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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

C.S. Lewis and Mere Christianity - Paul McCusker

The Crisis that created a classic.  The crisis being WW II and the classic being Mere Christianity.
This is more than just a "book about a book."  It presents the real life background and context of the writings of C.S. Lewis, and Mere Christianity in particular, although this book is not mentioned until halfway through the book itself.  His influences, friends, and experiences all lead to him writing about certain subjects.  A lot of this book will appeal to history buffs, a personal account of WW I and WW II, how families and particularly those in England were effected.  You will learn the context of not only Mere Christianity, how it came to be written, but also books such as The Problem of Pain, and The Screwtape Letters.  There is a Bibliography of works by Lewis, Collected Letters, and The BBC and the world of Lewis for further reading.  Pictures in the middle of the book of the events and people remind us that he is speaking of actual events, and it brings the events to life.  The context, timing, and background in which he was writing is very important to understand.  Indeed, the experiences which Lewis had in his personal life, enabled him to write what he did, and reading about the context it makes more sense.
One feature of the book that is quite helpful is that when a term or person is mentioned, there is a short explanation in a shaded area of the word or person.  Example of luftwaffe or Eric Fenn from the BBC.  Many people were supportive of Lewis and his writing and the new media of radio talks. This was the beginnings of the published book we know know as Mere Christianity.
The author is a expert on Lewis, having scripted many of his works for the Focus on the Family Radio Theater.  He has also compiled the exhaustive notes for the Screwtape Letters: The Annotated Edition.
I would recommend this book for any serious student of history and/or of C S Lewis and how he came to write some of his most famous works.  I believe it is one of the most readable of the recent Biographies of him, and will hold the reader's interest.
Published by Focus on the Family.  I have been provided with a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

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