The Seven Storey Mountain

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Harcourt Brace, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages
377 Reviews
A modern-day Confessions of Saint Augustine, The Seven Storey Mountain is one of the most influential religious works of the twentieth century. This edition contains an introduction by Merton's editor, Robert Giroux, and a note to the reader by biographer William H. Shannon. It tells of the growing restlessness of a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith leads him, at the age of twenty-six, to take vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders--the Trappist monks. At the Abbey of Gethsemani, "the four walls of my new freedom," Thomas Merton struggles to withdraw from the world, but only after he has fully immersed himself in it. The Seven Storey Mountain has been a favorite of readers ranging from Graham Greene to Claire Booth Luce, Eldridge Cleaver, and Frank McCourt. And, in the half-century since its original publication, this timeless spiritual tome has been published in over twenty languages and has touched millions of lives.

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Pretty interesting memoir, easy to read too. - Goodreads
If nothing else, Merton is a captivating writer. - Goodreads
Overall, it's a book with lovely prose. - Goodreads
Good insight into conversion. - Goodreads
It was difficult to read. - Goodreads
Love the honesty and simplicity in his writing. - Goodreads

Review: The Seven Storey Mountain

User Review  - Yvonne - Goodreads

Written as a young man, Merton combined autobiography with profound insights in to the human condition. Can't wait to read more of his work. Read full review

Review: The Seven Storey Mountain

User Review  - Michael Hsu - Goodreads

First of all, I have to say Thomas Merton was a very gifted writer. The first part of the book, although still interesting, is kind of slow. It is the tremendous wisdom and thought provoking ideas ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. His parents, nominally friends, had given him little religious guidance, and in 1938, he converted to Roman Catholicism. The following year he received an M.A. from Columbia University and in 1941, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death. His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, "The Seven Storey Mountain" (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.

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