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I read this immediately after reading 'My Confession' by Tolstoy, because it picks up where that one left off. The great, if sometimes grumpy, man continues to chew away at the church like a dog with a bone - and for Tolstoy watchers, which I have become, this I think is his first dalliance with non-resistance. He'd tell Gandhi. And Gandhi would tell Martin Luther King.
I do love reading Tolstoy, and this is a really nice edition. There's a wonderful clarity in his work, and in his rage, he exposes so much nonsense. Being the writer he is, he can't help but entertain, and is a true visionary. But is he realistic? In my experience, it's true what they say: people campaign in poetry - but govern in prose.
But I recommend this prophet; great power in his pen.
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First, the book has quite a few errors where the words typed are not what was intended, which leaves (unfortunately) to some guess work at times. These are scarce and far between, but still annoying. The material is absolutely a must read to everyone. Tolstoy set himself in a mission to find truth, the answer to the one question which haunted him: "who am I and why am I here?". This book will scare all those which are close minded, either religious or non religious alike, but will enlighten those with an open mind and a thirst for truth. I will not say whether his beliefs are the truth, but in this book, his well researched work shines a bright light on our (mostly) lost condition, not as Christians or followers of other religions, but as human beings. Tolstoy found in the TEACHINGS of Jesus, the instruction to a perfect life, full of meaning and purpose, and found in the process that such teaching was (and continues to be) hidden by the ones who claim to be the holders of it. The beginning is quite long and personally, I would prefer he would make his point after the explanations which we find in subsequent chapters. The first chapters will come across as overly repetitive and almost annoying, especially since Tolstoy's ultimate attempt was to convey the "love your neighbor" message but just spends too much time typing what seems to be the same thing said over and over again. His explanations and especially his research and exposition of scripture, are like a veil which is removed to uncover hidden truths, but which will, I doubt not, hated by both Christians and Atheists alike. And hence you know you are not a follower of Christ... because you hate, even the truth. So put on your Pharisee attire and stop pretending... unless you wish to become a real Christian and keep His commandments.
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