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It is almost sixteen years since the death of this great writer, broadcaster, actor, soldier-spy and latterly Christian apologist and his voice is greatly missed, particularly at this time with so many major and controversial issues dominating the news agenda. Because love him or loathe him, Muggeridge always had a unique, and often tangental, view to offer on the significant events of the day.
Without doubt, Chronicles was his greatest work and should be compulsory reading for anyone learning English literature, for it will be found a totally engrossing read, start to finish. Spanning the early part of the twentieth century, Muggeridge was a master in use of the English language and his love of writing comes out on every page, together with his wit and wisdom. The Malcolm Muggeridge Society is bringing more of his work back into print and I'd like to think that it will be read not by existing fans but by a new generation.
While I don't claim to have read everything in English, this is the best-written book I've ever read. I remember hoping not to pass on before I'd finished it. Five stars is not enough for this absolutely delightful book, or rather two books. It was originally published in two volumes, "The Green Stick" and "The Infernal Grove", both included here. This is the first edition to include the remnants of the barely-begun third volume, "The Right Eye" (the Chronicles were to have been a trilogy).
Thanks to the efforts of the Malcolm Muggeridge Society in London, here are all three (or two and a bit) books together. What's more, the introduction is by Ian Hunter, who penned his own riveting bio of MM, Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life, as well as assembling short bits and shreds from hither and yon in The Very Best of Malcolm Muggeridge.
To my view, the Chronicles are the very best of MM. Were he to have some place in the literature of the last century, this is the book that would assure it. Not that he would want a place. He considered himself a journalist, not a writer, or as he loved to quote St. Augustine, "a vendor of words". However, as Ian Hunter reveals, he was not simply an observer but a player on the scene of the most tumultuous century in history. As biographer Richard Ingrams has noted, he seemed to know everyone and be everywhere.
In a sense, there was a third book, called Conversion, which appeared instead of The Right Eye. It's the only book he wrote after becoming a Roman Catholic in 1982, and appeared with various subtitles. It's not, as one might think, about becoming an RC, although it does cover that.Read more ›
Malcolm Muggeridge, in his autobiography Chronicles of Wasted Time, makes the following observation about D.H. Lawrence: "He was one of those men, tragic and gifted, who work out in themselves the conflicts and dilemmas of their time; who are themselves our own fever and pain" (66). We are not sure, reading Muggeridge's ambiguous assessment of Lawrence, whether he means this as a compliment, a jibe, or both. One thing, however, is certain: it is a description that matches Muggeridge's own life with ironic clarity. This double-edged, almost backhanded compliment is a shining example of the wit and life of this compelling Christian prophet.
Malcolm Muggeridge was a British journalist who lived from 1903 to 1990. He was raised in a staunchly socialist home, moved with his wife to Soviet Russia in the 1930s in order to be part of the great new world that Stalin was supposedly spearheading, but left disaffected. He served in the British Intelligence services during World War II, later became editor of Punch magazine, and even later, in his mid-sixties, converted to Christianity. In Chronicles of Wasted Time Muggeridge works out in his own body the conflicts and dilemmas of his era, providing a personal snapshot of the 20th century's struggles with socialism, with government, with sex, and with media. To all these he preaches a message of prophetic denunciation. Each thing, after all, is a promise of heaven on earth, and Muggeridge's message is imbued with authority because he has tried and experienced first-hand the best that the 20th century had to offer in terms of answers to the ills of man. "The really terrible thing about life," he observes, "is not that our dreams are unrealised but that they come true" (50).Read more ›
The singularly preeminent post classic autobiography I have read. Malcolm Muggeridge is a endearing soul who's penetrating wit pierces to the heart, many of the convenient illusions that accompany life. The era in which he lived was for many predominated by the dream of collectivism and brotherhood, equality and deliverance from class struggles and from the ugliness of market capitalism. Malcolm's idealism, is slowly smothered and crushed by developments in history that reveal, given our natures ,the impossibility of this dream ever becoming a reality. Malcolm shifts his paradigm from without to within, where the true struggle has always resided, and as he always knew it did. The result of Malcolm's endeavor is worth knowing and I recommended you buy his book and find out for yourself.