From Publishers Weekly
Reno, a professor of theological ethics at Creighton University and an editor of the Catholic journal First Things, offers a sundry collection of essays on topics ranging from climbing in the French Alps to Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on intellectual vocation. He follows the intellectual path trod by Richard John Neuhaus, a fellow Catholic convert (and founder of First Things), who preached fidelity to tradition once he found a tradition that suited. Indeed, Reno offers a defense of his own conversion, having once written an essay counseling fidelity to Anglicanism despite disagreements. Some readers will assent to his reasoning; others will find it either hypocritical or self-inflated. Yet Reno does write thoughtfully and well, a true son of Montaigne, the French father of the essay, despite Reno's reservations about Montaigne as a father of postmodern critical detachment. Reno's best essays plumb the hidden complexity behind the ostensibly simple and concrete: drinking with fellow oil workers in a bar, climbing in the French Alps in the dark. When Reno follows his own counsel against excessive theorizing, the result is satisfying, even touching. (Feb.)
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Whether defending Jack Kerouac, describing work on a drilling rig, or narrating his reception into the Roman Catholic Church, Rusty Reno brings a writers eye and a theologians heart to the essayists labors. Many rewards await the reader of this book.
author of Wayfaring and The Narnian
R. R. Renos essays are intellectually stimulating, and some even possess cinematic possibilities. I find their Augustinian ethos deeply appealing in their consistent combination of wisdom and eloquence.
David K. Naugle
author of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness
In this smart and sparkling collection R. R. Reno applies his consummate literary skills to subjects as diverse as acedia, mountain climbing, religious conversion, Jack Kerouac, and interfaith marriage, uniting them under a single glorious banner, that of reclaiming the essential function of culture, the cultivation of the soul. A bravura performance.
coauthor of Prayer: A History
Fighting the Noonday Devil is the work of a pious intellect in all the best senses of the term. . . . Reno reads his life in parables in a way that provokes us to see our own lives anew. In him we find a voice and style in the best tradition of Newman incisive, affecting, wise, inviting. I was captivated by this book.
James K. A. Smith
author of The Devil Reads Derrida and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts