The Life You Save May Be Your Own

  • by Paul Elie
  • Narrated by Lloyd James
  • 22 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the middle of the twentieth century, four American Catholics, working independently of one another, came to believe that the best way to explore the quandaries of religious faith was in writing. The four writers were Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Flannery O'Connor, and Walker Percy. Called the School of the Holy Ghost, for three decades they exchanged letters, ardently read each others' books, and grappled with what one of them called a "predicament shared in common".
Paul Elie tells these four writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past to the chaos of post-war American life. And it is a story about the ways we look to great books and writers to help us make sense of our experience, about the power of literature to change, and to save, our lives.

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What the Critics Say

"This thoroughly researched and well-sourced work deserves attention from students of history, literature, and religion, but it will be of special significance to Catholic readers interested in the expression of faith in the modern world." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

well worth the price and time

This book/audio follows the lives and thought of four Catholic literary figures from the 20th century: Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day. The perspective is clearly on the literary aspect of the lives of these well known Catholics. This is its strength and its weakness.

I found the work to be insightful and informative regarding the life stories of its protagonists, giving a helpful understanding of the contexts in which these persons lived and wrote. I was particularly taken by the portarits offered of O'Connor and Percy. Of course, these were to two persons of whom I had the least detailed knowledge.

The author's handling of Day and Merton left me somewhat frustrated. Perhaps this is because I have a better working knowledge of these two authors. The scheme of a life story with a literary focus worked well with the protagonists whose focus was literary. It didn't prove satisfying with those protagonists whose literary output was not the primary focus of their life's work.

These frustrations duly noted, my over all impression was that the tale told by the author was well worth the time spent listening. The audio quality of the spoken version is excellent and the narrator is quite good.
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- Richard D. Shewman

Great detail of information

Writer gives great insight into the lives and writings of these four Catholic writers. I liked the insight into their lives set in the context of historical events as well as the reference to their writings and their interaction with each other.
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- Terry Armstrong

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-25-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.