“A Match Made in Heaven”
From the author’s introduction, I knew that I held a different kind of biography of James Hudson Taylor than I had ever read before. J.C. Pollock, the first person to access Taylor’s writings since the official biographers (Taylor’s own son and daughter-in-law), comments that by reading Hudson’s own writings, Pollock began to recognize a completely different person than that portrayed by Howard and Geraldine Taylor in the 1100-page biography they wrote about their father. Pollock writes in his own introduction: “Unfortunately, in addition to expunging or at least severely censoring her father-in-law’s sense of humor, [Geraldine] suppressed one complete love affair and half of another, as well as incidents which to her generation may have seemed derogatory or too private. She was guided by advice…which runs against the spirit of modern biography: ‘If you begin too much letting the public in behind the scenes, you shake confidence'” (Pollock, 11). And so, from this short passage in his introduction, I was immediately hooked into Pollock’s “modern biography” of James Hudson Taylor–love affairs and all.
If you are looking for a proper and honest portrayal of the man deemed “the father of the faith missions movement,” one without all the superhero fluff that tends to creep into a book written by close relatives, then by all means get a hold of this book. It is relatively short, skipping over in one sentence whole events for which other biographies set aside entire chapters, but it delves into the very human, very needy heart of a man whose aspirations were bigger than many care to dream. Hudson Taylor was a man who learned from his mistakes and who eventually lay in full dependence on God, and this book is one that actually shares those mistakes and develops those times when his dependence was not so very full.