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A Thomas Merton Reader Paperback – August 13, 1974


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This edition brings us Thomas Merton is all his aspects: spiritual writer, poet, peacemaker, man among men, servant of God -- a one-volume synopsis of his quest for truth, drawn not only from his major works but from his lesser-known writings as well.

About the Author

Thomas Merton (1915-68), Trappist monk, author, and peace activist, came to international prominence at a young age with his classic autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. Over the rest of his life he wrote prolifically on a vast range of topics, including prayer, interior growth, social responsibility, violence, and war. Toward the end of his life he played a significant role in introducing Eastern religion to the West. He is today regarded as a spiritual master, a brilliant religious writer, and a man who embodied the quest for God and human solidarity in the modern world.

M. Scott Peck, M.D., is a nationally renowned author and lecturer on the relationship between religion and the science of psychology. One of his most recent books is Further Along the Road Less Traveled.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Image; Reissue edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385032927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385032926
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has millions of copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.

After a rambunctious youth and adolescence, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism and entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order.

The twenty-seven years he spent in Gethsemani brought about profound changes in his self-understanding. This ongoing conversion impelled him into the political arena, where he became, according to Daniel Berrigan, the conscience of the peace movement of the 1960's. Referring to race and peace as the two most urgent issues of our time, Merton was a strong supporter of the nonviolent civil rights movement, which he called "certainly the greatest example of Christian faith in action in the social history of the United States." For his social activism Merton endured severe criticism, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who assailed his political writings as unbecoming of a monk.

During his last years, he became deeply interested in Asian religions, particularly Zen Buddhism, and in promoting East-West dialogue. After several meetings with Merton during the American monk's trip to the Far East in 1968, the Dali Lama praised him as having a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, the victim of an accidental electrocution. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his entrance to Gethsemani.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By McGrath-Muniz on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Thomas Merton will always be one of my favorite seekers of Truth ( when I read the selections here I find myself not feeling so alone in my search)...here is a great slection of Merton, not meant to be comprehensive (Merton's output is too enormous for that)...here you discover Merton the poet, the monk, but overall, the writer...here are his passions for the Spanish poets, Eastern Philosphy, Russian Literature, to mention a few...this book has selections that start and end with his "Seven Storey Mountain" the autobiography which placed Merton into the literary limelight to begin with; however the selections in between even incorporate selections from the posthumous "Asian Journal"...would love to see a deluxe edition incoroporating selections from his now published private journals...
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
An interesting, well-organized anthology of Merton's total works. This collection demonstrates the value of having the author contribute to the production of an anthology. Merton's works encompass a dramatic range of theological and literary style, and this anthology deals fairly with each. From the Augustinian Seven Storey Mountain, to Thoureau-like literary reviews and journals, and even to some Harlem Renaissance-like poetry, this anthology has it all. Merton in all his brilliance... a must read, and a must-have addition to any modern theological library, Catholic or not.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By The Dog Who Ate Your Face on October 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Thomas Merton was a master of self-relflection style writing and this reader captures that nuance of Merton's being so well that the book reads almost like a diary. It is laid out to follow Merton's life, pulling from the majority of his published works. It's fascinating to watch his more superstitious and youthful ideas about Catholicism slowly turn into a more practical mature discipline. It's also interesting from the viewpoint of a writer, something Merton explicily was whether he liked it or not. Some of the writing is fantastic, magical, while some is dry and self-involved - just as any writer can and will be. Very inspiring. I took this book with me on a retreat to Gethsemani and it made the perfect companion. Well-worth owning even if you have most of Merton's books already.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book does provide some of the best writings of Thomas Merton. The editors of the book have given the reader the ability to see the mind of Thomas Merton through a long period of his life. The editors did not only take from Merton's more famous books but they also printed some previously unavailable writings by Merton. My only problem with this book was the limited selection of works concerning Merton's interest in Zen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Smith VINE VOICE on September 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be an excellent I ntroduction to the thinking and experiences as well as sampling of writings of thomas merton. It was refreshing to read of a contemporary christian mystic whose writings were so easy to follow. He tends to think a bit outside the box. While many readers might find themselves challenged by his writings and ideas, he is not at all confrontive. It is a refreshing read! I give this a solid "A" and I highly recommend it to any practitioner or scholar with an interest in mysticism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Mcguigan on March 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
of the Christian, and Catholic, faith. While some view is dabbling in Oriental Mysticism to be heretical (a word often used against our Lord), I believe Thomas Merton to be looking for Christ in everyone he meets - not dissimilar to The Lorica of St Patrick. He talks deeply of his faith, God and the troubles of this Modern World of materialism, inequalities and war. And though many a Christian forgets these central tenets of Jesus' teachings, Merton rams them home most elequently. If you have never read him, this is your book. I couldn't put it down. It will assist you on your walk if you are a Christian, and will inspire your love of God if you are of any faith at all - Christian or otherwise.
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