Words Hot From The Soul

Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life, by Ian Hunter (Thomas Nelson, 1980, 243 pp., $13.95), is reviewed by Lloyd Billingsley, a writer living in Poway, California.

One might well ask the question why, after Muggeridge’s own Chronicles of Wasted Time, anyone would dare to attempt a full-length biography of this man for whom battalions of adjectives are insufficient. Is not such a work redundant and unnecessary?

Fortunately, the answer is no. Ian Hunter, a Canadian law professor, student, and friend of Muggeridge, has produced a thorough and sensitive account of this important man. Himself a stylish and lucid writer, Hunter has included many details and perspectives that are absent from his subject’s own works.

Since the third volume of Muggeridge’s autobiography has not appeared, and some—including his American publishers—doubt that it will be forthcoming, this book may ultimately prove to be the only detailed, organized account of his latter years. It was during this time that Muggeridge “rediscovered” Jesus and began to write about him as few have ever done. The storm of invective this provoked from, in Hunter’s words, the “intellectual Samurai” of the time is particularly well chronicled.

For American readers who are unfamiliar with the wit of Muggeridge, Hunter plucks some prize barbs from the slag heaps of the British press. Some examples, among many: John Foster Dulles—“dull, duller, Dulles”; and Clement Attlee—“a sheep in sheep’s clothing.” The account of his television interview with Mike Wallace of CBS is priceless.

Most important, Hunter penetratingly reviews the record of Muggeridge as a prophet. He predicted, when the prevailing opinion was totally contrary, the demise of the British Empire, the rise of ...

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