Customer Reviews for

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2005

    Complex, yet simple

    Miller's work is a singular achievement in literature. Though classified as science ficiton, it is almost like reading historical fiction, more specifically, a counterfactual (what if?). The beauty of the work is that Miller does not beat you over the head with the book's ultimate message (are we doomed to repeat ourselves?). This is because there are many discussions inherent in the piece. What is the nature of faith? What is martyrdom? Are science and faith irreconcialable? Is there hope? The world is a harsh place in Canticle, a complex place where it is easy to understand everyone's point of view, regardless of their motives. As already stated, Miller does not beat the reader over the head with any of it. He just lets the world unfold before you. A unique piece, to be sure, and definitely relevant to these modern, yet greatly troubled (and troubling) times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2004

    gives the reader a new outlook on both science and God

    Found in the stack pile of the local library, I found this book has not been checked out in almost ten years. This greatly surprised me in that I feel that this is one of the most thought provking novels that I have ever read. I would rank this book in the ranks with that of Aldous Huxley's, Brave New World and other great classics. This is truly a forgotten book worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2003

    Interesting and Insightful

    A friend raved about this book to me so I decided I would give it a try. I have never been a big Sci-Fi fan but this one was very good. Miller uses some intersting techniques to keep the reader's attention. The book goes through a nuclear war and a new 'Dark Age,' and one of the main themes is how man reacts to rapidly increasing knowledge and power. It is centered on the religious sector and the Catholic Church, which gave me some new insight about the Church and its processes. Miller uses Latin phases and speech throughout, and it would be a good idea to refresh on Latin before reading this one. I didn't find the Latin too distracting, nor did I feel I missed much meaning by not understanding some of it. Overall and great read, but there were a few places that I felt were a bit abrupt. Definitely worth the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2001

    Cult Classic

    I can't remember when I first read 'Canticle' or even how it came to my attention. My copy is a third printing of the first paperback edition and has become a 'personal classic' with me. I've reread it every year or two for at least the last 20 years and it never fails to stimulate thought or provoke emotions. This is not SciFi as most people define it, and I think its wrongly classified as SF, which prevents many potential readers from exploring it -- that and the improbable title! This is a moralist play -- really about our past and our uncertain (and all too near) future. The instincts and foibles of the characters and the events are easily identifiable to any student of history -- and Hannigan is the face of so many who have ruled and abused truth and power. But its the humility and simple piety of the monks and abbots -- and their incredibly believeable lives and interplay -- what makes this trilogy so appealing. I place this book with my other personal classics: 'A Day in the Life of Ivan Dinesovich', 'The Pine Barrens', 'The Hobbit' and '1984'. It should be required reading at the HS level and even good fodder for English Lit at the college level.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2012

    Writing fiction about a post apocalyptic world is tricky because

    Writing fiction about a post apocalyptic world is tricky because once it is written it is hard for it to appear dated as is the case of “A Canticle For Liebowitz.” The plot is simple. Mankind has very nearly destroyed himself in a nuclear holocaust. Slowly rebuilding what was the southwest United States is a combination of feudal kingdoms and city states with the planes being overrun by barbarians. What is left of mankind’s scientific achievements has been preserved by an order Christian Monks known as the Albertian Order of St. Liebowitz. The order is part a post apocalyptic Catholicism under the rule of the Pope in New Rome (where ever that is). It is at the Abbey of St. Liebowitz the reader sees how mankind rebuilds civilization only to destroy himself again. Outside a few far flung colonies the only other survivors are a few chosen bishops, priest, some scientist, a healthy collection of orphan refuges are sent off into space so that not only does humanity survive so will the Roman Catholic Church. If you can get past the improbable notion that the Catholic Church would survive a nuclear holocaust so intact this book is a very interesting and thought provoking read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2001

    An unknown classic ?

    I ordered that book at bn based on a French enthusiastic newspaper critic when the book was re-issued here. I had never heard of it and it didn't look very engaging (I'm no major SF fan either). Boy is it a great read ! About everything is to praise : the story is really original, mixing the theological with good twists in the plot. It also spares us the usual SF habberdashery about flying saucers, non-human races, and so on... Plus the characters were very interesting & likeable, which is an achievement considering we're talking about monks (OK, Name of the Rose was also a good read). Lastly, the style is crisp, easy-to-read while sparkling with humor & intelligence. Not only a SF classic, but definitely a XXth century classic, along with Brave New World.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    'Canticle' unafraid to place thorns in side

    I first picked up this book on the recommendation of my undergrad philosophy prof and then let it sit on the shelf till I lost it. Luck would have it that I found another copy in the give-away box at the public libary, and after reading it I conclude that the library and town have given up a gem. Ironic that a book about a cadre of monks who hoard information solely for its preservation from the information phobic masses, ends up abandoned, unchecked-out in a decade, only to find its way into my cloistered, albeit ecclectic, library. Canticle pushes the science-fiction genre in so many pleasing ways, unafraid of tweaking the upturned nose of humanity on issues ranging from city-state politics to euthanasia. Also enjoyable was the fact that this dystopian novel lifted one's spirit and ended with hope amidst tragedy, unlike 1984 or Brave New World. An absolute must-read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2000

    Miller's Masterpiece

    Set in a world recovering from nuclear apocalypse, A Canticle for Leibowitz blends humor and tragedy into a narrative of remarkable depth and power. Its story tells of a group of monks-- reluctant heroes with all-too-common frailties-- who struggle to preserve the knowledge that was almost lost in the aftermath of war, only to find the world ungrateful and unwilling to learn from its own history. As they each encounter the challenges of life & mortality, the characters enact a poignant retelling of the age-old parable of the human condition, making Canticle not only stirring but meaningful. More, the novel stands to this day as one of the most compelling indictments of human arrogance yet written, as well as one of the most unforgettable testaments to the pricelessness of human life. Satire, science fiction, and social commentary; a memorial of faith; and a penetrating glimpse of human psychology; A Canticle for Leibowitz is quite simply a great novel, and one I must strongly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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