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How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem Hardcover – April 14, 2015
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"Sometimes a book comes along that you want to press into the hands of everyone you know. A brilliant, searingly honest account of one man's path to real healing, and an invitation to the rest of us to join him."
—Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Miracles and Bonhoeffer
"In a word, marvelous."
—Robert Royal, First Things
"Now everyone can find in Dreher's book the wit, wisdom, and application of the great poem to your life."
—John Mark Reynolds, provost of Houston Baptist University and author of When Athens Met Jerusalem
"Dreher has assimilated what is most urgent in Dante and makes the Divine Comedy passionately real."
—Ronald B. Herzman, SUNY, Geneseo, and co-teacher of The Great Courses lectures on The Divine Comedy
"This book, quite unexpectedly, gave me hope about my own suffering and showed me a way forward, at the same time that it affirmed and deepened my love of literature. It can do that for you too. I hope that this book falls into your hands at exactly the right moment."
—Angelina Stanford, The Circe Institute
"Dreher deftly links his own spiritual quest and Dante's journey down to the depths of hellish sin, up the steep mountain of moral cleansing, and into the glorioius precicnts of paradise, of life with God."
—Ralph C. Wood, Christianity Today
"Not simply important, but very engaging . . . the book's beauty and evangelical sincerity are quite powerful, and likely to be of benefit to one's own spiritual life."
—Carl Eric Scott, National Review Online
About the Author
Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative and the author of Crunchy Cons and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Post, the Dallas Morning News, National Review, First Things, and the Wall Street Journal, and broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC Radio. He lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book compares Dreher's odyssey from suffering to healing to Dante's progress through Hell and Purgatory to Paradise. Each chapter takes up a different stage of the journey. You don't really need to read the Commedia to understand what Dreher is writing about. He provides all of the background and explanation. He sums up each chapter with a recommendation for reflection and action. He is supported on his journey by a true gem of a spouse, his Orthodox pastor, and his therapist.
The book ends with a good "Further Reading" section. He has certainly made me want to read Dante.
I docked the book one star because Dreher at a couple of points suggests that the wisdom he has found will work for non-Christians and even non-religious readers as well. I don't think this is correct: the book is permeated with a Christian outlook. For me, this is not a criticism, obviously. Readers uncomfortable with a high level of religiosity, however, will not enjoy the book as much as I did.
Mr Dreher read Dante while going through a very long, physically and mentally arduous period in his life. Dante's predicament of being 'lost in a dark wood' immediately resonated with him. Dante's journey was long and so was Mr Dreher's, and there in lies the the book's flaw, I thought. Much of Mr Dreher's own story as detailed in the book sounded true and realistic, but it is also very drawn out and repetitive, and makes for less than compelling reading. In the first part of the book, the narrative is interesting, but the the level of repetition is the second half wearing. I think the book is valuable and generously shares the author's struggles. Greater narrative control would have raised it to something exceptional.