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Synopsis

Witness to Freedom is the fifth and final volume in the extraordinary correspondence of “one of the most original and challenging minds of the mid-twentieth century” (John Tracy Ellis, The New York Times Book Review). Dramatic and revealing, these letters deal with periods of serious crisis in Thomas Merton’s life and vocation, giving readers, in his own words, the details and behind-the-scene facts of his personal struggles as well as his lifelong commitment to peace.

This remarkable collection includes the unpublished “Cold War Letters” (as well as a complete list of the series), with Merton’s original preface, which confirms their continuing relevance in the cause of peace. There are letters to ecologist Rachel Carson; artist and type designer Victor Hammer; Merton’s friend and agent Naomi Burton Stone; his teacher Mark Van Doren; the Canadian philosopher Leslie Dewart; the French Arabic scholar Louis Massignon; and other famous as well as unknown correspondents. There is a courageous open letter to the American hierarchy on the issue of war. Witness to Freedom shows Merton as a living witness against war, perhaps one of the greatest of our century.

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