This might almost fit into the widely popular ""confession"" category, were it not for a sincere attempt to build on his own...



This might almost fit into the widely popular ""confession"" category, were it not for a sincere attempt to build on his own experience a platform for a broadened national conviction of spiritual goals, and a helping hand to the vast number of other Americans whose experience and condition parallel his own. That the author has chosen to cast his material in the form of a report to the God he has found in the maelstrom of his troubles gives this a different sort of approach- not consistently successful. But there is a plus market here as a ""religious book""- though its main channels are secular.... Writer- editor-cartoonist -- engineer by training, Ellison's external achievements and opportunities would seem to have pointed to happiness and success. And he had segments of both. But his failures, his disillusionments, his disintegration as an alcoholic brought his life crashing about his ears. He explores the humiliation of self seeking into the fears of past and present; the recurrent direct experience of God, too soon forgotten; he urges for each one, diagnosis before prescription. For himself- he tried psychoanalysis, and rejects it; Alcoholics Anonymous subsequently gave him the key to a new life, and opened the channel to return to church and to God. In the course of his self analysis, he is briefly autobiographical, constantly self-exploratory, and at intervals analytical of the failures of America as a nation, the rejection of the gifts we have been given. He dissects, too, the problems of organized religion and its failures. And in each area he offers hope for salvation. In closing he submits- not to God but to Man- his program for rescuing the world from the wrong choice of Communism, and saving the great gift the American form of democracy has still to offer. Some of his suggestions seem a bit in the realm of fantasy- a university in the art of international persuasion (led, one wonders, by whom?); the substitution of the spiral of hope for the spiral of frustration; substitution of knowledge of America's peaceful intent for the fraud of Communism. And he ends by affirming his hope that the deep real self in each of us will be heard and speak the truth. The book as a whole has the stamp of sincere conviction and an earnest hope that again ""the truth can make us free"".

Pub Date: June 22, 1955


Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1955