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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, beautifully-written, tough, and timeless.
It is difficult to praise this book sufficiently. Henry Fairlie's 1978 book has thankfully been reprinted by the University of Notre Dame Press for a new generation. Fairlie presents the Seven Deadly Sins--Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust--as they manifest themselves in contemporary Western (especially American) society and in individual lives...
Published on September 26, 1998 by James M. Strock (jamesmstrock@...

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16 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather Disappointing
Henry Fairlie is on the right track, but his effort is marred by his political ambiguity and, especially, by his inability (albeit not unwillingness) to believe in God. Moral law is based on religion, and religion is based on belief in God. Mr. Fairlie's refusal to fully accept this premise blunts the point he wishes to make: Our culture is crumbling under the...
Published on January 29, 2002


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, beautifully-written, tough, and timeless., September 26, 1998
This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Paperback)
It is difficult to praise this book sufficiently. Henry Fairlie's 1978 book has thankfully been reprinted by the University of Notre Dame Press for a new generation. Fairlie presents the Seven Deadly Sins--Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust--as they manifest themselves in contemporary Western (especially American) society and in individual lives. Whether or not one is religious in orientation (Fairlie characterized himself as a "reluctant unbeliever")this book offers a disciplined optimism in suggesting that "The understanding that we sin is a summons to life."
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pointed, tough, and, given the author's position, brave, May 29, 2000
This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Paperback)
Whatever happened to sin? as another book's title has it. Despite our best efforts to discard or "outgrow" the idea, sin remains a woven-in part of the human tapestry. We have not made ourselves into exceptions to human nature, and we are very like other people. Such is the thesis of the late British expatriate journalist Henry Fairlie, who also used to write for The New Republic. His style is very grave, like a less colorful G. K. Chesterton, or an even more disaffected Allan Bloom. He describes himself very aptly as "a reluctant unbeliever". Yet, while he cannot accept that we can in some way grieve the Supreme Being, he is sensitive enough to see the wreckage that sin visibly causes in our earthly lives. "Sin is the destruction of one's self as well as the destruction of one's relationships with others," he says. What makes this be sin rather than just some ordinary failing of character is that sin perverts something indefinably fundamental in us, from which all the rest of our humanity proceeds.
And so off he goes, incisively describing and deploring each of the traditional Seven Deadly Sins. His heartfelt, well-supported exposition should win understanding and respect from believers, and should give unbelievers pause. His politics sometimes trip up his argument. "Even our socialism is sinful..."--as if a political system based on breaking the Eighth and Tenth Commandments could ever be anything but sinful. But such missteps do not impede this pilgrim's progress
What does bring everything to a screeching halt is the final chapter, "The paths of love". Here his agnosticism brings him up short, and he is quite at sea trying to formulate a counter-balance to the awful fact of sin. One hopes that he eventually realized before he died that he didn't have to re-invent the wheel. An incredibly brave near-classic from a modern "pagan worthy".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Same lessons over and over, December 8, 2005
This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Paperback)
I read this book some years back and thought it was a good read, I am neither pro-religion or anti-religion, but as a social scientist and an armchair philosopher I can only say that Mr. Fairley has merely re-iterated the ages old question of vanity and materialism verses humility and spirituality. Whether it is Dante, Chauser, or Mr. Fairley, whether you are devoutly religious or irrefutably atheist, no matter what religion or culture, the issues addressed by all is simply a dissection of the dark side of human behaviour. It begs the question - Have we evolved in this area of our perception of ourselves? The real answer is, we evidently have not. You don't have to belong to one side or another to identify behaviour that is common to all human beings, good or bad. And its plain to anyone that in our extant society we are driven to accept rabid materialism as it is the fuel of the world economy and the key to our own prosperity. I agree with Mr. Fairley when he states " What we complain about today in the increased tempo of life is its harassment, and it is caused in part by the Avarice that is naturally in ourselves, but also the incitement to Avarice that our societies employ at every hour". I think that is a damn good observation. And what will we all collectively do about it? Nothing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One That Has Stuck in Mind After So Many Years, February 10, 2012
This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Paperback)
Odd that certain things stick with you, when so many do not. This was one of my seminary books from the late 1980s that really stuck with me. This is so much so, that I am digging around among so many books to find it again, and give it another read. It's been a long time since seminary and ordination, that it might re-inform me on some things.

Short background: I went to Gordon-Conwell Theol.Seminary--the seminary, not the college. It is a conservative-Christan institution--mostly Protestant. As such, I was not overly familiar with the 7 Deadly Sins, and considered the grouping fairly Roman Catholic (and thus, suspect, at best). Yet, I found it a very interesting look into those things we know of, but hate to see or admit--in ourselves or others.

Had I known Fairlie's background, I would likely have almost completely dismissed its contents--fair or not. Still, it is fair to say that all humanity has been given a sense of right and wrong, even if it does not look into such things very deeply, because it just might see its own face in the mirror.

Off-hand, lacking a copy, I cannot remember if this text compares the 7 Deadly Sins to opposing 7 Virtues. I would be especially interested to find or replace my copy, if it does.

Anyway, this book is a memorable one. So, people of "radical" thought, studiers of behavior, religious folk...any who recognize the existence of sin and fallen-ness (and even those who don't, but want to see what others have said about it)...you might want to pick this one up, to see a decent treatment of the matter.
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16 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather Disappointing, January 29, 2002
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This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Paperback)
Henry Fairlie is on the right track, but his effort is marred by his political ambiguity and, especially, by his inability (albeit not unwillingness) to believe in God. Moral law is based on religion, and religion is based on belief in God. Mr. Fairlie's refusal to fully accept this premise blunts the point he wishes to make: Our culture is crumbling under the onslaught of the Seven Deadly Sins in ascendancy (and the situation has deteriorated considerably and visibly since this book first appeared).
Leaving aside his mystifying choice of Vint Lawrence as an illustrator, the only time Mr. Fairlie fails miserably (indeed, it almost cost him a star) is in his pompous and almost incoherent chapter, "The Paths of Love," where he makes such risible statements as: [page 209] "In nothing has our science made us more free than in the fearlessness of its search for truth and its willingness to confront it." Oh, please.
The bottom line? Mr. Fairlie's effort is a worthy one, just not as successful as one would have wished.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Book condition not rated correctly, January 11, 2011
This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Paperback)
When I received the book the glue on the binding is falling apart and the book is split in half when you open it because it is in such poor condition and was not rated that way. I have to repair the binding myself so it wont fall apart in the middle of my class.
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The Seven Deadly Sins Today
The Seven Deadly Sins Today by Henry Fairlie (Paperback - October 31, 1979)
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