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Private History of Awe
     

Private History of Awe

5.0 3
by Scott Russell Sanders
 

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ISBN-10: 0865477345

ISBN-13: 2900865477345

Pub. Date: 03/06/2007

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

An original and searching memoir from "one of America's finest essayists" (Phillip Lopate)

When Scott Russell Sanders was four, his father held him in his arms during a thunderstorm, and he felt awe—"the tingle of a power that surges through bone and rain and everything." He says, "The search for communion with this power has run like a bright thread

Overview

An original and searching memoir from "one of America's finest essayists" (Phillip Lopate)

When Scott Russell Sanders was four, his father held him in his arms during a thunderstorm, and he felt awe—"the tingle of a power that surges through bone and rain and everything." He says, "The search for communion with this power has run like a bright thread through all my days." A Private History of Awe is an account of this search, told as a series of awe-inspiring episodes: his early memory of watching a fire with his father; his attraction to the solemn cadences of the Bible despite his frustration with Sunday-school religion; his discovery of books and the body; his mounting opposition to the Vietnam War and all forms of violence; his decision to leave behind the university life of Oxford and Harvard and return to Indiana, where three generations of his family have put down roots. In many ways, this is the story of a generation's passage through the 1960s—from innocence to experience, from euphoria to disillusionment. But Sanders has found a language that captures the transcendence of ordinary lives while never reducing them to formula. In his hands, the pattern of American boyhood that was made classic by writers from Mark Twain to Tobias Wolff is given a powerful new charge.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900865477345
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/06/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
336

Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue,
FIRE,
AIR,
WATER,
EARTH,
Epilogue,
Notes,
Thanks,

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A Private History of Awe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you Mr. Sanders. What a privlege!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I simply loved this book! I admire Mr. Sanders ability to help us understand the important things in life. I won't pretend to understand all things religious and political in this book, but I also lived during the Vietnam years and remember the deadly Tet offensive of 1968 and what it meant to the in-country US forces, the asasinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy,and how stunned and scary it felt to hear the news about Kent State in 1969. This book will stay with me for a long, long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Private History of Awe is a coming-of-age memoir, love story, and spiritual testament. I never thought I would make such a book, wary as I am of memoirs and spirit-language. For years I shied away from writing about religious experience, in part because of the hostility that many literary readers show toward all references to spirituality, in part because these matters have always seemed to me better left private. Yet the questions I¿ve kept returning to in my adult life are essentially religious ones, and I found myself unwilling to abandon this terrain to the televangelists and fundamentalists. Beginning with childhood intuitions of spirit in nature, the narrative recounts an education in ultimate things. My ethics were formed in conversation with the Midwestern landscape, the Bible, rural Methodist churches, science, literature, and family. Those influences prepared me to hear the wisdom in such inspired human beings as Tolstoy, Thoreau, Gandhi, Einstein, Rachel Carson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Merton, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Buddha. During the writing of this book, I spent many hours caring for my mother, as she suffered physical and mental decline, and caring for my first grandchild, as she launched into life with the marvelous energy and beauty natural to all healthy children. Together, the dwindling elder and burgeoning youngster made their way into the book, adding their twin stories of painful departure and exuberant entrance to the narrative of my own formative years. I¿d like to believe that A Private History of Awe belongs to the tradition of American wisdom literature running from Emerson and Thoreau to Wendell Berry and Annie Dillard. I set out to describe my own brushes with the ground of being, the holy source of all that rises and passes, and to record my search for a language and way of life adequate to those experiences. The resulting book may irk true-believers at one extreme and militant secularists at the other. But I hope that readers who dwell between those extremes will find, as the Quakers say, that A Private History of Awe speaks to their condition. --SRS