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Comment: About a fourth of the pages have pen underlining throughout the book. Cover is slightly curling and has edge and corner wear. Otherwise, it's in decent condition.
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Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis Paperback – June 20, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"My object ... is to present the factual background to the motivation and character of a remarkable man."

About the Author

GEORGE SAYER (1914–2005) was head of the English department at Malvern College in Worcestershire until his retirement in 1974. While there, he and Lewis held long literary discussions on their frequent walks in the countryside. Sayer and Lewis maintained a long friendship. 

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (June 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581347391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581347395
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher B. Stratton on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in Lewis. It's from the viewpoint of one of his friends, who somewhat reluctantly agreed to write the book. It is a bit unfair to characterize Mr. Sayer as a sychophant that glosses over Lewis' more difficult attributes. He was a friend, and to that extent he deserves to be listened to, just as much, or more than, someone like A.N. Wilson who is clearly not a friend, and more than once misquotes Lewis to make a negative point in his biography. Check the letters. . .trust me.

Sayer includes/lets you into a part of Lewis' private world, as does Douglas Gresham in his wonderful book, and to me these are valuable things. Sure it is good to learn about the negative elements, and to bring your idols back down to earth, but it's equally as important to hear what is good about them, for this is why they are to be admired in the first place. To that extent, this is a great book, and perhaps the first you should read, if you intend to read books about Lewis. It's not perfect, but it doesn't have an agenda either, and when it comes to Lewis scholarship, that is a rare thing.

The most interesting part for me: the anecdote about Joy Davidman having a penchant for using the "F" word. I could do nothing but smile.. . . just like Lewis to marry such a salty woman.
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Format: Paperback
I am truly astounded at some of the less than 5-star reviews... have these reviewers read any OTHER biographies of Lewis? This one is definitely the best by far for many reasons, not the least of which is the personal touch that comes from Sayers twenty-nine year friendship with Lewis. It's one thing to know via secondary research that "with his meal Jack liked to drink a couple of glasses of red wine"... but Sayers clinked glasses with him! With Sayers, Lewis spoke frankly about his personal temptations, spiritual difficulties, creative processes, sundry preferences and worries.
This biography can be read with novel-like enthusiasm by even peripheral Lewisites... and those of us already up to our necks will not mind holding our breath as this book rolls over us. Rather than use this forum to berate another popular Lewis biography whose author has the initials A.N.W., I'll just say that this one is a clear note that rings true.
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Format: Paperback
As large as C. S. Lewis looms in today's intellectual landscape, and for all the different ways he manages to find a readership, whether as a literary critic, a Christian apologist, or fantasy novelist, it is somewhat surprising that we do not yet have a truly first rate biography. Until that volume comes along, this affectionate biography/memoir by Lewis's student/friend George Sayer is the best that we have.
The great problem in C. S. Lewis scholarship at the moment is that the bulk of the books dealing with his life tend to be overwhelmingly pious and respectful (the St. Jack bios) or intent on tearing holes in that portrait (A. N. Wilson). What we really need is a first rate biography that manages to capture the magic and appeal of Lewis's personality, explains his ongoing intellectual and imaginative appeal, and yet does not willfully overlook the man's flaws. Sayer captures the personality marvelously, gives some hints as to his intellectual appeal, but presents a fairly sanitized version of Lewis's life. No doubt this is out of respect and affection, but Lewis doesn't emerge as a warm flesh and blood human being. For instance, while alluding to his relationship with Mrs. Moore, Sayer assumes a position of agnosticism as to its nature. It is an important if disturbing chapter in Lewis's life, because it potentially reveals a great deal about his personality.
One thing that does emerge in Sayer's biography is the closed reserve that Lewis seems to have carried with him all his life. On the one hand, Lewis seems to have been a very accomodating, kind, and helpful soul, and yet, he is hard to get to know. One gets to know his thoughts, and yet never gets to know the man who thinks them.
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Format: Paperback
. . .to one of the top Christian writers of the 20th century.
George Sayer knew CS Lewis from 1934 until Lewis' death in 1963, first as a tutor, later as a friend, and finally as an extremely close friend.
While other biographies have been written by persons with axes to grind or by persons whose own connection to Lewis was minimal, Sayer writes from the perspective of a true insider.
While he minces no words -- the "difficult" aspects of Lewis' life are certainly explored in-depth, he treats the subject with respect and true affection.
Mr. Sayer is, himself, a career academic in the field of English, and thus is able to enlighten the casual reader about aspects about the "literary Lewis" which would otherwise not be recognized. I've been a Lewis fan for 25 years and yet was unaware of his significant contributions in the field of literary criticism. Also enjoyable was the discussion of Lewis' own tastes in reading as well as his major influences.
While the influence Charles Williams had on Lewis (especially in "That Hideous Strength") was addressed, I was disappointed that Tolkien's influence on Lewis was minimized. This was, I believe, an oversight.
All in all, though, I highly recommend this extremely readable volume.
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