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Schweitzer: A Biography [Paperback]

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Item Number 144749  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   392
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 31, 2000
Publisher   The Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN  0801864550  
EAN  9780801864551  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

He was an accomplished organist and interpreter of Bach, a crusader for world peace, and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He made his philosophy of "reverence for life" an ethic for the world. The hospital he founded in Lambarn (still in operation in present-day Gabon) is a model of what Europeans might have given to Africans throughout colonial history. But above all, Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was a talented and compassionate human being. This biography probes beyond the timeworn image of Schweitzer as "the old man in the pith helmet" to reveal the philosopher, scholar, husband, father, humanitarian, and liberal rebel in a conservative church.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Sensitive, moving and inspiring...  Nov 24, 2003
This is a fine biography of one of the greatest humanitarians of the twentieth century. During his lifetime, (ninety years) Schweitzer the great man transformed into Schweitzer the great myth; the great white hope, saving the bodies and souls of the primitive black man of Africa. In our post colonial age, with its post modern, abstract cultural theories of the `other', Schweitzer became an easy target for cultural critics, using the man and his work as representative of everything evil about the self-perceived superiority of Western man over `primitive cultures'. It is without question, that, for the most part, European imperialism justified their greedy exploitation of developing countries as efforts to `civilize' them. Our culture, knowledge and religion were superior to these `savages', and while we stole their natural resources, we gave them enlightenment. Further to this, however, as we stole and enlightened, we also gave them our diseases, which, in some cases, virtually wiped out entire peoples. From the very beginning, Albert Schweitzer was aware of the European's injustices to these people, and deeply felt some kind of atonement or restitution had to be made. Schweitzer's intention was to essentially help; his inspiring example paved the way for present humanitarian organizations to make a difference or at least become more effective in their aid. This biography successfully dismantles the `great white hope' myth, and presents the man as an insightful critic of Western values and traditional theology, a man who lived his philosophy - or as Schweitzer said, "Live his argument". One can never truly understand or judge someone based on what they say or what they write; only through the results of a person's actions can we really know them. Marshall and Poling's biography of Schweitzer includes his writing and many quotes from conversations and interviews, but argue his greatness from the stand point of his actions. In other words, his fifty years of service and the establishment of the Lambarene hospital, speaks for itself.

Schweitzer became aware of his mission to serve his fellow travellers on this planet somewhat late in life. An established philosopher and theologian at age thirty, a principal of a respected seminary, he awoke one morning to realize everything life had given him, and it was time to give back. After reading an article calling for trained medical staff to work in West Africa, he knew what he needed to do. Against heavy opposition from family and friends, he returned to university as a mature-aged student to study medicine, attaining his degree. The public know much about his early life but as his daughter, Rhena Schweitzer, writes in the Forward, "It is the first biography that gives an account of the last years of my fathers live. It helps explain and dissipates some of the false ideas about his relationship to the Africans." This book dispels these falsehoods and myths, and is also a sensitive and objective appraisal of a man and his life.

An inspiring read.

'My Life Is My Argument' Albert Schweitzer  Feb 4, 2003
A brilliant bravo to a task well done. G. Marshall & D. Poling have captured succinctly the life of the last of the 'Enlightenment' minds. Albert Schweitzer was true to the principles of reason, naturalism and thought. He took these principles and undauntedly applied them to his religion and his culture. Albert Schweitzer was a critic of Christianity and modern civilization and this book captures Albert Schweitzer, "the critic".

In the world and church around him he saw conformity and the lack of individual reflection. This is a book about a nonconformism, a brilliant theologian/philosopher and a humanitarian genius.

Unlike other biographies of Schweitzer I have read, these authors write with a fluid, engaging style, pulling you closer to the man that they knew and profiled. Albert Schweitzer lived 90 years and the length of his life is a challenge that biographers must face. They must capture the individualistic spirit of Albert Schweitzer youth, the brilliance of his middle years and the tenacity of his old age.

Albert Schweitzer's Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 spoke of his sacrificial work in Africa, his vital practical philosophy of life, his call to clear comprehension of the historic Jesus that Christianity needs to embrace, his musical brilliance, his compassion for the animal kingdom and his love of healing. Yet, to brush stroke with ink a portrait of this unbelievable figure is a demanding undertaking and Marshall and Poling have done it right, and they did right to one of the greatest personalities of the twentieth century. Strongly recommended. 4.5 Stars.


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