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The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist Paperback – September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fascinating as personal history, important as a document in twentieth-century American social history.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Dorothy Day wanted to be good, and not just do good. . . . a fascinating memoir.” (David Brooks in the New York Times)

From the Publisher

A compelling autobiographical testament to the spiritual pilgrimage of a woman who, in her own words, dedicated herself "to bring[ing] about the kind of society where it is easier to be good.''
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060617519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060617516
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Glutton for books on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The Long Loneliness," is one of the most enriching testimonies of an individual's search and discovery of faith that I have ever read, although I found the first 60 pages a bit slow (about her background and coming of age). I am very happy I persevered, because it only got better and more inspirational, as she began to perceive glimpses of God and tried to learn how best to follow Him.

Dorothy Day was a journalist who lived in the early 1900s and died in 1980. She was raised an agnostic. Her family did not practice a religion. Early in her life she attended churches with neighbors, and loved the feeling of communal worship, but felt discouraged by so many people who attended church only on Sunday and thought that was the end of their religious obligation to others.

An early memory that had a great impact on her was an earthquake during her childhood, in which the families who retained their houses opened their homes to those who had lost theirs, and the community banded together to help each other in brotherly love. She lived her life searching for this sense of community. During her college years she began an activist involved in political causes such as women's voting rights, and labor rights for women and children, and had sympathies with communist organizations, that, from her perspective, seemed to assist the needs of the poor more than any Christian church.

This is a conversion story, much similar to Thomas Merton's "Seven Story Mountain," but which inspired me much more than his good work. She felt an incredible need to worship God, so much that she believes that human beings have a deep psychological need to worship and when their devotion is misplaced on humans rather than the divine, it is a recipe for disaster.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Catholic faith fascinates people. How did her spiritual life develop, and how did it influence the remainder of her life? Many wonderful authors, including but not limited to people such as William Miller, Robert Coles, and most recently Paul Elie, have written extensively about Dorothy Day and help us understand this amazing and complex woman, but nothing is more rewarding than reading the writings of Day herself.
THE LONG LONELINESS is a classic spiritual tome and is often referred to as Day's spiritual autobiography. In many ways it is similar to Thomas Merton's SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN, and it is easily a close second in popularity with many Catholics. Though Day's writing style is much drier than Merton's writing and her story is not quite as spellbinding as the artist and aspiring writer turned monk, the reader can sense God working powerfully in Day's life. If the book were published today, it would probably be categorized as a memoir, rather than an autobiography since day does not as much tell her story as reflect on how God called her to a life of faith.
The book is a "must read" for anyone who loves and admires Dorothy Day. It is also a book that will interest people interested in religious social activism. Yet the book may speak most powerfully to those who are on a spiritual quest themselves, either knowingly or unknowingly.
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100 of 109 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Dayƒ­s life story is one that I hope will inspire and motivate many Christians -- many more than it already has. A full-on Bohemian in her twenties, she wrote for Socialist papers, joined strikes and picket lines, and spent her share of time in jail for protests. She was an activistƒ­s activist.
And then she met Jesus. Actually the Call of the Spirit had been upon her, or inside her, since early childhood, but it wasnƒ­t until the birth of her child that she finally acknowledged fully and became a member of the Catholic church.
I can easily identify with her problems and issues with the church -- it always seems to be on the side of the Established, the Rich and Powerful, caring not and giving not to the poor and needy, the oppressed and voiceless. Dorothy found, as too few of us have, that God heart cries out for the poor, Jesus identified himself with the oppressed and voiceless, and, as James said, true religion that God honors is looking after the widowed and the orphans in their distress.
And so, with the help, mentorship and inspiration of her friend Peter Maurin, Dorothy continued her activist ways, in the name of Christ. She started the Catholic Worker newspaper, which championed the causes of the poor and working-class. She and her friends started hospitality houses, taking in and feeding any who needed it.
Like Mother Teresaƒ­s, Dorothy Dayƒ­s story is really very simple -- she saw what there was to do, she took her Masterƒ­s words to heart, and she started doing it. Without advanced programs, grants, visioning sessions, without much of a plan at all really, she just started doing it. And she has changed the world in important ways, giving glory to God all along the way.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Between this book and loaves and fishes, I have never been so touched by a single person's writings. I have friends who are all over the spiritual/political spectrum, and I try to get them all to read this book. Day's humility and honesty make for a beautiful work that chronicles her life from childhood, to radicalism, and eventually to the Catholic Worker Community (which ends the long lonliness). Such a beautiful work from such a beautiful person. If you want to be challenged, please buy this book.
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