The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011 Paperback – 13 Oct 2011
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'Bragg's strengths as a novelist yield an account that is personal and imaginative, full of excitement and energy...I have never read an account of the Bible quite so compelling'. (David Crystal, The New Statesman)
What gives this book its particular power, beyond Bragg's own reputation as a broadcaster, novelist and one of our foremost public intellectuals, is that he separates the importance of the King James Bible from the role of Christianity itself. Bragg tells the history of the King James with the vigour and pace of a storyteller rather than the dry precision of an academic. (Independent)
I am inclined to accept his final word: that the KJB's impact "has been immeasurable and it is not over yet". (John Cornwell, Financial Times)
'Bragg takes a well known tale and tells it with easy eloquence'. (Scotland on Sunday)
'vivid and accessible'. (Scotsman)
'As popular history, this is great stuff'. (Scotsman)
Bragg is 'our most trusted intellectual interpreter'. (David Sexton, Evening Standard)
Bragg's tribute is of value because he has an aptitude for storytelling. He is breezily readable where other studies can feel dense and recondite. His turn of phrase is dramatic. Bragg's prose reverberates with scriptural certainty. Mostly this is an affectionate book. (Henry Hitchings, Observer)
'Naturally Bragg pays eloquent homage to the literary grandeur of the scriptures that shaped his own outlook. But this heartfelt and far-reaching tribute makes its special mark in tracing the links between the KJB and the revolutions in science, politics and society'. (Independent)
The two main strands of Bragg's career - intellectual mediator and bestselling popular novelist - are perfectly fused in THE BOOK OF BOOKS. It's an energetic work with enormous intellectual range that manages to turn the history of the King James Bible into a pacey adventure story. (Guardian)
It is difficult to see how this book could be bettered; Bragg's narrative is sweeping, his prose dramatic, his enthusiasm infectious. (Independent on Sunday)
'A real education about the King James Bible - Protestant, striving to be fair'. (The Tablet)
2011 was the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The King James Bible, argues Melvyn Bragg in his tribute, is a triumph of translation by committee, and he's not just talking about their turns of phrase. It has often been called the Book of Books both in itself and in what it stands for; and since its publication in 1611 it has been the best selling book in the world, and many believe has had the greatest impact on not only literature in general but in particular the Protestant faith.
Bragg asserts that its influence on social movements - particularly involving women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - and politics was profound. It was crucial to the growth of democracy and was integral to the abolition of slavery and it defined attitudes to modern science, education and sex.
For his thesis, Bragg's uses, as one example, Mary Wollstonecraft, who in the late 18th century scandalised polite society with her unconventional living arrangements and radical views, was fired not by the intellectual flames of the Enlightenment, with its belief in the supremacy of reason and rejection of the divine, but by her Christian faith. Moreover, as a lifelong churchgoer and the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women, she found her inspiration, Bragg suggests, in the King James Bible.
The Book of Books is aimed at the general reader, be he Christian, non-Christian, of some other religion, or none at all. It contains a feast of information and persuasive argument in support of Bragg's claim that it is the most influential book to be published in the past 400 years. Highly recommended.
However, this book is a revelation because whilst it concerns itself with the Bible, it also encompasses the origin of why it was published, the opposition to its publications (perversely, by the Religious Establishment, who did not want the 'comman man' (or woman) to be able to read, and form their own opinions, but wanted everyone to accept their dogmatic statements).
A most enjoyable read, not just for its religious contents, but for its socialogical study of medieval England, and Europe.
Let me quote you an example: "Above all, above anything, it could not only be argued about, this Book of Books, it could and did embolden argument against itself." (p 86)
Now I understand what he means, but I had to stop and interrogate the text, thus slowing the pace and affecting the flow.
I wonder what audience he had in mind when he wrote it.
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reading it I was smitten by the contents and just had to have my own copy as a
ignite the English Soul? Mr. Bragg thinks so, and he can be convincing.
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