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John Henry Newman is a figure that is frequently referenced, but I have not read anything by or about him directly. The recent biography by Ian Kerr is a more comprehensive biography, but it also does not have either a kindle or audiobook edition and it is much longer and much more expensive. So I picked up this short introduction.
Roderick Strange is a Catholic priest that and inserts himself and his thoughts into the biography frequently. Mostly that is helpful and Strange’s interjections gives some historical import to how Newman is perceived today.
Mostly what I was interested in was enough background on Newman to be able to read two of his books that were recommended in Eugene Peterson’s Take and Read (Grammar of Ascent and Apologia Pro Vita Sua). I think this was helpful for that. In addition to the brief biography, Strange spent about half of the book talking about Newman’s ideas, which is helpful.
The book was not constructed as a full biography but a short introduction. And it was based on different lectures that Strange gave previously. So there are several places where there was unnecessary repetition. And the overall structure could have been more cohesive. But in spite of the weaknesses it was a decent introduction.
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I love the book. Both the material and performance. I will recommend it to anyone.