cover image The Courage for Truth: The Letters of Thomas Merton

The Courage for Truth: The Letters of Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton. Farrar Straus Giroux, $25 (314pp) ISBN 978-0-374-13055-8

Famed Trappist monk Thomas Merton corresponded with an extraordinary range of writers, among them Evelyn Waugh, Henry Miller, Jacques Maritain, Walker Percy and William Carlos Williams. He spoke out boldly against political oppression, social injustice, racism and nuclear weapons, and expressed solidarity with Boris Pasternak, Czeslaw Milosz and James Baldwin. His letters to Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal and to Argentine feminist Victoria Ocampo reflect his deep love of Latin American culture. Spanning the years from 1948 to Merton's death in 1968, this fourth volume of his correspondence shows the crystallization of his belief that speaking the truth is an obligation which ultimately brings persons of integrity into confrontation with power structures and vested interests. Highly articulate and quietly inspirational, these letters also testify to Merton's conviction that contemplation is the source from which all action should flow. Bochen is secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society. (Aug.)