Doomsday: The End Of the World—A View Through Time, by Russell Chandler (Servant, 329 pp.; $ 16. 99, hardcover). Reviewed by Mark Galli, the managing editor of CHRISTIAN HISTORY magazine.

Ever heard of the "yeller's sect"? When they read in the Bible that Christ will return with a shout, they interpret it to mean he will come back only if they shout loud enough. So they constantly scream out the Lord's name. Did you know that church father Hippolytus (A.D. 170-236) predicted the world would end in A.D. 500, and that he based his predictions on the dimensions of Noah's Ark? Were you aware that Hal Lindsey, of "The Late Great Planet Earth" fame, was, before his conversion, a Mississippi River tugboat captain?

These are some of the many, sometimes irrelevant but always entertaining, facts we are treated to in Russell Chandler's "Doomsday." It might better be titled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Prophecy and Didn't Even Know You Should Ask."

Chandler, former religion writer for the Los Angeles Times, has been keeping a file on end-of-the-world pronouncements for some time. His book looks both backward, at the history of prophecy and forward, to current prophecies of the world's end. Looking back, he covers, among other topics, American millennialism, William Miller (spiritual father to the Adventists), Jehovah's Witnesses, dispensationalists, and Nostradamus.

We learn, for example, how Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda, composed thousands of fake Nostradamus verses predicting a German victory in the Second World War and had the Luftwaffe drop them over Belgium and France in 1940. The British countered by dropping the original prophecies that foretold a German loss.

When Chandler turns forward, he examines ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.