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MKB "MKB" (London)

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The Seven Storey Mountain (SPCK Classic)
The Seven Storey Mountain (SPCK Classic)
by Thomas Merton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever, 27 July 2011
I have to say that, at this stage of my life, aged 65, this is the best book I have ever read, in the sense that it is entertaining, literary, breathtakingly impressive. It is the story of a man's life from babyhood to early manhood; a man with a huge cultural background who turned, not without a fight, to God and settled with him finally as a Trappist Monk. J D Salinger meets Augustine of Hippo.

Before reading this book, I would have said 'Portrait of a Lady' was my favorite, as the characters stay with you forever. But now I am buying copies of 'Seven Storey Mountain' for anyone who will accept it. I also would like to recommend to anyone who cares about the effect of the Reformation in England, 'Characters of the Reformation' by Hilaire Belloc. It is a series of short chapters on some 27 major players at the time of the Reformation in England and Europe. (Doesn't sound very good - but he writes with a rousing voice, confident, cultured and Catholic!)

God bless you all!

Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare
Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare
by Clare Asquith
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am so grateful for this book, 10 Oct. 2008
I am astonished that, having read and watched Shakespeare's plays most of my life (I am 62) and having attended Catholic schools, there has never before been a hint that his plays included a counter-reformation political sub-plot. Having read Clare Asquith's book I feel strongly that the teaching of Shakespeare will now need to include some understanding of his plea that members of the Catholic Church be allowed to practice their faith.

The Reformation was an extraordinary period of English history. I am immensely grateful to Clare Asquith for her fascinating book which adds a powerful dimension to my understanding of it. I have heard before of Shakespeare's lack of love for Ann Hathaway, the likelihood of his homosexuality, neither of which were convincing to me. And I have heard that his father was a catholic but that it seemed unlikely that he was.

I know that the job of an academic is to reappraise works of art and find new meanings within them. But I feel that Clare Asquith is not typical. Her inspection of Shakespeare is not flippant but rather it is passionate, deeply interesting and cannot be ignored.

Shakespeare is known and revered throughout the world. What a gift he has given to us today, now that Reformation history is being retold with honesty, that living within a police state he too played his part among the intellectuals of his time, in pleading for understanding from Elizabeth I and James I.

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