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C.S. Lewis In A Time Of War Hardcover – January 24, 2006

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C.S. Lewis In A Time Of War + C. S. Lewis at War: The Dramatic Story Behind Mere Christianity (Radio Theatre)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1St Edition edition (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060881399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060881399
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

C. S. Lewis is universally recognized as one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century. Despite his sophistication, Lewis was able to reach a vast popular audience during his lifetime and continues to attract thousands of new readers every year. But when during the most desperate years of World War II he was asked by the BBC’s Home Service to give radio addresses about Christianity, he was dismissed by critics as a layman who was unqualified to tackle such weighty issues. To the annoyance of some of his colleagues at Oxford Lewis proved to be enormously persuasive, and his talks were eventually published as Mere Christianity, which ranks as one of the great classics of religious literature.

BBC journalist Justin Phillips’s C. S. Lewis Goes to War is a fascinating look at a how these talks were created and the enthusiastic response they generated at a time when bombing in London caused many radio stations to be evacuated. This book reveals a previously untapped and rich vein of Lewis’s life and work that will intrigue his millions of fans.

About the Author

Justin Phillips was a radio journalist for the BBC for over twenty years. He worked in the World Service and was deputy editor of The World Tonight. He was an elder at his local church and a frequent speaker and preacher about Christianity, the media, and the relationship between the two. Phillips died in 2000, just before his fiftieth birthday, soon after submitting this finished manuscript. His oldest daughter, Laura Treneer, acted as his editor and brought the manuscript forward to publication.

Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
That help came from Professor C.S. Lewis.
B. D. Weimer
An enjoyable read, almost a page turner, if you have an interest in C.S. Lewis and Mere Christianity.
A fascinating view into Mr Lewis' character and work.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. D. Weimer on February 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In World War 2, Christianity and western civilization were under attack from pagan Nazi totalitarianism. Winston Churchill was battling valiantly, but he needed rhetorical reinforcement. Churchill needed someone who could rally the British people to defend Christianity, the religious soul of western civilization. That help came from Professor C.S. Lewis.

In his bold BBC radio broadcasts, Lewis used plain language to defend core Christian beliefs -- the beliefs that transcend individual denominations. His broadcasts stiffened the spine of the British people as German bombs rained down upon England. He reminded them that western civilization stands for wholesome principles of eternal value. And, decades after the defeat of the Nazis, Lewis' message continues to inspire through the pages of his classic, Mere Christianity.

The late Justin Phillips was the perfect author to explain this little-understood nexus between World War II and Mere Christianity. A BBC radio journalist for over 20 years and a devout Christian, Phillips understood both the medium and the message. We can be grateful to Phillips' daughter Laura Treneer, who edited his almost-finished manuscript for publication.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnson VINE VOICE on June 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you want a book that is just about C. S. Lewis this will disappoint, but if you are interested in a broader story of the history of the BBC and the path up to Lewis' Broadcast Talks (as well as a parallel journey by Dorothy Sayers) you will find this book enjoyable reading.

The first section of the book tells the story of the development of the BBC, the political structures it operated under and the development of religious programming. This section does an excellent job of drawing the situation into which Lewis is injected with his talks that eventually became Mere Christianity. The second section is the story of Lewis broadcast talks.

Perhaps most intriguing was viewing the process of developing the talks and the role of the BBC in "encouraging" Lewis to shape his talks to their needs. Just as importantly we see how he might change structure, but he had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish with the talks. In addition we see how the talks and religious programming in general were a part of the war effort. The book concludes with their divergent paths in the post war era.

It's intriguing to see how many times over the years Lewis turned down the BBC, rejecting both half-baked ideas and a few that look quite promising. Also it's interesting to note that due to the authors archive searches, there is no doubt that virtually none of this material survives in recorded form-a real tragedy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K.H. on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is as much about C.S. Lewis as it is about the BBC and its internal workings, politics with the government, and its effective, or sometimes, not so effective use of its medium.

The first 60 pages or so deal mostly with the BBC and the internal workings and government external forces in producing programs for the population. It is interesting in its relation to the war as well as its relation to religious programming. The censorship chapters are interesting, yet, not surprising and in the context of the situation at hand, over understood.

The archives and letters about C.S. Lewis and the interactions with producing his talks, changing items for the BBC and making the "Talks" and their effect is interesting from a realistic and pragmatic standpoint more than a theological one.

Phillips also touches on the work Dorthy Sayers and her BBC production of "The Man Born to be King." Her and Lewis' radio work left a lasting legacy, for good or ill (after all, most religious prod-casting isn't up to their level whether in theological discussions or plays).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hoosier Reader on February 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed in this book. I was expecting to read about what Lewis said in those historic broadcasts. And why. But the book is filled with the "how". Not even the "how" from Lewis' point of view, but the "how" of the BBC staff. The story is well written and the book flows well. It just wasn't about a subject I found very interesting, or I should say, it wasn't about the subject I wanted to read about - What Lewis said in those war time broadcasts. Why he said what he said and What impact the broadcast had. A little of the "how" would have been interesting too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Como on October 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a lifelong and devoted student of Lewis -- and one who has read, re-read, written about, and lectured on Mere Christianity -- I was startled and deeply gratified to learn that the master conceived his touchstone idea, composed the masterpiece that conveys it, and perfected his popular, lean, direct apologetic style under what can only be regarded as the tutelage of the BBC. The late Justin Phillips (who died before completing his book: the manuscript was edited and brought to publication by his daughter Laura Treneer) first provides a genuinely riveting war-time context as only a lifelong BBC-man could. He then captures, with ample narrative skill and astonishingly adroit quotations from correspondence, the "Beeb's" persistence and scalpel-like judgment, as well as CSL's reservations, vexations, achievement, and finally his overwhelming success. Along the way the reader gets a concrete feel for Lewis's travel, work-habits, friendships and homelife which, though not entirely new, are utterly fresh (for example, the contributions of Jill Freud . . . ) And as a bonus we are treated to a chapter on Dorothy L. Sayers and the BBC: The corporation was sorely overmatched! From now on, Richard Baxter + CSL = Mere Christianity must become Baxter + Lewis X the BBC = Mere Christianity and a good deal of the master's pellucid style.
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