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Customer Reviews for Tyndale House C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

Tyndale House C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of C.S. Lewis, and although his writings remain as influential as ever--Lewis himself remains--for many of his biggest fans-- somewhat of an enigma.

Lewis' legacy is as vast as it is varied. He was a towering intellectual figure with impeccable academic credentials and yet a popular novelist for both children and adults publishing both The Chronicles of Narnia and his Space Trilogy. Lewis was also an accomplished apologist and advocate of the Christian faith and completed numerous timeless classics such as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and The Four Loves along with a host of other books, stories, and insightful essays.

In C.S. Lewis: A Life, renowned historian and former Oxford professor Alister McGrath paints a definitive and comprehensive portrait of the life of C. S. Lewis. McGrath combines crisp prose with a highly informative but accessible narrative that highlights every corner of Lewis' often obscure world from his days as an introverted child spending endless hours reading and imagining to his ascension to fame as a British novelist. Lewis' complex relationships with his brother, father, Joy Davidman, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings are all examined in detail as is recently discovered personal correspondence. But McGrath also delves into Lewis' psyche and his faith, reexamines his conversion in light of new evidence, and brings the entire story together in a biography that N.T. Wright has called "A penetrating and illuminating study".

C.S. Lewis has, perhaps, influenced more Christians than any other modern writer. But there is so much more to the man than his writings. There is a remarkable story within the storyteller. Alister McGrath tells that story with precision, honesty, and humor.
Average Customer Rating:
3.9 out of 5
3.9
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9 out of 1090%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Review 1 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

In depth study of the life & works of C.S.Lewis

Date:August 28, 2013
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luvs to cook
Location:Virginia Beach, VA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Alister McGrath covered the life and works of C.S. Lewis in great detail, including his flaws and controversial points as well as his superb visionary works that defend the faith and point to the art of communicating ideas and truth to all generations. The books discusses where he grew up, how his father hurt him, what happened in 1917 that added to the hurt, where he went in 1919, who became his cornerstone, and who supported him but died alone in a nursing home. It told what gave him financial security, what caused him to move from atheism to Christianity, what happened when his brother Warnie moved to Oxford, whom he encouraged in his writings who would help him rediscover his Christian faith, how knowing God helps an author, what two worlds Lewis saw, and who also moved significantly on a faith journey. What did the Inklings have in common and what did they do, how was Lewis a literary midwife, what role did Lewis play for BBC in World War II, what caused America to love Lewis, what other books would add to his devotees, what caused him heartbreak in his late 40's, what caused hostility to him at Oxford, and why did he feel isolated there? Why did he invent Narnia, what gave the Chronicles of Narnia such appeal, what happened in 1956 that was strange, when Joy became seriously ill, what did he do, what do Reflections on the Psalms and the Four Loves reflect, and what caused him major legal problems? All these questions and more are answered in this book. If you love Lewis' books, this book will help you understand the man behind the stories. It is so deep however that it is too long to be a fun read.
+1point
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Review 2 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

C.S. Lewis

Date:August 27, 2013
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ajreader
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
While nearly everyone who grows up in an American, evangelical Christian home has heard of C.S. Lewis and his writings, I realized that I actually knew very little about his personal history. I knew he converted and subsequently became and influential defender of the faith. Beyond that, I knew nothing...McGrath put together a splendid biography of this great man. Often, biographies can become a dry recitation of facts. McGrath, however, kept the content interesting and engaging, which I appreciated. He remained neutral and objective, as a good biographer should.
+1point
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Review 3 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Life of C. S. Lewis

Date:August 7, 2013
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Lizzy970
Location:Fountain, Co
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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C. S. Lewis grew up in Ireland until his mother passed away and his father sent him to England to boarding school. He hated the schools until he went to a private tutor. Then he went to the college he wanted to. He wanted to be a poet, but found his calling in writing books. Books about his life and a special series called the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe. He also became a University professor in England at a university he loved. He got married to an American woman who came to England to meet him because she was a writer, too. They got married and although she did pass away from cancer, they still had a good life together, leaving him her son from a previous marriage to take care of. After many books and papers written he passed away also with many honors. Today he is still idolized from many who still read and watch the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe series of movies and books.
+1point
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Review 4 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

C.S. Lewis

Date:August 6, 2013
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bookworm
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
C.S. Lewis: A Life is a book that tells the story of one of Britain’s most loved authors. Like many, I read C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and fell in love with the world that Lewis had created. As I grew older, I read many more of Lewis’s books and when I found this book about C.S. Lewis, I just had to read it. Though I enjoyed this biography, I found myself shocked about the kind of life that C.S. Lewis lived. Though I knew he spent his earlier years as a non-Christian and was not the easiest man to get along with, I was shocked to learn what a prejudiced and proud man he was! I have to say that I view “one of my favorite authors” in a different light than I did before reading this book. I had no idea he hated Americans and had little respect for women or children. After reading of his attitudes concerning these things, I am glad that he died long before I was even born because I don’t think I would have wanted to meet him. In fact, if I had known of these attitudes as a child, I would have avoided all books that he had written and I will think twice before I read any more books by C.S. Lewis. Though this was a well-written book and very enlightening, I wish I had never read this book because of the old adage: “Ignorance is Bliss”!
-6points
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Review 5 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good look at the man behind the books

Date:July 27, 2013
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Pauline
Location:Muscatine, IA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Alister McGrath sets out "not to praise Lewis or condemn him, but to understand him." That is why I wanted to read about Lewis' life, to understand the man behind the books I have so much appreciated. This is the kind of biography I enjoy reading (and I don't usually enjoy biographies), one that helps me understand the person without getting bogged down in details of his life unrelated to my interest in him.
I still learned a lot about his life, things I knew nothing about before regarding his childhood (I had no idea he was Irish!) and education, his unconventional "family" life as an adult, and his friendships with other writers and scholars. I knew a little about his conversion to Christianity and his work as a scholar of English literature, and it was these aspects of his life especially that I was interested in learning more about.
Apparently there is not all that much to tell about his conversion, because he didn't write a lot about it, either in his published books or his letters (the latter have only recently been made public and were the source of much of McGrath's information). What McGrath does spend a number of pages arguing, regarding Lewis' conversion, is the timing of it. Apparently Lewis himself remembered it wrong, and everyone else has gone along with Lewis' own account. This was mildly interesting, though not worth the number of pages McGrath devoted to it.
No doubt more could have been written about his work as a scholar, but perhaps that would make the book too long for the typical reader. I would have been interested in learning more about all of his works, including his fiction other than the Narnia books (which many people are unaware of) and his books about the Christian faith. But that could probably take another whole book - or several of them.
McGrath devotes the last portion of the book, after Lewis' death, to exploring how and why he became such an important - and highly regarded - figure among Evangelical Christians in the United States. The book is a good corrective to the overly adulatory view of Lewis that is common among many American Christians, while recognizing the important contributions he made and how his work can continue to be appreciated even though some of it feels rather dated.
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Review 6 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Okay.

Date:July 22, 2013
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hannah97
Location:Cottonwood, CA
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
C. S. Lewis - A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet was a very interesting book about, well as the title says, C. S. Lewis's life. It was informative but for me a little to long I liked some of it but found myself getting bored at parts.
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Review 7 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

in-depth but dry and long

Date:July 19, 2013
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Leeann
Location:CdA, ID
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
CS Lewis: A Life was an in-depth look at CS Lewis’ life and writings. I enjoyed reading about his friendship with Tolkien. The book actually spends a lot of time comparing Tolkien and Lewis, which was interesting. However, the book is pretty dry and full of more details than I cared to know. I could have enjoyed a biography of Lewis ¼ the length of this one. This is a book for the hard-core historian.
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Review 8 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent analysis

Date:July 13, 2013
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K K Tan
Location:Singapore
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
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Alister McGrath writes very well and I was certainly very engaged in the story of C S Lewis' life as it unfolded... from the beginnings to wartime for the Lewis family, his years at Oxford University and then Cambridge and his relationship with Joy Davidman. What really impressed and benefited me was to read McGrath's evaluation of the factual context in Lewis' life for the books that Lewis wrote, such as Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity, and e.g. how his life experience affected his thinking on pain when he earlier wrote the Problem of Pain before he got married, and when he wrote A Grief Observed after he lost Joy. I really enjoyed reading the book.
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Review 9 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Okay

Date:June 18, 2013
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Virginia
Location:upstate NY
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This is the biography of C.S. Lewis, published for the 50th anniversary of this death in 1963. C.S. Lewis was a professor and an author of popular books such as the Narnia series.
Wow, there was a lot of information in this book, which is to be expected in a book about a person's life. While it was somewhat interesting, there are so many places, dates and people mentioned that at times it got tedious to read. Certain parts seemed repetitive, such as Lewis' conversion to Christianity, and the footnotes in the back are extensive. Other readers might find all the information fascinating, but I thought the book was just okay.
-1point
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Review 10 for C.S. Lewis: A Life--Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 25, 2013
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Frans
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Where Lewis himself expected that he would gradually fall into oblivion, the opposite happened: Lewis and his writings seem have never been more popular than now, especially in America. The new biography by the hand of the famous British theologian Alister McGrath is a highly readable one. McGrath follows the well known history of Lewis and does so in a sympathetic and critical way: the biography certainly hasn't not become a hagiography. The person of Lewis, his development into renowned scientist, his rejection of the Christian faith of his childhood and his return to it, his thought and influence, his friendships (including the one with JRR Tolkien, for whom Lewis made a plea that the Nobel the literature should be granted to him), all this is discussed in an orderly, well-described manner. The power of Lewis' thinking, particularly his powerful explanation and defense of the Christian faith, lies in the unique combination of intellect and imagination. Those who look for a good introduction to Lewis and his thinking, will have an excellent start with McGrath's book.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.