A Penny a Copy : Readings from The Catholic Worker edited by Thomas C. Cornell and James H. Forest
New York : Macmillian, 1968. First Edition. Hardcover. 271 pages ; 21 cm. $6.95 dust jacket unclipped. Foxing to front and rear endpapers. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
Urging a bit of subtle sabotage against the Brooklyn light company one minute, weighing the meaning of the life of St. Francis the next, these writings from the last four decades of The Catholic Worker form an unparalleled record of the development of radical Catholic social thought in the United States.
Compassionate, quirky, intelligent, highly personal, invariably interesting, they exude that special brand of gentle anarchy that has been the hallmark of the Worker since Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded it in 1933 to bring the Catholic Church into the social-action movements of the Depression period.
Many of the more famous writers included here have made an important impact on the Catholic community in the mid-twentieth century, among them Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, Thomas Merton, Gordon Zahn, Robert Ludlow, Tom Sullivan, John Cogley, and Eileen Fantino Diaz. Others, more obscure, wrote once, left their mark, and moved on never to be heard from again.
But all have had something urgent and valuable to say about racism, pacifism, or other major social issues that continue to convulse America, and about important human themes such as life on the land and the brotherhood of man. They say it eloquently here in writ-ings whose subjects range widely and wildly from draft resistance to the death of a friend, from alcoholism to the obliteration bombing of Hiroshima, from Albert Camus to the virtues of Irish culture.
The Catholic Worker has been a phenomenon in Catholic life. The impact of its extraordinarily influential mode of thought has been felt throughout the American Catholic Church. Out of it has grown most of the social concern that now actively shows itself within Catholicism.
A Penny a Copy is a vivid testament to the animating spirit that launched—and continues to sustain—that concern.
THOMAS CORNELL and JAMES FOREST, both coordinators of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, are frequent contributors to Catholic and Protestant publications. Both lecture throughout the country and are actively concerned with the peace movement.
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