says, “First printed for ‘the trade’ in 1903.” The title page of our copy states, “Published for the trade,” although no date is listed. Regardless, only four copies of this edition found in WorldCat making it uncommon. Item #06415

Price: $75.00

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