In 1998, I first met Dr. Merlin Burt, and could see immediately that he had a contagious love for sharing our Adventist history. His passion for inspiring confidence in the Adventist movement shines through in this book.
In many ways, this book has been long awaited: the last edition of In the Footsteps of the Pioneers (White Estate, 1995) was very outdated and the directions were unreliable. Dr. Burt’s careful historical research has eliminated some sites that do not bear the scrutiny of historical research but, conversely, has also added some sites—the most important of which are the sites in Poland, Maine. Dr. Burt deserves accolades for his work in discovering new sites that were previously unknown.
I especially liked that he included the nonprofit Old Sturbridge Village as a site that every family or tour should visit. The village personifies life within antebellum America. As such, the historical context literally comes to life as you see what everyday life was like when Adventism was birthed.
A significant improvement centers on the inclusion of color photographs and GPS coordinates. Now, whenever the names of landmarks or roads change, it will be simple to follow the GPS coordinates to the site.
Whether you are on a family vacation to any of these sites or are organizing a formal church or school tour group, this book is a must have! And even if you are not able to visit New England but want to learn more about the setting of Adventist history, then this is an attractive book that I would recommend you add to your library. For pastors, I would especially encourage you to get creative: think of ways you can inspire confidence in our Adventist past through a heritage Sabbath or perhaps even a tour of a heritage site in whatever part of the world you are in to celebrate how God has led in our past.
Pastors should recognize the spiritual importance of celebrating our Adventist history as an important rhythm of pastoral ministry. The more I study and lead tours about our Adventist past, the more it makes me proud to be a Seventh-day Adventist. I believe this tour guidebook, and more important by visiting the sites made accessible through this well-written volume, has the potential to do the same for you too.
—Reviewed by Michael W. Campbell, PhD, pastor, Wichita Seventh-day Adventist Church, Wichita, Kansas, United States.