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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Butler's Lives of the Saints: Concise Edition, Revised and Updated Paperback – July 5, 1991

3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Walsh is the author of The Triumph of the Meek and editor of Butler's Lives of the Patron Saints.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Revised ed. edition (July 5, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060692995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060692995
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,086,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book tells the stories of Saints in Catholic History. Although this book is not written for the young reader it is very interesting. The stories are told by the day of the year that the saint died. There is only one saint for each day and each day is represented. In the back of the book is a listing of Saints by name for cross reference. There was one thing that I did not like about the book: I would have liked to see the book have another cross reference whereby you could look up WHAT THE SAINT REPRESENTS ie. the patron saint of motherhood. I sometimes use Novena prayers and would have liked to use this book as a reference to find the name of the saint that I need. Otherwise I love the book. I have used it as a daily reading to give myself inspiration of these Saintly figures. Some of the stories represented are phenominal. You will find this a very interesting book well worth having. A must have for every Catholic bookshelf
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Format: Hardcover
Butler's Lives of the Saints: New Concise Ed., edited by Paul Burns, ISBN 0-8146-2903-2, Copyright 2003

Consider another book. Despite "Butler's" being in the title, it seems to bear no relation to the Butler's Lives of the Saints published in the 1950s and 1800s.

Defects:

1. There is no index or alphabetical list of saints. If you want to look up a saint by name, you have to scan the list of 366 saints in the table of contents, which is six pages long. An index would have provided quick access.

2. Saints are not listed under their actual commemoration day. Why? Because the saints did not "die on conveniently spaced dates" (page xi). Nothing in the description of the saint alerts you to the date being wrong. To determine the correct day, you have to closely read a paragraph at the beginning of the month.

3. The book does not bear an imprimatur from a bishop or "nihil obstat" showing that it's free from error. To illustrate why this is a problem, one-third of the entry for St. Maria Goretti is not about her; it's a critique of her sainthood and of the Church. Example: in "feminist circles ... Maria has been seen more as a martyr to patriarchal society" (p. 310).
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Format: Hardcover
The good news is that Butler's Lives continues to be a popular brand name over 100 years after its first edition; the bad news is that many of its revised editions aren't worth the paper they are printed on. Not so with this red cover "concise edition" from 1985 (ISBN-10: 0060692510.) It retains the verve, clarity, and style of the original four volumes in a single-volume format. If you are an Anglophile or have an interest in English Catholicism, this edition is especially attractive; editor Michael Walsh includes many saints from British history, and the book comes with a foreword by the late Cardinal Basil Hume. Its main drawback is the inclusion of only one saint per day. This means, for example, that on June 22's memorial of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher just one man -- Fisher -- is described. No book or format is perfect, however. So look for the red cover, and learn to love your faith from the saints.
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Format: Hardcover
I originally wrote a relatively favorable review for this book because it seemed to incorporate the best of the original Butler's Lives (a focus on meditating on the life of the saint) and the new calendar of saints (including many recent canonizations). While it does do the second, I am afraid to say that it is woefully inadequate regarding the first. In fact, it is probably just as bad as the Atwater/Thurston edition. For instance, here is part of the section from January 27th on St. Angela Merici: "Accounts of her [St. Angela Merici's] childhood make her pious, rebelling against the fashions of the age, devoted to the legend of St. Ursula, and the recipient of a vision showing a great company of virgins and other saints coming down from heaven to her. They included a dead sister, who invited her to form a great 'Company of Virgins,' which was what Angela had actually done by the time the account was written." In other words, the author wants to point out that the story "must" not be true because it wasn't written down until after the alleged vision had been fulfilled. Now, we are certainly not bound to believe all the accounts in the various lives of the saints, but I do not understand the point of drawing attention to the alleged falsity of a tale in the context of a meditative reading. If the work seeks to be encyclopedic, it is much too short and you should check on the 12-vol. counterpart, but for a daily meditation (which it seems reasonable to assume such a work is designed to be), such statements are misplaced. If the story is too absurd to be believed, just don't include it. As a result, it is disappointing because it would be useful to have a modern Butler's that can be used for a daily devotional or meditation. Instead, we are left with the old works that do not match the current calendar.
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Format: Hardcover
I just love this book. I bought McBrien's Lives of the Saints at the same time and this one is far superior in that it is scholarly without losing its spirituality. You get more than just a biographical sketch, you also get a sense of the spirit of each saint, including quotations. The quality of the paper, printing and binding is superior as well---this book will last for generations. I am now saving up for the 12-volume unabridged set!
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