Witness to Freedom by Thomas Merton
The Letters of Thomas Merton in Times of Crisis (The Thomas Merton Letters Series, 5)

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Synopsis

Witness to Freedom is the fifth and final volume in the extraordinary correspondence of “one of the most original and challenging minds of the mid-twentieth century” (John Tracy Ellis, The New York Times Book Review). Dramatic and revealing, these letters deal with periods of serious crisis in Thomas Merton’s life and vocation, giving readers, in his own words, the details and behind-the-scene facts of his personal struggles as well as his lifelong commitment to peace.

This remarkable collection includes the unpublished “Cold War Letters” (as well as a complete list of the series), with Merton’s original preface, which confirms their continuing relevance in the cause of peace. There are letters to ecologist Rachel Carson; artist and type designer Victor Hammer; Merton’s friend and agent Naomi Burton Stone; his teacher Mark Van Doren; the Canadian philosopher Leslie Dewart; the French Arabic scholar Louis Massignon; and other famous as well as unknown correspondents. There is a courageous open letter to the American hierarchy on the issue of war. Witness to Freedom shows Merton as a living witness against war, perhaps one of the greatest of our century.

 

About Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton (1915-1968) entered the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, following his conversion to Catholicism and was ordained Father M. Louis in 1949. During the 1960s, he was increasingly drawn into a dialogue between Eastern and Western religions and domestic issues of war and racism. In 1968, the Dalai Lama praised Merton for having a more profound knowledge of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. Thomas Merton is the author of the beloved classic The Seven Storey Mountain. Scholar and poet, Bonnie Thurston is a founding member and past president of the International Thomas Merton Society. She is an ordained minister of the Christian Church.
 
Published November 10, 1995 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 370 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Occasional forays into religious themes reveal him to be a poor prognosticator as well, as when he misreads Vatican II as a ``tightening of the screws.'' More intriguing are letters concerning a meeting in 1956 between Merton and psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg, who, in the words of editor Shannon...

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Publishers Weekly

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Trappist monk, novelist, poet and social critic, Merton (1915-1968) oscillates between engagement and solitude, hope and despair, in these impassioned, searching letters.

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