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A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller…
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A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)

by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leibowitz (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,196227382 (3.94)1 / 399
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  16. 10
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    Stbalbach: Both set in the western USA describing a post-apocalypse history unfolding in stages across thousands of years.
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  18. 10
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  19. 11
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    47degreesnorth: Excellent literary post-apocalyptic story. Well written and well developed characters.
  20. 00
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    RyderAuthorResources: There are many similarities: both consist of three related novellas that tell one book-spanning story; both deal with the "problem" of peace; both are filled with compassionate insight; and both have made me cry more than once.

(see all 26 recommendations)

1960s (4)
1950s (123)
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English (220)  French (3)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (226)
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
A surreal post-apocalyptic story set in southwestern United States told in 3 parts, 600 years apart each. It is incredibly well written with interesting themes in each part. Each part reads a bit like it's own short story. There are connections between them, they fit together in their overall theme, and occasionally refer back to each other, but focus in on different aspects that make sense for the change in time. The main theme of the story is human nature. In the beginning it is about survival and simplicity, but when humans get too comfortable then power is sought after. It is a cycle that is repeated again and again and holds true today as much as in 1959. ( )
  renbedell | Jun 15, 2017 |
I really wanted to like this book. Miller is a very good writer. He is great at bringing his images to life. He gives the reader a lot to think about.

Like our own Middle Ages a Catholic monastery of the future attempts to protect knowledge from destruction by barbarians. In the end man is flawed and learns nothing.

The book has it's flaws. There are some characters and ideas that run for a while, appear important and then are dropped without really making a point.

I enjoyed several portions of the book but mostly continued just to get through it.

Not a story I normally like. ( )
  ikeman100 | Jun 12, 2017 |
The dystopian novel is different from most of the more contemporary ones that I have read. While it is clearly set in a post-apocalyptic world, it deals more with whether man can learn from past mistakes or if human nature & time combine to make that impossible to some extent. Religion (specifically a form of Catholicism) plays a role but actually that was less than I had expected based upon the title and cover art.

My favorite section was the beginning during the new "Dark Ages" but that was probably due in part to the fact that in this section, there's the most hope that the future will be better, or at least different, from the past. Also, I found the finding and puzzling over 'artifacts' fun.

There were some aspects of the story I found perplexing and am still mulling over, such as the recurring old man... ( )
  leslie.98 | May 22, 2017 |
I finally finished this. The first third was very good, an interesting depiction of a post-apocalypse world. The middle third dragged, almost gave up on it. The final third was sweet, powerful, awe-inspiring and terribly sad. I listened to this audiobook on the way to and from work (a half-hour commute). Chapter 27 had me sobbing. The abbot's fight against euthanasia was such a strong witness to the Catholic faith. Prelates like that are few and far between now-a-days.

And of course it's relevant to today as more and more countries get nuclear weapons. ( )
  catquilt74 | Apr 16, 2017 |
Wow. A justifiable classic. I'd tried to read it a loooong time ago, and bounced right off, as they say. It came up in conversation with a coworker, who had just read it and raved about it. So I dusted off my copy and tried again. I am glad I did. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Jon_Hansen | Apr 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, Walter M., Jr.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feck, LouCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marosz, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viskupic, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
a dedication is only
a scratch where it itches—
for ANNE, then
in whose bosom RACHEL lies
muselike
guiding my clumsy song
and giggling between the lines
—with blessings, Lass
W
First words
Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert.
Quotations
There were spaceships again in that century, and the ships were manned by fuzzy impossibilities that walked on two legs and sprouted tufts of hair in unlikely anatomical regions. They were a garrulous kind. They belonged to a race quite capable of admiring its own image in a mirror, and equally capable of cutting its own throat before the alter of some tribal god, such as the deity of Daily Shaving. It was a species which often considered itself to be, basically, a race of divinely inspired tool makers; any intelligent entity from Arcturus would instantly have perceived them to be, basically, a race of impassioned after-dinner speechmakers.
“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew into richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they-this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that Man might hope again in wretched darkness.” (page 285)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Miller published a short story in 1955 with this title. Please do not combine the novel with the short story.
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Book description
Set in a Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks of the fictional Albertian Order of Leibowitz take up the mission of preserving the surviving remnants of man's scientific knowledge until the day the outside world is again ready for it.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060892994, Paperback)

Walter M. Miller's acclaimed SF classic A Canticle for Leibowitz opens with the accidental excavation of a holy artifact: a creased, brittle memo scrawled by the hand of the blessed Saint Leibowitz, that reads: "Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels--bring home for Emma." To the Brothers of Saint Leibowitz, this sacred shopping list penned by an obscure, 20th-century engineer is a symbol of hope from the distant past, from before the Simplification, the fiery atomic holocaust that plunged the earth into darkness and ignorance. As 1984 cautioned against Stalinism, so 1959's A Canticle for Leibowitz warns of the threat and implications of nuclear annihilation. Following a cloister of monks in their Utah abbey over some six or seven hundred years, the funny but bleak Canticle tackles the sociological and religious implications of the cyclical rise and fall of civilization, questioning whether humanity can hope for more than repeating its own history. Divided into three sections--Fiat Homo (Let There Be Man), Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light), and Fiat Voluntas Tua (Thy Will Be Done)--Canticle is steeped in Catholicism and Latin, exploring the fascinating, seemingly capricious process of how and why a person is canonized. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:22 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A monk struggles to preserve spiritual life and wisdom in the years following a nuclear holocaust.

» see all 6 descriptions

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