Screwtape Letters

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Overview

In this humorous and perceptive exchange between two devils, C. S. Lewis delves into moral questions about good vs. evil, temptation, repentance, and grace. Through this wonderful tale, the reader emerges with a better understanding of what it means to live a faithful life.

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Editorial Reviews

John Updike
I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration.
New Yorker
If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.
Los Angeles Times
Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.
New Yorker
If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.
Los Angeles Times
Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.
Library Journal
Lewis's satire is a Christian classic. Screwtape is a veteran demon in the service of "Our Father Below" whose letters to his nephew and prot g , Wormwood, instruct the demon-in-training in the fine points of leading a new Christian astray. Lewis's take on human nature is as on-target as it was when the letters were first published in 1941. John Cleese's narration is perfect as he takes Screwtape from emotional height to valley, from tight control to near apoplexy. This will be a popular in most libraries.--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
New York Times Book Review
“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.”
The Washington Post Book World
“Apparently this Oxford don and Cambridge professor is going to be around for a long time; he calls himself a dinosaur but he seems to speak to people where they are.”
Stephen Fry
“A mixture of wit, insight and brilliance of the kind you rarely meet.”
John Updike
“I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration.”
Read the Spirit
“Why get a new Screwtape Letters? I love the feel and look of this annotated edition. …I love the addition of red ink inside this book for the notes. There are a couple of hundred helpful annotations that first-time and veteran readers will find intriguing.”
Christianity Today
“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.”
The New Yorker
“If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.”
Guardian
“This book is sparkling yet truly reverent, in fact a perfect joy, and should become a classic.”
Observer
“Excellent, hard-hitting, challenging, provoking.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060652890
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2001
  • Series: C. S. Lewis Signature Classics
  • Edition description: GIFT
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 112,736
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

Biography

C. S. Lewis was famous both as a fiction writer and as a Christian thinker, and his biographers and critics sometimes divide his personality in two: the storyteller and the moral educator, the "dreamer" and the "mentor." Yet a large part of Lewis's appeal, for both his audiences, lay in his ability to fuse imagination with instruction. "Let the pictures tell you their own moral," he once advised writers of children's stories. "But if they don't show you any moral, don't put one in. ... The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind."

Storytelling came naturally to Lewis, who spent the rainy days of his childhood in Ireland writing about an imaginary world he called Boxen. His first published novel, Out of the Silent Planet, tells the story of a journey to Mars; its hero was loosely modeled on his friend and fellow Cambridge scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis enjoyed some popularity for his Space Trilogy (which continues in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), but nothing compared to that which greeted his next imaginative journey, to an invented world of fauns, dwarfs, and talking animals -- a world now familiar to millions of readers as Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, began as "a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood," according to Lewis. Years after that image first formed in his mind, others bubbled up to join it, producing what Kate Jackson, writing in Salon, called "a fascinating attempt to compress an almost druidic reverence for wild nature, Arthurian romance, Germanic folklore, the courtly poetry of Renaissance England and the fantastic beasts of Greek and Norse mythology into an entirely reimagined version of what's tritely called 'the greatest story ever told.'"

The Chronicles of Narnia was for decades the world's bestselling fantasy series for children. Although it was eventually superseded by Harry Potter, the series still holds a firm place in children's literature and the culture at large. (Narnia even crops up as a motif in Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel The Corrections). Its last volume appeared in 1955; in that same year, Lewis published a personal account of his religious conversion in Surprised by Joy. The autobiography joined his other nonfiction books, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, as an exploration of faith, joy and the meaning of human existence.

Lewis's final work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, came out in 1956. Its chilly critical reception and poor early sales disappointed Lewis, but the book's reputation has slowly grown; Lionel Adey called it the "wisest and best" of Lewis's stories for adults. Lewis continued to write about Christianity, as well as literature and literary criticism, for several more years. After his death in 1963, The New Yorker opined, "If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."

Good To Know

The imposing wardrobe Lewis and his brother played in as children is now in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Wade Center of Wheaton College, which also houses the world's largest collection of Lewis-related documents, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The 1994 movie, Shadowlands, based on the play of the same name, cast Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. It tells the story of his friendship with, and then marriage to, an American divorcee named Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), who died of cancer four years after their marriage. Lewis's own book about coping with that loss, A Grief Observed, was initially published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk.

Several poems, stories, and a novel fragment published after Lewis's death have come under scrutiny as possible forgeries. On one side of the controversy is Walter Hooper, a trustee of Lewis's estate and editor of most of his posthumous works; on the other is Kathryn Lindskoog, a Lewis scholar who began publicizing her suspicions in 1988. Scandal or kooky conspiracy theory? The verdict's still out among readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Clive Staples Lewis (real name); Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk, Nat Whilk; called "Jack" by his friends
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 29, 1898
    2. Place of Birth:
      Belfast, Nothern Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 22, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      Headington, England

Read an Excerpt

The Screwtape Letters

Chapter One

My dear Wormwood,

I note what you say about guiding your patient's reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïve? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy's clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily 'true' or 'false', but as 'academic' or 'practical', 'outworn' or 'contemporary', 'conventional' or 'ruthless'. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous — that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about.

The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle on to the Enemy's own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who canforesee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it 'real life' and don't let him ask what he means by 'real'.

Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy's!) you don't realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years' work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said 'Quite. In fact much too important to tackle at the end of a morning,' the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added 'Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind,' he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man's head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of 'real life' (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all 'that sort of thing' just couldn't be true. He knew he'd had a narrow escape and in later years was fond of talking about 'that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safeguard against the aberrations of mere logic'. He is now safe in Our Father's house.

You begin to see the point? Thanks to processes which we set at work in them centuries ago, they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things. Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can't touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don't let him get away from that invaluable 'real life'. But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is 'the results of modern investigation'. Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!

Your affectionate uncle

Screwtape

The Screwtape Letters. Copyright (c) by C. Lewis . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Introduction
Originally published in The Guardian from May 2 to November 28, 1941, Lewis conceived of The Screwtape Letters in the summer of 1940. On the evening of July 20th, he heard a broadcast speech by Hitler and later wrote to his brother, Warnie: "I don't know if I am weaker than other people, but it is a positive revelation to me that while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little." Lewis went on to explain that he was "struck by an idea for a book which I think would be both useful and entertaining. It would be called As One Devil to Another and would consist of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first 'patient.' The idea would be to give all the psychology of temptation from the other point of view." This reversal, whereby God becomes "The Enemy" and "Our Father's House" is not heaven but hell, is crucial to understanding The Screwtape Letters and also accounts for much of its power. All questions of Christian faith are approached from the perspective of a devil who wants to undermine that faith and capture the soul of "the patient." This radical shift allows Lewis to reveal, as the patient moves precariously through one temptation after another, both what is required to maintain one's virtue and the precise nature of the forces of darkness deployed to destroy it. The Screwtape Letters was greeted with great critical and popular enthusiasm when it first appeared. The book was reprinted eight times in 1942 alone. Contemporary reviewers wrote that "Lewis is in earnest with his belief in devils, and as anxious to unmask their strategyagainst souls as our intelligence department to detect the designs of Hitler" (The Guardian, 13 March 1942) and that "Mr. Lewis possesses the rare gift of being able to make righteousness readable" (New Statesman and Nation, 16 May 1942). The Saturday Review (17 April 1943) called it an "admirable, diverting, and remarkably original work… a spectacular and satisfactory nova in the bleak sky of satire." The Screwtape Letters continues to be admired both as a brilliant literary work and a powerful exploration of Christian faith. Questions for Discussion
  • Much of the appeal The Screwtape Letters derives from Lewis's startlingly original reversal: telling a story about Christian faith not from a Christian point-of-view but from the perspective of a devil trying to secure the damnation of one's man's soul. Why is this strategy so effective? What does it allow Lewis to accomplish that would have been impossible in a more straightforward approach?
  • In the first of Screwtape's letters, he instructs Wormwood not to attempt to win the patient's soul through argument, but rather by fixing his attention on "the stream of immediate sense experiences" (p. 2). Why is immersion in the particulars of "real life" fertile ground for temptation? Why is argument a risky strategy for devils to employ? Where else do you find this opposition between the particular and the universal-between materialism and spiritual faith-in The Screwtape Letters?
  • While Screwtape allows that war is "entertaining" and provides "legitimate and pleasing refreshment for our myriads of toiling workers," (p. 18) he fears that "if we are not careful, we shall see thousands turning in this tribulation to the Enemy, while tens of thousands who do not go so far will nevertheless have their attentions diverted from themselves to causes which they believe to be higher than the self" (p. 19). Why would war have this effect? How does war alter human consciousness in a way unfavorable to temptation? How would you relate Lewis's own experience in WWI, which apparently confirmed his youthful atheism, to his position in The Screwtape Letters?
  • In describing the differences in how God and the Devil view men, Screwtape says: "We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons" (p. 30). What is it about God's relationship to man that Screwtape finds so unfathomable?
  • Why is Screwtape so pleased when the patient becomes friends with a group of people who are "rich, smart, superficially intellectual, and brightly skeptical about everything in the world"? (p. 37). What influence does Screwtape hope they will have on him? Why should their "flippancy" build up an "armor-plating" against God? In what ways does Lewis merge theology and social satire in this and other passages throughout The Screwtape Letters?
  • Screwtape assures Wormwood that although some ancient writers, such as Boethius, might reveal powerful secrets to humans, they have been rendered powerless by "the Historical Point of View," which regards such writers not as sources of truth but merely as objects of scholarly speculation. "To regard the ancient writer as a possible source of knowledge-to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or your behavior-this would be regarded as unutterably simple-minded" (p. 108). Why would Screwtape delight in this situation? How would he turn it to his advantage? How does this view of reading parallel post-modern approaches to literature? Where else does Screwtape encourage Wormwood to persuade humans that truth is irrelevant?
  • Lewis exhibits throughout his writings an uncanny sense of human nature and a style capable of brilliant aphorism: "Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury" (p. 81); "Gratitude looks toward the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead" (p. 58), to cite just two examples. Where else in The Screwtape Letters do you find universal statements about human nature? Do these statements accurately reflect not just a Christian ethos but the workings of human psychology more generally?
  • The sub-plot of The Screwtape Letters turns on Screwtape's relationship with his nephew Wormwood, the apprentice tempter and demonic understudy in charge of carrying out Screwtape's instructions. How do Screwtape and Wormwood regard each other? How does their relationship change over the course of the book? In what ways does their relationship offer an inverted reflection of God's relationship to man? What is Lewis suggesting by having the story end with Screwtape preparing to devour a member of his own family?
  • In discussing time, change, and pleasure, Screwtape asserts that "just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty" (p. 98). Why is the demand for novelty necessarily destructive? What natural balance does such a demand disrupt? In what areas do you find this insistence on change, or overvaluation of the new, operating today?
  • Love is an important theme in The Screwtape Letters. Describing the human idea of love and marriage, Screwtape tells Wormwood: "They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life as something lower than a storm of emotion" (p. 72). Screwtape is also confounded by God's love for man, which he grants as real but irrational. What is Lewis saying, in the book as a whole, about human and divine love?
  • Over the course of The Screwtape Letters, the state of the patient's soul fluctuates as he experiences a conversion, doubt, dangerous friendships, war, love, and finally, in death, oneness with God. What major strategies does Screwtape use to tempt the patient into the Devil's camp? Why do these temptations fail? In what ways can the patient be seen as an everyman?
  • In spite the patient's triumph over temptation, his glorious entrance to Heaven-"the degradation of it!-that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse with spirits" (p.122)-Screwtape does not lose faith in his own cause. Why do you think Lewis chose to end the book in this ambiguous light? Why is Screwtape sustained by "the conviction that our Realism, our rejection (in the face of all temptations) of all silly nonsense and claptrap, must win in the end"? (p. 124). What warning is implied in the book's ending? In what ways does The Screwtape Letters speak to contemporary moral and spiritual issues both within and outside of the Christian Church?
About the Author: Clive Staples Lewis was born in 1898 in a suburb of Belfast. An extraordinarily precocious child, at the age of eight he was writing and illustrating "Animal-Land" stories with his brother Warren, at ten was reading Paradise Lost, and at nineteen was described by one of his teachers as "the most brilliant translator of Greek plays that I have ever met." By the time Lewis entered Oxford in 1917, he had long considered himself an atheist, a position that his experiences on the front lines of World War I only confirmed. But in 1925 he was elected to a fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he taught for twenty-five years and where his intellectual, creative, and religious development underwent a remarkable flowering. Shortly after a late night talk with J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson in 1931, Lewis had a conversion experience, beautifully described in his autobiography Surprised by Joy (1955), and regained his faith in Christianity. There followed an astonishing succession of fiction, criticism, and religious books, including The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942), The Abolition of Man (1943), The Great Divorce (1946), Miracles (1947), George MacDonald (1947), and Mere Christianity (1952), and the seven children's books comprising The Chronicles of Narnia, completed in 1954. Greatly admired for his teaching, Lewis was offered the chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge in 1954, a position he held until his death. In 1956 he married Joy Davidman Gresham, the American poet and novelist, who was diagnosed with cancer later that year. Despite his wife's illness, Lewis achieved in his final years the happiness and contentment he had searched for all his life. His relationship with Joy, who died in 1960, is the subject of Richard Attenborough's film Shadowlands, and Lewis's own A Grief Observed, published under a pseudonym in 1961, is a deeply moving account of his struggle to come to terms with her loss. C.S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963, at his home in Oxford.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 134 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2010

    Brillant.

    The Screwtape Letters makes you think in a fashion that is unexpected. C.S. Lewis puts into words the unnoticed ideas and processes that go on everyday. The indirect (everything in the Screwtape Letters is indirect) messages concerning morality and faith are still valid today. It is eerie to realize that the same battles over worldliness have gone on since time began.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic

    A creative and thought provoking take on the reality of spiritual warfare.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Essential

    The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, consists of a series of correspondence between Screwtape, an administrator of relatively high (or, from his point of view, low) position in Satan's bureaucracy; and his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter just graduated from "temptation college," as it were. These letters -or at least those of Screwtape to Wormwood, we never read the actual replies- concern Wormwood's attempts to secure an ordinary man's soul for hell. This demonic point of view makes for an interesting read.

    One note about the book is how, due to the viewpoint, there is a complete reversal of good and bad. Screwtape regards human "virtues" as exceedingly detrimental to the cause, and vices just their opposite. Satan becomes "our father below," and God as we know him is "the Enemy." If Screwtape recommends that Wormwood ought to encourage something in his Patient's (the person he is assigned to, and the human focus of the book) life, then we, as people, ought to discourage it. (Hence, Screwtape's being "low" in his master's service, mentioned earlier.) At first, this can be rather confusing; "Screwtape's black is our white." (Lewis, the forward.) It takes a moment to change back, transforming "good" back into bad, so that his "advice" can become helpful to the reader. However, after becoming used to the style, one can easily execute this reversal without much thought.

    I found the book to be just fantastic. It is chock full of advice to aid the common Christian on their way, and I for one believe it is one book besides the Bible itself that every Christian should read. Of course, this overwhelmingly positive perception might not prove true for all. Lewis' very 20th century-British style might prove less accessible for some; and what seems to be of infinite importance to one might appear rather insignificant to someone else. Others still might think it just plain weird. But that does not change it for me; after initially picking up the book I have read it through three times and promptly proceeded to order a C.S. Lewis 'essentials' paperback box-set.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Timeless Classic

    In the reading of the book one is whisked away as if he was Uncle Screwtape's pupil himself. Wonderful book to wake you up to how the other side thinks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    "It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting thin


    "It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out..." When people picture temptation, they usually picture a man with horns, red skin, and a pitchfork standing on their shoulder and whispering in their ear, maybe pausing to giggle or argue with the angel that is always standing on the opposite shoulder. But to C.S. Lewis, temptation was a business, a department of Hell with its own hierarchy ("Lowerarchy"), positions, and rules. The Screwtape Letters chronicles the letters between Screwtape, an under-secretary in Hell, and his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter trying to lead an average British man astray. In these letters, Screwtape advises Wormwood on how best to corrupt the man, who they call "the patient", as well as offering some general advice on steering the human soul towards Hell. At first glance, the book would seem like the farthest thing from Christian literature. But after reading it, I can say that The Screwtape Letters is the most compelling argument for Christianity I've ever encountered.
    When I first started reading the book, I knew it would be praising Christianity. It was C.S. Lewis after all, and a book about leading humans away from "the right path". I figured it would be a bunch of thinly veiled praises of God and Christianity in general. But the book really isn't about Christianity. It's about human nature, and the struggle for humans to look beyond themselves and their problems. The whole book is actually a beautiful example of antithesis, showing the reader what is right by promoting what is clearly wrong. The book actually addressed a lot of criticisms of Christianity, like the ease of conversion and the corruption of the Church. Instead of promoting Christianity above all else, Lewis instead encouraged a more charitable and humble attitude in general, saying that, not the patient's religion, is what got him into Heaven. Of course, the book does include plenty of Christian ideas, but they're all presented in a positive way, like when Lewis says, "We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons."
    Even though the language is tough and the philosophical concepts can be hard to digest, I would recommend this book. It's a stimulating look at the complex motivations and behaviors of good and evil, and it praises the appropriate use of religion without getting too denominational. C.S. Lewis is a beautiful writer, and what he writes about morality and God's infinite love is more compelling than any evangelical sermon. I'm a stout atheist, and my beliefs haven't changed after reading this book. However, I feel like I'm a little more conscious of what I think about others and how I live my life thanks to this book. And I don't think anyone can criticize that.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    A great book!

    This book is masterfully written and very Creatively written.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    screwtape letters

    made me really think

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting ride

    This book made me think, which is generally a good thing. The letters made me view life in a completely different way. Some of the lessons contained in these pages still ring true today and could explain a lot of the issues that society seems to be having right now if we would but listen. The only reason I couldn't give this a 5 star rating is because after awhile the complex nature of the material got a little tedious to read, especially when you're not completely alert or focused.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    MUST READ for ALL but more for those who question why certain things happen in the world and for those who dont understand how important it is to be close to GOD>

    The Screwtape Letters is a book that I would recommend for all, but it would be really helpful to people who dont quite understand how and why things happen with such a great GOD around. This book helped really understand how often the decisions that we make or rationalizations are not always our true thoughts but thoughts put into our head for a bigger cause, the cause: TO KEEP US AWAY FROM GOD.
    I was able to see by the different scenarios that Mr. Lewis set up how often we are being manipulated and we dont even realize it. It made me more aware of how important it is to remain close to GOD. It put into perspective that everytime I choose to do things wrong the Enemy gets the glory and who wants that! I want GOD to get His glory because He is the one that gives me everything. Mr. Lewis was able to show me this in Screwtapes letters and how eager the enemy wants to destroy any happiness and the lengths he will go to do so.
    This is a must read!! My only issue was due to the age of the story the English used was difficult to follow at times but not to the extent that i couldnt enjoy it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Worth Reading Again--and Again

    I've read The Screwtape Letters many times and never fail to profit from it. It is hugely entertaining, can be read in short doses, and no matter how many times one reads it, one has a shock of recognition. "That's me Lewis is talking about!" It is a psychological masterpiece. I also recommend John Cleese's superb reading on CD, and (if you're in or around New York City in the month of May) the Off-Broadway show.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2005

    New outlook on Christianity

    I thought that this book had great theology and allowed the reader, if they were open to it, to see many things about Christianity. I would recommend this book to any christian or borderline christian that I know, young or old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2004

    From the Approach of the DEVIL

    Very unique in the writing. Makes you wish Lewis was still alive to write more. But isn't that the way it is with authors of his magnitude?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003

    Great Book

    This book is a great way to show how demons would think. it shows ways that demons would try to munpilate us and how we should prepare. i suggest this to book to readers that would be able to understand and comprehend well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2002

    Timeless Classic

    I read and re-read this book time and time again! Years ago a priest gave me a copy of it and that began a lifelong love of this work. The very complex issues of good and evil are touched so elequently here that I think everyone should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2002

    Funny

    Lewis was a strange man. I say 'strange' in the sense that he was so insightful. How he did it, I'll never know. The Screwtape Letters is wonderfully insightful and such an important work. The humorous style takes the wind out of the Devil's sails. If you fear Satan, you won't after reading this book. You will only know his cunning and his cheap trickery. You can learn a lot from a demon!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2002

    A masterpiece

    This is a fantastic story by 2 masters: C.S. Lewis shows the gritty psychology of Christianity's rubber meeting life's road with broad comic strokes. Then John Cleese brings the story alive from the evil spirit's dark and diabolical perch, ready to pounce on humanity (a.k.a. 'the patient') at all times. A true fight to the death, and beyond.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2001

    A back-stage pass to the tactics of evil.

    Written as helpful letters from a demon to his nephew, The Screwtape Letters gives a hell's-eye-view of how satan captures souls. Do not be leary of the subject of this book. Within it's pages you will find some of the most helpful insights you can find on how to overcome temptation. One of the best books I have read on the personal struggle to overcome evil. I very highly recommend this book. A MUST READ for any Lewis fan or Christian.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2001

    A Must Have

    Entertaining and profoundly helpful, The Screwtape Letters is the best of practical Christianity. John Cleese has the perfect voice for a senior tempter sending advice to an inexperienced subordinate. If you want to be preached at, some other book would probably be better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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