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The Seven Storey Mountain [Paperback]

Thomas Merton
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 1999
The fervor of his progress to the Trappist monastery at Gethsemani is deeply moving. It is a difficult matter to write about, but I think there will be many who, however alien the experience may remain to them personally, will put the narrative down with wonder and respect. --New York Herald Tribune Books.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P; Anv edition (Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156010860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156010863
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,263,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A remarkable book, a classic of its kind, written in a vivid, rich and alert style which ranges from crisp vernacular to passionate eloquence, full of picturesque incident and passing at times into religious ecstasy.' --Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is regarded as one of the most influential religious writers of modern times. A Trappist monk, and peace and civil rights activist, his bestselling books include New Seeds of Contemplation and his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, which is also part of the SPCK Classics series. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic of spirituality 8 July 2001
'The Seven Story Mountain' (UK title 'Elected Silence') is a modern classic - an intimate biography of a man in search of God and finding Him in the great silence of a Trappist monastery. Born in France in 1912, Merton lives in American and grows increasingly disillusioned with contemporary society. The book chronicles his conversation to Catholicism and details his journey from atheism to a life amongst Cistercian monks in Kentucky. 'The Seven Storey Mountain' is a spiritual autobiography for anybody who cares about the quest for the soul's final harbour. It is a delight.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Thomas Merton writes with moving, often funny, searingly insightful eloquence of his own conversion to Christianity and then his journey to becoming a Cistercian monk. His story is fascinating, and his prose and intelligence sparkle -- this classic book is an excellent way of introducing deeper spiritual thinking into our own lives through the easy medium of autobiography.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
THE SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN is an honest book. The author does not seem to conceal much about his relationships with his friends, parents, grandparents and brother or his life as a monk. His spiritual climb from being totally immersed in the world as an academic to his entry into the Trappist monastery at Gethsemany is portrayed as a torturous struggle. As the book ends the reader gets the impression that many more such battles are still in store for Merton.
When setting out to read books by this author, I recommend beginning with THE SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN. It will leave you with a desire to read more about Merton's pilgrimage as reflected in his later works.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions in the Twentieth Century 13 Nov 2010
Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain is an exceptional book which tells the story of his Life, until just after he becomes a Trappist Monk.
It starts with him as a child, and Merton moves around the world (France, America, England, etc), before 'settling' in New York. Although the first third is interesting, I found that it was quite slow paced, but I still enjoyed it. However, when Merton becomes a Catholic, the book suddenly transforms, and some of his writings are incredible beautiful (two of the bits that come to mind are firstly when he is talking about Philosophy/Theology Students who read The Summa without really participating in Catholicism, and compares them to people sitting outside a Banquet whilst starving, and secondly when he first visits Gethsemane and writes about Christ's Sacrifice ["See His wounds, see His torn hands, see how the King of Glory is crowned with thorns! Do you know what Love is? Here is Love, Here on this Cross"]).
Merton's writing style is one that is both beautiful and accessible. Merton is also clearly very honest about what he felt and how he lived, and how unsatisfactory his life was.
In the title, I compared this to St Augustine's confessions, as I feel that they have many similarities (particularly the way that they show God's transformational power), although there is obviously a difference in the style of language that they use, the content is very similar, yet strikingly individually.
One of the most amazing things about it, is the way that Merton makes the Monastic Life seem so appealing without saying anything really, other than that it is the life for him, and that "I [Merton] want to give God everything.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Thomas Merton has a knack for describing in clear prose his spiritual journey from Atheism to Christ in a manner accessible to any reader. This book is not stuffy and churchified but fresh and full of insight into the condition of humanity in the twentieth century.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I'm finding in The Seven Storey Mountain 12 April 2009
This book is a romance - the story of how Thomas Merton and his monastic vocation got together. In it you will find many vivid details of Merton's life before he became a monk, and also a gripping description of the awakening in him not only of a spiritual life but a life ordered and nourished by religious rituals. He started making daily prayers on train journeys in New York State, before he even knew if an order would accept him.

But that was a long way down the line - much of the book tracks his journey through the Secular Wonderland which if we're not careful is so hypnotising, we'll be on that ride for life. Or maybe it isn't hypnotising at all and that's why this book is a best seller...
Merton is a good writer. If you long for something which will show you that there are more options in this world than there seem to be and that innocence is not only something lost in childhood and pined for but something precious which can be fought for and regained - read this book. It is a template and inspiration for how to write from a perspective which puts the inner life first. But that is a secular response - the book is also a strong call to get on with it, and live for God. Not that Merton is giving advice, but that his story is inspiring.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A person like us 9 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thomas Merton found the antidote to modern materialism and hedonism, and the hollowness and emptiness that accompanies its desperate pursuit. He tried to run away from his deepest instincts by immersing himself in a self-serving lifestyle - but he could never find the happiness that path promised. However, because he was essentially an open mind, eventually he discovered the source of true peace and joy.
You may not have anything in common with his cultural background, and you may not even particularly like him as a person - I didn't - but if you are a seeker for truth, you will identify with this man. He is no plaster saint. Neither are you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading
Great book
Published 10 days ago by Caroline Doran
5.0 out of 5 stars It was for the Wife
This is the work of a religious thinker & well worth a read even if religion is not your thing
Published 3 months ago by MR D J LACEY
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Journey
A wonderful read and humbly honest. This is an intelligent search for God resulting in a life of dedication, regardless of faults and failings. Very encouraging!
Published 8 months ago by Mrs.Maureen McIntosh
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seven Storey Mountain
Brilliant, just brilliant. If you are no longer sure what life is all about then read Thomas Merton's story and be inspired.
Published 9 months ago by yve
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book
What a great book! Merton is a highly articulate and intelligent man who expresses very well his love of God and the path that lead him to be a Trappist monk. Read more
Published 12 months ago by william grumitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Spiritual Journey
This is an extremely engaging story of a journey of a man struggling with life, moving towards the Catholic faith and eventually becoming a Trappist monk. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Don
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
An honest and interesting book from a great spiritual lperson with food for thought for most people. Very enjoyable indeed.
Published 19 months ago by J. Muller
3.0 out of 5 stars An ambivalent review
It seems almost heretical to criticise Thomas Merton; but I found this book quite hard going, and got annoyed at his lack of understanding or appreciation of Anglican spirituality... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Egomet
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air!!!
A wonderfully honest and inspiring autobiography leading from unconventional childhood to a powerful calling to a contemplative life that has inspired people from different... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Maria Hale
3.0 out of 5 stars book review
Started off enjoying the book but found that it dragged towards the end. I enjoy reading books about human experience so I have no regrets buying this book, however I would not buy... Read more
Published 20 months ago by andrea
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