The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

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Karen Armstrong begins this spellbinding story of her spiritual journey with her departure in 1969 from the Roman Catholic convent she had entered seven years before—hoping, but ultimately failing, to find God. She knew almost nothing of the changed world to which she was returning, and she was tormented by panic attacks and inexplicable seizures.

Armstrong's struggle against despair was further fueled by a string of discouragements—failed spirituality, doctorate, and jobs; fruitless dealings with psychiatrists. Finally, in 1976, she was diagnosed with epilepsy, given proper treatment, and released from her “private hell.” She then began the writing career that would become her true calling, and as she focused on the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, her own inner story began to emerge. Without realizing it, she had embarked on a spiritual quest, and through it she would eventually experience moments of transcendence—the profound fulfillment that she had not found in long hours of prayer as a young nun.

Powerfully engaging, often heartbreaking, but lit with bursts of humor, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary history of self.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - erwinkennythomas - LibraryThing

From postulant to internationally-known interfaith writer Karen Armstrong’s life has been like a seesaw in The Spiral Staircase with trials, disappointments, and acclaim. Armstrong was certain that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - e2d2 - LibraryThing

As someone who has discarded religion but searches for spirituality, this book was a touchstone. Armstrong's description of finding bliss in her research and her writing is a place I can relate to. If ... Read full review

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Contents

The Devil of the Stairs
46
Consequently I Rejoice
120
Desiring This Mans Gift and That Mans Scope
159
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs, including A History of God, The Battle for God, Through the Narrow Gate, Holy War, Islam, and Buddha. Her work has been translated into forty languages. She is also the author of three television documentaries and took part in Bill Moyers's television series Genesis. Since September 11, 2001, she has been a frequent contributor to conferences, panels, newspapers, periodicals, and throughout the media on both sides of the Atlantic on the subject of Islam. She lives in London.

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