Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

Does C. S. Lewis Have Something to Hide?
C. S. Lewis -- A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Book Title
C. S. Lewis -- A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Author
Publisher
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Release Date
March 1, 2013
Pages
448
Price
$20.59
Buy C. S. Lewis -- A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet from Amazon

Alister McGrath's biography of C. S. Lewis was highly anticipated. Its release earlier this year raised expectations that the definitive account of Lewis's life had finally arrived.

Very often, when encountering such hype, it pays to be skeptical. J. R. R. Tolkien, quoting G. K. Chesterton, once said that, "as soon as he heard that anything 'had come to stay, he knew that it would be very soon replaced—indeed be regarded as pitiably obsolete and shabby.'" When a biography comes along promising to set the record straight or provide a last word on some prominent public figure, it's easy enough for similar sentiments to arise.

Without a doubt, C. S. Lewis - A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet has much to commend it to readers' attention. First, McGrath actually read Lewis thoroughly before setting out to write. One doubts whether A. N. Wilson, the British man of letters who wrote another well-known Lewis biography, ever thought to take this precaution. While Wilson goes down smoothly by virtue of his remarkable writing style, inaccuracies seem to appear on nearly every page. By comparison, McGrath leaves no doubt that he knows his subject. He did due preparation by reading everything Lewis wrote in chronological order. McGrath has a well-earned academic reputation, and it's meticulous endeavors of this sort that help explain why.

Second, McGrath helpfully brings his own biographical background to bear on the subject matter. Like Lewis, he is an Irish-born Oxford scholar, though of a different era. This pedigree gives McGrath a unique vantage point on Lewis's own experience as an Ulsterman living in an English academic environment.

Third, McGrath's own writing ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueHow the Prophet Habakkuk Built an Anti-Fragile Faith
Subscriber Access Only
How the Prophet Habakkuk Built an Anti-Fragile Faith
Lessons on worshiping a consistently unpredictable God.
RecommendedJ. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: A Legendary Friendship
J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: A Legendary Friendship
A new book reveals how these two famous friends conspired to bring myth and legend—and Truth—to modern readers.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickA Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.
Christianity Today
Does C. S. Lewis Have Something to Hide?
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.