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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1998
This dense, well-written and extraordinary book is an excellent introduction to the works of a great 20th century thinker. In this collection of essays, Percy manages to confront some difficult philosophical questions in an exciting and readable context. Percy was first a novelist, and his writing is seldom inaccesible. He deals in everything from religion to science, from literary theory to travel. His best writing relates to theories of language and the human being. Yet like some of the greatest X-Files episodes, Percy leaves many things unresolved, liminal, only suggested. Message in a Bottle is designed to stimulate the reader rather than fill them with useless information. I finished reading this book with the desire to read it again, and whenever I see it on the bookshelf I am comforted by the thought that there are people in the world who think for themselves, and who have the courage to print what they think.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 1998
A few of the essays in this collection make for somewhat dry reading (Percy even says so himself), but if wonder and enlightenment are your goals, then this is an extremely rewarding book. His insights on symbolic reasoning, the origins of mankind, Hellen Keller, Semioticism, and the incredible Delta Factor are invariably fresh and thought-provoking. Percy is really onto something here; he may have only scratched the surface, but what he has revealed has powerful implications for all of us.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2001
The precursor to the, in comparision, pithy 'Lost in the Cosmos,' Message in a Bottle is less accessible than his later, more famous, book. However, Message... provides all of the necessary academic rigor that 'Lost in the Cosmos' lacks (not that LC is not a great book, it is).
Percy claims that he is, in fact, not philosopher or scientist. Rather, he wishes to be thought of as mere novelist writing as he perceives scientists and philosophers. In fact, this is a sort of claim of superiority in the sense that Percy thinks he knows more about philosophers and scientists than they know about themselves (which may be true). Even so, Percy's methods are quite scientific and philosophic. Message in a Bottle deals with the most important question of all: What is Man? Percy contends, as any good Heideggerian would, that we are essentially castaways on an island. We aren't quite sure how we got here and we don't quite know what we're supposed to do now that we are here. But Percy is a Thomist, not an existentialist (although the two are connected). While Percy finds the greatest evidence for our essential 'lostness' in the altogether baffling phenomenon of language, Percy is nevertheless concerned with what we are to do about out anxiety about existence. Percy is interested in pursuing the Thomistic project; 'completing' reason with revelation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2008
In a see of charlatans, hucksters, half-truths and snake-oil salesmen, we find this island of wisdom. Percy, a psychiatrist turned novelist, was ever a scientist. He takes his aim at a very difficult scientific issue-the study of man. It is very hard for many to study himself, but percy believes the answer to understand man lies in the study og language. As Percy himself said, just because a primate can be taught sign-language words doesn't mean we are anywhere close to understanding human language. It is a shame this author isn't more well-known.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2012
if you search for isbn 0374513384 you will find an edition you can buy for a penny. Amazon has the penny edition hidden so it is hard to find.
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on April 19, 2015
Great!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2011
at times this book was incredible, at times i was bored. but i will say this. if you are studying signs and language this book MUST be read!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2010
I bought this as a gift and am pleased with its good condition. It had a bent front cover, but other than that, it seemed in excellent condition.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2013
once n a while reading can tke a book or if im dancin wit someydob not times 5 ... go yoplay
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7 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 1998
There are very few books that I have been unable to finish because of ennui, but this was one of them. I made it about 2/3 of the way through and had to call it quits. This book badly needs editing. Percy asks some engaging questions to begin the book, but it is all downhill from there.
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