The Salvation Army is today one of the world's best-known and best-regarded religious and charitable movements. In this deeply researched study, Norman Murdoch offers some surprising new insights into the denomination's origins and its growth into an international organization. Murdoch follows the lives and work of the Army's founders, William and Catherine Booth, from their beginnings as Wesleyan evangelists in the 1850s to their inauguration of a Utopian social plan in 1890. In particular, Murdoch identifies quick accommodation to failure as a persistent theme in the Army's early history. When the Booth's East End mission faltered in the mid-1870s, Booth took his preaching to the provincial towns. The failure of that ministry led him in 1878 to reorganize his efforts along then-popular military lines, and the Salvation Army was born. With women as its ""shock troops,"" this Christian imperium would spread beyond Britain's boundaries to become as international in scope as Victoria's empire. Challenging various notions popularized in the denomination's official histories, this book will be of special interest to historians of nineteenth-century social reform, scholars of evangelical Protestantism, and readers interested in the relationship between class and religion in the Anglo-American world. ""A new treatment of the Salvation Army, [Murdoch's] excellent history captures the tension between 'revivalistic freedom and denominational discipline.' The book offers a serious critical analysis of the successes and failures of the order and its founders, the Booths."" --Bill J. Leonard, Samford University Norman H. Murdoch is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cincinnati.