- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (April 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1417917652
- ISBN-13: 978-1417917655
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,571,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews
I've made do with "Wood Works", ed. Edwin Bingham and Tim Barnes, Oregon State University Press, ISBN 0870713973 which is an interesting overview of his work--but it only has four of his "Heavenly Discourse" pieces, and, a), that's not enough, and b), frankly, his other stuff doesn't really grab me. My Amazon reader review of "Wood Works" was entitled "Wish they would just reprint 'Heavenly Discourse.'" And now someone has!
"Heavenly Discourse" is written in the form of plays or discussions between such characters as God, Jesus, Mark Twain, Tom Paine, Robert Ingersoll, Billy Sunday, and Theodore Roosevelt. Politically radical, the essays ridicule militarism, prudery, and religious intolerance. Ten of them were originally written for and published in Max Eastman's radical magazine, _The Masses_, the first of them in 1914. (Following passage of the Espionage Act of 1917, _The Masses_ was suppressed by the U. S. government on the grounds that it was detrimental to the war effort).
I would have liked to have be able to give copies of _Heavenly Discourse_ to friends a couple of years ago. Here are two snippets. From them, you should be able to determine whether or not this is your kind of book.
From "A Pacifist enters Heaven-in bits:"
BATTERED SOUL: I'm a pacifist.
GOD: A what?
BATTERED SOUL: A pacifist. I believe in Jesus and peace.
GOD: So you are a Christian?
BATTERED SOUL: O, no. I really do believe in peace.Read more ›
My grandmother, a deeply religious woman introduced me to this work. It is difficult to find a book which satirizes religion without ever violating the bonds of reverence and good taste. I might even have said "impossible" had I not read "Heavenly Discourse". This book is quite religious, but it has little room for sanctimoniousness, and thus, it has as much to offer the deeply religious as the skeptical. And it is funny. Not at the expense of religion, not even at the expense of the religious, but only at the expense of foolishness.
An absolute delight! I recommend it highly!
Written by an early libertarian, Charles Erskine Scott Woods, "Heavenly Discourse" addresses issues from the early 1900s in a humorous manner by presenting them in a play format. The play takes place in heaven and the characters are both historical and religious figures. The author's honest and open questions of thoughts and mores of our society are well expressed by the variety of characters utilized.
C.E.S. Woods' background of soldier, lawyer and then author prepared him to have a broad and worldly view of the topics he addresses. His experiences of working with mankind at its best and worst provided him with vision that he shares in this text. One's attention is rapidly caught with the first line where Jesus is speaking with God as a son to a father and asks if he is a Jew.
Many memorable lines are spoken by the various characters with it summed in an immortal line spoken by God as he decrees "The stupid shall perish."
This is a book not unlike Mark Twain's "Letters from Earth" in its use of satire to question so much of the dogma me live by and often fail to take the time to question.
Very highly recommended.
The interesting thing about the book, besides the thought provoking conversations between God and man, is the background of the author, Charles Erskine Scott Wood, (C.E.S. Wood). He wrote from his experiences in dealing with U.S. federal government officials and their greed. lies, and wars. A graduate of West Point Academy, the mistreatment of Native Americans and the broken treaties caused him to resign from the Army and give up his military career. He moved to Portland,Oregon and became a lawyer, always championing the underdog. He started writing articles for an anrchrist magazine and defended freedom of speech, gay rights, women's rights,and the right of all free people to be left the hell alone by meddling bureaucrats long before it became politally correct.
WWI was billed by the government as "the war to end all wars". Mr. Wood lived long enough to see America enter WW2...he died in 1944. Nothing has changed, the federal goverment still lies to the people, still breaks their word, and still gets America into wars. I highly recommend Heavenly Discourse from an historical point of view as well as a entertaining read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An old favorite of mine, The copy I received was in very nice shape. A different take on a wide range of issues during the time the book was written.Published 1 month ago by Joe T.
I loved this book when I first met it back in 1963 as a library book: Witty, irreverent and humorous. It is a real gem but out of print. Read morePublished on September 19, 2014 by Amazon Customer
The book was in good condition. It took quite a while to receive it but it has been out of print for a long time. I was glad to find a resource.Published on March 29, 2014 by Lori Hamilton
I read this book whle in college in the early 50's. I thought it so good I loaned it to my religion professor and he wouldn't give it back. Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by Kindle Customer
Charles Erskine Scott Wood is the Grandfather of a very dear relative of ours.
Having such a wonderful edition of his work in such great condition means so much!