83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2002
This book was assigned reading when I was in 8th grade at a Catholic school. I remember I had no appreciation for it whatsoever at the time. I couldn't relate to the protagonist or his travails in wartime England.
Perhaps one needs a little time in this world to appreciate the delicious simplicity of Lewis' allegory. Having read it recently I was struck by the wisdom, strength and genuine spiritualism this book exudes.
One needn't, as commented upon elsewhere, be a believer to appreciate this work. Lewis never tries to foist any doctrinaire agenda upon the reader. Neither is he didactic. All that comes across (to this reader, at least) is a sense of hard-won wisdom. It offers some hints about how we might find a bit of peace and happiness on this earth if we are willing to think a little less selfishly and are able to set our powerful egos aside for awhile.
I wish that those readers who wasted their money on The Celestine Prophecy and thought it provided wonderful spiritual insight would turn their attention Lewis' way. Here is the matter simply stated, without some wayward attempts at new-age jingoism.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2001
This amazing vision from C.S. Lewis is still extremely relevant to all today. Not only does it make you confront your own beliefs in a most natural way, but it is clever enough to do this behind a wonderful story. This book becomes more and more appropriate, and should be read by everybody. Read it!
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2005
C.S. Lewis has a gift for making complex concepts of God and man and making them understandable, this is an absolute must for anyone looking to expand their mind in the area of Christian life.
But it is also a really entertaining read for any person who doesn't object to engaging their mind just a little bit.
Read and enjoy.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2000
C S Lewis has always been a favourite author of mine, but I have a shyed away from THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS because of an idea of a childish book.
How wrong could I be! The book is a biography of my life written by Lewis. Don't under-estimate the power this book will have on your life, it will make you realise things that you are thinking and/or doing which are the works of you-know-who.
Read the book, and change your life forever!
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2003
Short chapters, deadly serious, hilarious and brilliantly orig-
inal. A classic in every sense of the word. The devil-teacher,
Screwtape, advises his nephew-pupil, Wormwood, how to gather and
hold onto his patients' souls. There are sly wry observations on
humans, so true and pithy. A topsy-turvy world. A devilish slant
on, for example, Robert Burns's advice to a young man. There are
digs at the churches and religion that are spot on. It is a mar-
vellous dissection of human nature, so incisive one would almost
squirm. Joss Ackland's rendition is super, all the emotions of a
caring, work-weary, sarcastic and despairing schoolteacher. Buy
"Screwtape" and enjoy it forever.
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
This is an imaginative tour de force, full of humour and goodness. For a book of informal moral psychology, teaching on human vice and virtue and their part in human well-being, the form is very original. We have before us a series of letters from one senior devil to his nephew, a tempter lower in the infernal lowerarchy, written with subtlety but with crystalline lucidity as well.
The subject of the book is not only morality in the sense of good and evil, but the 'moral' in the sense of the human person, its integrity and well-being. And because of this one does not need to read this work beside Lewis' 'Mere Christianity' (as believers really should), but can enjoy the fiction or allegory while at the same time revelling in wonderfully rendered insights into the human soul or mind.
This work not only teaches but it entertains, and it does both simultaneously without letting the one impinge on the other. It is Lewis' answer to Chesterfield's letters. A joy to read.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2004
No matter how many times I read this book I get a fresh insight into human spirituality. It's one of those slim little books that one can read in a flash, over and over. However, after the first reading I found that all subsequent readings had me dwelling over single paragraphs or even sentences, thinking of my own life as a "patient"! A must read for people of all creeds and none. A work of outstanding insight into the human spirit.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2006
Definitely one of the best of C. S. Lewis books I've come across, and the man has written a fair number of good books I think.
What stands out about this book is how it approaches the Christian life, and human experience in general, from the devil's perspective. The book is really a series of letters between a senior devil and a junior devil which lends insight into how the devil deceives man. As a Christian, I found the book both a challenge to be watchful and alert and also a reassurance of the Lord's ultimate power over Satan.
The book is an entertaining read as well, humorous in many part. A piece of literary genius and a great Christian devotional book. Highly recommended!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 1999
The Screwtape Letters place christianity, and religion in general, firmly in the context of the twentieth century. The evil versus good battle is fought by a bumbling fool who is conceited enough to think that he knows best, and human (if that is the right word) enough to believe that he is doing evreything possible, and doing it correctly, whilst the world conspires against him.
The book is, however, as much a philosophical novel as anything else, as Lewis seeks both to entertain and to reach a conclusion to one of man's greatest questions. Of course, we don't have to accept his conclusion if we don't want to - that is still philosophy's greatest virtue over science. This does not matter, however. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is fun to read and whether you are looking for spiritual enlightenment, or just a good book, you could do a lot worse than this.
Being fairly short, you'll finish it quite quickly, but this effect is amplified by the ease with which you begin to read the book, and the difficulty with which you put it down.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2007
CS Lewis, like the desert Fathers (portrayed by John Cassian in his Conferences and Institutes) has a keen insight into the psychological and spiritual forces operable in the human psyche. Listen to what Screwtape "writes" when advising his tempter nephew on how to deal with the newly converted christian:
"I have been writing on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational grounds for disappointment. Of course, if they do - if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge player or the man with the squeeky boots a miser and an extortioner - then your task is so much easier...At the present stage, you see, he has an idea of "Christians" in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely spiritual. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that other people in church wear modern clothes is a real - though of course an unconscious - difficulty to him".
And further on:
"what he says, even on his knees about his own sinfulness is all parrott talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit balance in the Enemy's ledger by allowing himself to be so coverted, and thinks that he is allowing great humility and condescension in going to church with these "smug" commonplace neighbours at all".
And Lewis's observation of human relationships:
"When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expression of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particularl lift of his mother's eyebrow which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it".
And his analysis of the dangers of a comfortable middle age:
"If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is "finding his place in it", while really it is finding its place in him"
And listen to screwtapes "advice" on "reality" versus "subjectivity"
"The general rule which we have now pretty well established among them is that in all experiences which make them happier or better, only the physical facts are "real" while the spiritual elements are "subjective"... Thus in birth the blood and pain are "real", the rejoicing a mere subjective point of view; in death, the terror and ugliness reveal what death "really means"
CS Lewis is witty, intelligent and, above all, a master of the human condition. One wishes that such a prophetic man would again grace the shores of England, the dowry of the Blessed Virgin Mary.