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Fighting the Noonday Devil - and Other Essays Personal and Theological Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

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 writer’s eye and a theologian’s heart to the essayist’s labors. Many rewards await the reader of this book.”
— Alan Jacobs
author of Wayfaring and The Narnian

“R. R. Reno’s 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.”
— Philip Zaleski
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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080286547X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802865472
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Reno engages the reader with a collection of essays that covers a range of topics and experiences. Particularly insightful is his exploration of Kerouac's "On The Road." Reno's book in many ways illuminates the themes presented in Giussani's "The Religious Sense." Put those two books together with Sayers' "Letters to a Diminished Church" and you'd have more than enough to keep a book group busy for a year.
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Great insights into the paralysis of faith which our educational system helps produce.
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