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on 27 October 2014
A timeless classic and I am sure many have said similar and for very good reasons which are apparent to anyone who wants to learn more about the faith of this Saint. The writing and translation in this Penguin edition is far superior in my opinion to the the OUP edition. Compare the passages and I think most, but not all, will agree.

Saint Augustine, observes: "They look for happiness, not in you, but in what you have created." This is the autobiography of a proud and intelligent man of rhetoric, a philosopher, a gnostic, and a sinner who spent well over ten years considering the pros and cons of Christianity. Yet many have deliberated longer including myself.

Nevertheless, events finally reach a climax when Augustine hears about the conversion of two younger men who give their lives to Christ within hours of knowing more about the Christian faith. In light of this Augustine goes into the garden and throws himself in misery at the feet of a merciful God.
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on 9 October 2017
This is one of those books you do not read for fun, as it is not an easy read - in my case I was reading it as research for a story I am writing - hence giving a star classification is fraught with difficulty. As "a bit of holiday reading" I would have possibly given it two stars or a DNF! Whereas, as a book giving insight into the modern Christian Church it certainly deserves five stars. It all depends on why you are reading it.

And whether or not you consider Augustine a saint also depends on your idea of a saint, because, with reference to the old homily "actions speak louder than words", the more I got involved with this book the more I found it the pathetic ramblings of a selfish (“the plan was to arrange this life of leisure”, “because there were other reasons too why I found it irksome to be forced to adapt myself to living with a wife”), privileged, rich, mother's boy (“for her life and mine had been as one”) who even at the time of writing (at age 40+) only saw his sin as that which blinded him to God and not as how he had treated others, particularly the women in his life who he seemed to regard as little more than chattels, to be picked up, used and discarded as suited his current sexual or intellectual desires. Indeed, his attitude towards sex certainly was strange (“the sins of the flesh which defiled my soul”, “plunged me in the whirlpool of sin,” “I was born in sin and guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me” - though this last gem was selected by him from Psalms (51:5)) And his poor son was presented as the embodiment of his sin! How is that for patriarchal love? No, in my view, he did not come across as a very saintly or pleasant person and, given his influence on the Christian Church, possibly explains some of the not so pleasant aspects of it.

His view of the world was blatantly creationist, which is possibly understandable given when the book was written (4th century), and his constant carping on about all that God had given him without presenting a shred of evidence to back it up, and obsequious page after page witterings about how wonderful and blessed God is, do get a bit tiring. Maybe I should also forgive him for his simplistic philosophical views, all of which presuppose that one believes hook, line and sinker in his view of God, and don't stand up to much scrutiny if one does not. And his thoughts on creation and time, given in the later chapters, are intriguing from a fictional standpoint, but more than a touch illogical.

On the other hand he presented some insightful analysis on the human condition, insight into his and others motives for their actions (“Could I enjoy doing wrong for no other reason than that it was wrong?”) and his observations of these are as relevant today as they were when he made them. So definitely worth reading for these.

So do I recommend this book? As said at the start, it depends on why you want to read it. From my point of view the book gave me some interesting material and quotations for my upcoming fictional piece, some of which I hope might have met with St Augustine of Hippo's approval! (less)
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on 22 May 2017
This astonishingly modern book addresses many of the questions you wanted to ask about Christianity like why does the Bible say the world was made in 7 days when modern science (yes in AD 350....) points to other explanations (no need for Richard Dawkins - read this). Or why we lust after status and money even though we know it wont make us happy. An extraordinary piece of human analysis that you won't be able to put down. Should be in the self help section.....
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on 20 June 2013
This book, in my opinion, cannot but be given all the five stars. In fact, it should not be given any voting at all and before I have all the wisest minds in Christendom since the time Augustine wrote the Confessions, after my blood, I should like to explain that this book is above much that has been written that concerns God and man, after the Bible of course. It is a beautiful prayer to the Almighty written by a brilliant passionate man after he realises that without God, man is empty. Every person of every creed could do worse than read it, and although Augustine is a jewel of the Catholic Church, his sentiments belong to every conscience. It speaks to us and encourages us to be what we were created to be - like God. Otherwise, as Augustine says, "if we rest on our own support it is infirmity." This is quoted from page 71 which I think is the most beautiful of all passages.
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on 30 December 2016
The typeset and paginations in this version of the book are just awful. The typeset is heavy on the eye to the point of giving the reader headache (in my case, very much so). The line and page spacing are variable. It is evident the book has been carelessly put together. DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION.
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on 27 December 2017
This review is specifically for this format, not the content of the book. This is a print on demand version that is about A4 size in format, a fact not made at all clear in the product description. As such, it is extremely unpleasant to read. There is no indication that this is the Chadwick translation. It may well be, but the English is far from 'modern', for example making extensive use of archaic pronouns.
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on 15 January 2015
The content of the book and the heart of the author is very good and motivating. However, it is a bit of a struggle to read and understand the old English. At times, I soon get accustom and enjoy it, and other times, I find it difficult to concentrate and find out exactly what the author is saying. But I don't regret buying it and it is helping me spiritually. 20% read, 80 to go.
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on 14 June 2017
So contemporary! Yes, much enjoyed.
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on 6 August 2015
A beautifully written painfully honest account of Saint Augustine's life, full of tender reflection and philosophical enquiry. Perhaps one of the first ever autobiographies ever written. A fascinating insight into Roman culture & the Christian church as it existed back then.
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on 2 June 2013
I read this book and am only halfway through. What honesty and sincerity. It is so relevant for today for us surrounded by material possessions, loss faith and adherence to money. Everything that is non spiritual has taken over our lives despite we feel taht there is something missing in our lives. This personal honest prayer brings it all together.
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