THE FOURTH GIFT by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino


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There are at least two sides to every armed conflict and only a novelist can get away with telling just one of them. The book is based on Mexico's religious upheaval during the late 1920's, when the civil government wrestled to free itself from the control of the Roman Catholic Church. The parting was so violent that bishops hid in broom closets while priests pursued their vocations at the risk of their lives. From her historical note at the beginning until the last page, no one can be in any doubt about where the author banks her sympathy: she tells the stories of the Cristeros, the militant faithful who went to war to go to church, and has made no attempt to show either the who or the why that gave them an enemy. By using the chapter length autobiography method, she shows the various levels engaged-- the country aristocrat, the city aristocrat, the common soldier, the professional, the artist, the child. It results in the story of a family and what the war cost them--the father dead, the warrior daughter crippled, her best friend widowed, the farm hands killed. But the oldest son finds his way to the priesthood after almost assuming an assassin's role on the very day of amnesty. The author is a competent storyteller and will find her large audience potential among Catholic readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1965
Publisher: Doubleday