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Title: C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
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C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

He paints a portrait of an eccentric thinker who became an inspiring, though reluctant, prophet for our times. You won't want to miss this fascinating portrait of a creative genius who inspired generations. Tyndale House Publishers). I found myself seeing Lewis as both a guy with enormous talent and also a genius with incredible hurdles. I felt compassion for the young boy and joy for the older man. I was befuddled with his later choices and yet intrigued by his view of Narnia and the role of stories.

This book appears at the same time as he also publishes The Intellectual World of CS Lewis, a collection of eight scholarly essays on aspects of Lewis's theology. It's natural to suppose that the latter is his main concern, and that the notion of a full-length biographical study for the popular market was a side-project pegged to the 50th anniversary of Lewis's death this year. McGrath argues that Lewis's religious conversion did not take place, as Lewis claimed in the sometimes muddled Surprised By Joy, in Trinity term of 1929, but about a year later. Close reading of Lewis's correspondence at the time – as well as some Poirot-like work on the question of when bluebells flower at Whipsnade Zoo – leads our man to the later date.

Alister McGrath's "C. S. Lewis: A Life" now supplies a welcome balance, along with some significant discoveries. Mr. McGrath is well placed, culturally speaking, to understand and sympathize with Lewis. One comes away with a renewed sympathy for a provocative, perceptive, contrarian and somewhat tormented soul-Wall Street Journal. This definitive biography paints a portrait of an eccentric thinker who became a compelling, though reluctant, prophet for our times. You won't want to miss this fascinating portrayal of a creative genius who inspired generations. Alister McGrath is Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College London and head of its Center for Theology, Religion and Culture.

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Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. Alister McGrath Carol Stream, IL 2013-02-18. Alister McGrath currently serves as Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College, London, and leads the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics in cooperation with Wycliffe Hall. One of his most recent works is a vibrant biographical sketch of Oxford literary legend C. Lewis. Then he masterfully weaves these primary source materials together with a variety of secondary resources.

C. Lewis-A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluc-. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2013. xvi + 431 pp. Hbk. ISBN 1414382529. C. Lewis, author and literary critic who taught at both Oxford. Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre DuhemJakiStanley L. Coll. Archives internationales d'histoire des idèes, no 100 The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1984. Pp. xii, 472 - Volume 25 Issue 1 - François Tournier.

The first book by C. Lewis that I bought and dated was in 1975. So that goes back quite a long way. I was twenty-two and I’d been a Christian for a couple of years. And people kept saying to me, There’s this guy C. Lewis and you ought to read him. In that phase of my life I was a scientist and was very busy in that and it took me a while to get around to reading Lewis. And the first book I read by him I think was the collection of essays entitled Screwtape Proposes a Toast. I enjoyed the title essay, but the one that really intrigued me was The Weight of Glory.

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Reviews: 7
I really enjoyed this biography of CS Lewis. It was engaging from beginning to end and did an excellent job of conveying the overall arc of his life in a readable way. It took me a while to read through it all with several breaks, but each time I returned, it easily recaptured my interest and engaged me with the different aspects of his life. I personally find Lewis a fascinating character himself. I appreciate his overall thrust and purpose in writing, even if I don't fully appreciate all of his writings. The Narnia series as well as Screwtape and Mere Christianity have been influential in my life. Yet I appreciate and value the influence he has had in challenging me to engage all of life through a lens of faith. I have learned to appreciate and value all the different forms of literature and media to see the underlying theme and currents that speak of and reflect and even criticise God. Through Lewis I have been challenged to engage the world and our culture where they are and to take my faith out of the doors of my home and into the wider context of the life I live.
This was a marvelous biography about C. S. Lewis. In my opinion, Lewis was one of the greatest writers, philosophers and academics of the twentieth century. This was no easy research project and Alister McGrath nailed it in terms of historical accuracy, accessibility, as well as the sheer magnitude of documents required for this book. Although this is the only C. S. Lewis biography I have read, I think it is safe to say that this is by far the best one yet. You really get to see Lewis as a human being. You will find that there are many surprising facts about his life that most people are unaware of, such as the fact that he had initially married his wife, Joy Davidman, for purely legal reasons rather than personal love. I also think that Lewis' conversion to Christianity is very unique and perplexing.

I will say, however, that after about 1945, it seemed to get somewhat boring for me. At that point, it seemed to be repeating much of what had already been explored, but was nevertheless still interesting.

All in all, this is a great biography and I highly recommend it!
I read this immediately after reading Alister McGrath's book "If I had Lunch with C.S. Lewis" and perhaps that wasn't such a good idea. The smaller Lunch with Lewis book was packed full of inspiring themes and ideas from one of the greats of the Christian faith. I found this biography ponderous at times. The author took great pains to get dates and facts right, while at times glossing over subjects that I would love to have learned more about (it's possible there wasn't more to be said on some subjects, such as his relationship with Tolkien, but I felt like I was missing some of the richer parts of Lewis's life.) Perhaps it's just the nature of the two types of books. If you are interested in what Lewis had to say on important topics, read the Lunch book. If you are interested in the minutia of exactly when Lewis came to faith, etc... then this is the book for you.
the monster
This one is a toss up between 3 and 4 stars, great book, very informative including at least 3 jaw dropping situations where you will not believe some of the things that are a part of Lewis' story.

The book also gives some great summaries of his books and some excellent pictures of Lewis and the people who surrounded his life.

I liked the notes about Lewis as an educator, there were even a few sentiments from his students.

I would like to say after this biography I know him better, but I think the character of Lewis became more complex!
Avid C.S. Lewis fan - this is my favorite biography of his life, but do not read if you prefer to think of him as a saint. He was a man - a great one, at that - who, against all odds, chose the path to sainthood.
Very impressed with the detailed coverage of one of the 20th century's most successful writer of Christian literature, having inspired many around the world to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Having access to previously unpublished materials, Alister more than justifies another biography of this highly acclaimed author.
Finally a book on CS Lewis' life - A truly fascinating read. I love how the author took something so complex and made it so simple. The author was innovative in their approach and really thoroughly sought to bring their main points to life. I would purchase again!
If you are a C.S. Lewis fan this is a "Must Read". Alister McGrath is an excellent biographer with an attention to detail. His gift draws you deeper and closer to the true character of the C.S. Lewis.