Susan Gray Blue at The Millions:
Kirban set the trend of framing the rapture in fiction, and his sensationalist bent got more Christians to hear the apocalyptic clock ticking. In the mid-’90s, this view of the apocalypse would be further popularized by the Left Behind novels. When many of the evangelicals who now follow Donald Trump look to the end of the world, what they’re picturing isn’t far from Kirban’s version. (Well, except maybe for the guillotines on church lawns.)
Salem Kirban himself remains something of a mysterious figure. In one photo of him from the ’70s, he’s posed at the front of a church he visited, wearing a red bow tie and a dark-blue suit, one hand resting on a Bible. He was born in 1925 and lived most of his life in Pennsylvania, graduating from Temple University. During WWII, he served in the Navy. Somewhere along the way, he developed an interest in two topics that he would eventually write dozens of books about: the apocalypse (How the World Will End: Guide to Survival; What in the World Will Happen Next?) and fresh juice (How Juices Restore Health Naturally; Fat Is Not Forever). In that photo of him at the church, he has bushy eyebrows and thick dark hair that’s brushed away from his face. For a man who wrote about sinister conspiracies, he looks surprisingly friendly. Kind of like a guy you might want to grab a juice with.