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C. S. Lewis in a Time of War: The World War II Broadcasts that Riveted a Nation and Became Mere Christianity
Zondervan/HarperSanFrancisco / Hardcover
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A behind-the-scenes look at four remarkable BBC radio broadcasts and the enthusiasm they generated during the bombing of London. Lewis explores what nearly all Christians at all times held in common. These talks then became the basis for his best-selling work of apologetics, Mere Christianity. 336 pages, hardcover.
C. S. Lewis is universally recognized as one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century. A noted scholar, Lewis was able to reach a vast popular audience during his lifetime and continues to attract thousands of new readers every year. But how did Lewis first become a popular public figure? During the most desperate years of World War II, Lewis was asked by the British Broadcasting Corporation's recently created Home Service to give radio addresses on Christianity to a nation shaken by war. The choice was controversial. At first dismissed by critics as a layman who was unqualified to tackle such weighty issues, Lewis proved to be enormously persuasive. These radio talks were eventually published as Mere Christianity, which now ranks as one of the great classics of religious literature.
This rich chapter in Lewis's life, which deals with his love-hate relationship with the "new" medium of broadcasting, has received little attention from biographers and commentators. Yet it was Lewis's work on the radio that made him a household name. By combining narrative skill and adroitly quoting from correspondence, Phillips captures Lewis's reservations, vexations, achievements, and, finally, his enormous success.
C. S. Lewis in a Time of War is a fascinating look at how these talks were created and the enthusiastic response they generated at a time when bombing in London caused many radio stations to be evacuated. This book reveals a rich, previously untapped vein of Lewis's life and work that will intrigue his millions of fans.
Justin Phillips was a radio journalist for the BBC for over twenty years. He worked in the World Service and was deputy editor of The World Tonight. He was an elder at his local church and a frequent speaker and preacher about Christianity, the media, and the relationship between the two. Phillips died in 2000, just before his fiftieth birthday, soon after submitting this finished manuscript. His oldest daughter, Laura Treneer, acted as his editor and brought the manuscript forward to publication.
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