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The Screwtape Letters: With Screwtape Proposes a Toast Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 17, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; n edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780060652890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060652890
  • ASIN: 0060652896
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Who among us has never wondered if there might not really be a tempter sitting on our shoulders or dogging our steps? C.S. Lewis dispels all doubts. In The Screwtape Letters, one of his bestselling works, we are made privy to the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, tempting his "patient" away from God.

Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings. On the other hand, the goal of the Creator is to woo us unto himself or to transform us through his love from "tools into servants and servants into sons." It is the dichotomy between being consumed and subsumed completely into another's identity or being liberated to be utterly ourselves that Lewis explores with his razor-sharp insight and wit.

The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings. --Patricia Klein --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Why get a new Screwtape Letters? I love the feel and look of this annotated edition. …I love the addition of red ink inside this book for the notes. There are a couple of hundred helpful annotations that first-time and veteran readers will find intriguing.” (Read the Spirit)

“This book is sparkling yet truly reverent, in fact a perfect joy, and should become a classic.” (Guardian)

“Excellent, hard-hitting, challenging, provoking.” (Observer)

“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Apparently this Oxford don and Cambridge professor is going to be around for a long time; he calls himself a dinosaur but he seems to speak to people where they are.” (The Washington Post Book World)

“[The Screwtape Letters] show[s] his ability to dramatize: to set forth an attractive vision of the Christian life, proceeding by means of character and plot to narrate an engaging story, everything colorful, vibrant, and active.” (Christianity Today)

“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.” (Christianity Today)

More About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Customer Reviews

The Screwtape Letters was my first C.S. Lewis book.
D. Forsythe
I've read it 5 times, which for me is quite a lot since I usually get bored with a book the third or fourth time through.
E. Johnson
This and the book itself really makes you think on your own life.
Amber C. Blevins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

393 of 412 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary Thornton VINE VOICE on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'd recommend this be one of the first books you read as you start your spiritual journey. This is a profound book that will jolt you awake from your apathetic musings and stir you to the depths of your soul.
I was a Christian for 12+ years before I picked up this little volume and it was of inestimable worth for me, but I regretted not having read it much sooner.
It's one of those books (like E. L. Prentiss's "Stepping Heavenward") that feels like it was written JUST for you. "Screwtape Letters" has that same feel - that C. S. Lewis crawled into your consciousness and described every mental battle you've ever had - and explains that those subtle arguments which steered you away from spiritual growth, were cleverly disguised devilish whispers. As Lewis points out, the path to hell is a gentle slope.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to differentiate between God's thoughts and the lies of evil. "Screwtape Letters" pulls back the curtain and reveals evil's best kept secrets and oh-so subtle tricks.
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106 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on May 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was assigned reading when I was in 8th grade at a Catholic school. I remember I had no appreciation for it whatsoever at the time. I couldn't relate to the protagonist or his travails in wartime England. Perhaps one needs a little time in this world to appreciate the delicious simplicity of Lewis' allegory. Having read it recently I was struck by the wisdom, strength and genuine spiritualism this book exudes. One needn't, as commented upon elsewhere, be a believer to appreciate this work. Lewis never tries to foist any doctrinaire agenda upon the reader. Neither is he didactic. All that comes across (to this reader, at least) is a sense of hard-won wisdom. It offers some hints about how we might find a bit of peace and happiness on this earth if we are willing to think a little less selfishly and are able to set our powerful egos aside for awhile. I wish that those readers who wasted their money on The Celestine Prophecy and thought it provided wonderful spiritual insight would turn their attention Lewis' way. Here is the matter simply stated, without some wayward attempts at new-age jingoism.
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337 of 364 people found the following review helpful By Mark Blackburn on December 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Today I loaned a copy of "Screwtape" to a young woman - the receptionist where I work -- who just celebrated her 21st birthday. I HOPE she enjoys it, even as I wonder if a fifty year old book could strike a chord with her -- the way it did with me, when I was her age. She seemed eager enough to borrow a copy (I have two) just as soon as I described the book's delightful premise:

"Screwtape" I told her, "is letters from a senior devil to a junior devil - and it's the funniest thing C.S. Lewis ever wrote - Have you heard of C.S. Lewis?" I asked. "No? Well he authored `Narnia.' (Neither of us has seen the movie yet.)

I told her 'Screwtape' is funny because (like all good humor) it seems so TRUE. Or at least you want to BELIEVE it's real, as `Screwtape' the experienced devil coaches his nephew `Wormwood' in his first assigned task: to "secure the damnation" of his 'patient' -- a young man who has just become a Christian.

As with "Narnia," the story unfolds in wartime (WWII) England. That's a long time ago for someone 21 years old and "I'm really interested" I said "to find out if the 'dialogue' of this book still speaks to someone your age."

"Personally, I think it would make good movie" I said. "It has been made into a talking book - read, I think, by John Cleese - the funny guy who starred in the movie `A Fish Called Wanda" - I read somewhere he's recorded a version of `Screwtape.' "

----

So . . after loaning that copy of "Screwtape" today, I opened, at random, my OTHER copy -- it fell open to page 24 -- and I re-discovered why I've loved this book so much for so many years.
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This small book contains within its pages a powerful example of the authors' penetrating insight into human nature. Although aimed primarily at christians, it provides observations of the human condition useful to any student of moral psychology. These lessons are set in a series of fictional correspondances between Screwtape, a high ranking demon, and his young protege Wormwood, a young demon that has been sent out on his first assignment to ensnare a human. The seemingly gentle and fatherly advice to the young demon from his patron exposes the true designs of the masters of Hell, as well as the frailties of the human psyche that they seek to exploit in their attempts to gain a convert for their side. The demonic viewpoints are presented in an ironically sensitive and almost plaintive voice, expressing the motives and problems of the demons from their viewpoint. This wonderful literary mechanism adds power to this probing treatise on the common frailties and pitfalls of humans as they struggle in a morally ambiguous universe. Short, concise, and easily apprehended, this is a classic example of Mr. Lewis' great value as a christian apologist and an observer of human nature. Highly reccommended.
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