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C. S. Lewis: A Biography [Hardcover]

Roger Lancelyn Green , Walter Hooper
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 May 2002

This is the true story of C.S. Lewis – one of the greatest writers of the 20th-century – whose books for children and adults have become much loved classics.

Part of the story of C.S. Lewis has been made famous through the film ‘Shadowlands’. Here this fascinating man’s entire life story is told by those who knew him personally.

C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898 and was sent to England for a public school education with his elder brother, Warren. Lewis exhibited a genius for imagination and perception from his earliest years. Brought up in a Christian household, Lewis lost his faith in his teenage years but was to regain it, with reluctance, as a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. His faith subsequently influenced his writings. He became a vigorous champion of the Christian faith through classics such as ‘Mere Christianity’ and through his BBC broadcasts.

His ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ became children’s classics and he was deluged with correspondence from his young readers.

In his latter years he unexpectedly fell deeply in love with a divorced American, Joy Greshem, and married her, only to suffer the devastation of her death a few years later. C.S. Lewis died in 1963 at his home in Oxford.

During his lifetime C.S. Lewis suggested to his friend, Roger Lancelyn Green, who was a fellow English scholar, that he would undertake his biography one day. After Lewis’s death in 1963 Lancelyn Green and Walter Hooper were approached by several of Lewis’s friends to write the biography. Warren Lewis, brother to Jack, contributed a great deal to the writing. The authors had at their disposal a vast collection of letters and diaries, as well as the recollections of many surviving family members and friends.

Walter Hooper has enhanced the original text with additional material to provide a new, expanded edition which all C.S. Lewis fans will be keen to own.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition edition (20 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006281648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006281641
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,636,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Part of the story of C.S. Lewis has been made famous through the film ‘Shadowlands’. Here this fascinating man’s entire life-story is told by those who knew him personally.

C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898 and was sent to England for a public school education with his elder brother, Warren. Lewis exhibited a genius for imagination and perception from his earliest years. Brought up in a Christian household, Lewis lost his faith in his teenage years but was to regain it, with reluctance, as a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. His faith subsequently influenced his writings. He became a vigorous champion of the Christian faith through classics such as Mere Christianity and through his BBC broadcasts.

His Chronicles of Narnia became children’s classics and he was deluged with correspondence from his young readers.

In his latter years he unexpectedly fell deeply in love with a divorced American, Joy Greshem, and married her, only to suffer the devastation of her death a few years later. C.S. Lewis died in 1963 at his home in Oxford.

During his lifetime C.S. Lewis suggested to his friend, Roger Lancelyn Green, who was a fellow English scholar, that he would undertake his biography one day. After Lewis’s death in 1963 Lancelyn Green and Walter Hooper were approached by several of Lewis’s friends, to write the biography. Warren Lewis, brother to Jack, contributed a great deal to the writing. The authors had at their disposal a vast collection of letters and diaries, as well as the recollections of many surviving family members and friends.

Walter Hooper has enhanced the original text with additional material to provide a new, expanded edition which all C.S. Lewis fans will be keen to own.

About the Author

Roger Lancelyn Green attended Lewis’s lectures as an undergraduate and later, when Lancelyn Green had joined him as an English scholar, they became friends.
Walter Hooper met Lewis at the end of Lewis’ life, aiding him with his correspondence. He later became an acknowledged expert on Lewis’s writings.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining biography 3 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Although I think George Sayer's JACK the best of the C.S. Lewis biographies available, Green and Hooper's book is also good, with the added advantage that both men knew their subject personally. Their book complements Sayer's and is worth obtaining for Lewis fans. It is certainly better than Wilson's biography of Lewis, though without quite the achievement of Sayer's book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need and want from a biography... 31 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback
This biography has been read and re-read in my household. It is a thorough narrative of the life of C.S.Lewis, providing detail, humour, insight of the life of a great writer, theologian, academic and debater. You will enjoy the engrossing nature of the prose that draws you into the multiple facets of the life of C.S.Lewis, who is now known for the Chronicles of Narnia, but had many interests beyond children's literature. As the book brilliantly tells, he was a lover of medieval romantic literature and Old Norse, studied at Oxford and taught at Cambridge, and of course fed the spiritual lives of millions through his accessible books on theology and Christian living. I would recommend this biography by Walter Hooper as the first port of call for a budding inkling or curious browser - a reliable introduction to the life of C.S.Lewis and a doorway into the mind of a remarkable man, who was able to tackle demons, talking beavers and the nature of love in his broad library of works and still enjoy a pint with his friends (including J.R.R Tolkein) at an Oxford pub. A good read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars C S Lewis 13 Nov 2013
By Gordon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this biography, would say that it seemed fairly balanced and definitley enjoyable. Only complaint for me is Walter Hooper attacking Lewis grandfather Hamilton who was a Protestant Minister in Northern Ireland who hooper says used the pulpit to attack roman catholicsim, grow up hooper you cry baby. Also in A N Wilsons biography of Lewis which i would definitely reccommend, he says when hooper met the pope for the first time ever, hooper said when the pope came walking down the stairs to meet him, hooper realised that the pope was actually Aslan, thats heresy hooper. Aslan was a representation and type of Jesus. FACT.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive 13 May 2013
Format:Paperback
This is a very thorough and detailed biography of a man who is most widely known for his "Chronicles of Narnia" and his books of Christian apologetics and amateur theology but who was also a first class academic and writer of several significant works on English literature, a boon companion to numerous friends and acquaintances and no mean debater.

The text includes extensive quotations from a variety of sources and is thoroughly referenced at the end of each chapter. A bonus is that, for every significant individual mentioned in the text, there is a biographical outline in the form of a footnote when that person is first mentioned.

My only quibble is that the book is almost entirely descriptive. I would have liked a little more analysis or evaluation, perhaps even criticism, of Lewis' ideas and actions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining biography 3 Mar 1998
By David Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although I think George Sayer's JACK the best of the C.S. Lewis biographies available, Green and Hooper's book is also good, with the added advantage that both men knew their subject personally. Their book complements Sayer's and is worth obtaining for Lewis fans. It is certainly better than Wilson's biography of Lewis, though without quite the achievement of Sayer's book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Lover's Delight 8 July 2004
By Dr. W. G. Covington, Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Book lovers are introduced to the subject in an enticing way as Lewis' boyhood environment is described in the opening section:
"The house was full of books--I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass--through all of these were the works of novelists, historians, essayists and biographers."
On researching their subject, the authors confess in the preface: "This colossal monument of paper contains many hundreds of letters from C. S. Lewis to his father, his brother, his close friend Arthur Greeves, and a few other family connections; it also includes dairies, sometimes kept with great minuteness, covering many years." So the challenge of condensing this data into book form was formidable. What adds to it is Lewis' quest for knowledge. He read widely and wrote prolifically. The result of this aim at telling the story of a masterful mind is successful, however. We know the essence of the man after having read this inspiring look at his life.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Yet Difficult 10 May 2002
By Andy Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book to be a very, and perhaps TOO, in-depth look at C.S. Lewis. Though he is probably my favorite author of all time, the book itself seemed to concentrate on little details that were unimportant in the scheme of things and it was at times hard to keep an interest in the book. I chose it for a report, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone below high school because of its difficulty level. If you are interested in taking a very detailed look at the life of a fascinating person, however, and you have the time, this book is probably worth your trouble.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but not the best 31 May 2006
By Brian G Hedges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a very good biography on C. S. Lewis by two men who knew him personally. They present an even-handed coverage of Lewis's life, weaving in discussion of Lewis's many writings. The biography is entertaining, even funny at times (how could a biography on Lewis not be humorous?!), but I'm afraid some of the humor is so British, that it will be lost on most American readers. A better biography, in my opinion, is Jack by George Sayer (who also knew Lewis). But this was probably the first important biography of Lewis to be written, and is very good in its own right. I'd recommend it for Lewis fans who want to read multiple biographies. But if you just want to read one, get George Sayer's.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the only biography that should be read 11 Oct 2008
By P. B. McCaffery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I do not lie when I say that this should be the only biography read on Lewis. The others are good, too; though perhaps "appropriate" might be a better word to describe them. This on the other hand is thorough, accurate, reliable. There is nothing better out there, I promise you.
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