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Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography (1931)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0801860970, Paperback)Out of My Life and Thought is the autobiography of Albert Schweitzer, the theologian, musician, scientist, and medical missionary who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 (and donated his prize to build a leper colony). Schweitzer's autobiography is a masterful and motley blend of confession, narrative, adventure, and philosophy. The chapters about how he came to write The Quest for the Historical Jesus and The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle are indispensable summaries of and apologies for those books; the chapter called "I Resolve to Become a Jungle Doctor" is a model of Rilke-style life-changing decision; and the chapters on Bach and on organs are full of fascinating historical and mechanical detail. For contemporary readers, Out of My Life and Thought may be most compelling for its epilogue, which describes the ethical mysticism that Schweitzer called "Reverence for Life," which he achieved in his later years. The epilogue is full of stirringly Germanic passages such as the following: "Once man begins to think about the mystery of his life and the links connecting him with the life that fills the world, he cannot but accept, for his own life and all other life that surrounds him, the principle of Reverence for Life. He will act according to this principle of the ethical affirmation of life in everything he does. His life will become in every respect more difficult than if he lived for himself, but at the same time it will be richer, more beautiful, and happier. It will become, instead of mere living, a genuine experience of life." Because Schweitzer believed Christianity implied such world-encompassing reverence, he had the confidence and faith to "demand from Christianity that it reform itself in the spirit of sincerity and with thoughtfulness, so it may become conscious of its true nature." --Michael Joseph Gross
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:51 -0400)
Published to commemorate Albert Schweitzer's only visit to the United States 60 years ago, this anniversary edition of his autobiography gives 21st-century readers a unique and authoritative account of the man John F. Kennedy called "one of the transcendent moral influences of our century."Schweitzer is celebrated around the world as a European pioneer of medical service in Africa, a groundbreaking philosopher and musical scholar, and a catalyst of environmental and peace activism. Yet people most revere Schweitzer for his dedication to serving others and his profound and influential ethic of reverence for life. For Schweitzer, reverence for life was not a theory or a philosophy but a discovery -- a recognition that the capacity to experience and act on a reverence for all life is a fundamental part of human nature, a characteristic that sets human beings apart from the rest of the natural world.This anniversary edition coincides with several high profile celebrations of his 1949 visit, as well as the release of a new feature film starring Jeroen Krabbe and Barbara Hershey. In addition to a foreword by Nobel Laureate and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, this edition features a new foreword by Lachlan Forrow, president of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
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