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The Screwtape Letters Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Mar 17 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Revised ed. edition (March 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060652896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060652890
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Why get a new Screwtape Letters? I love the feel and look of this annotated edition. …I love the addition of red ink inside this book for the notes. There are a couple of hundred helpful annotations that first-time and veteran readers will find intriguing.” (Read the Spirit)

“This book is sparkling yet truly reverent, in fact a perfect joy, and should become a classic.” (Guardian)

“Excellent, hard-hitting, challenging, provoking.” (Observer)

“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Apparently this Oxford don and Cambridge professor is going to be around for a long time; he calls himself a dinosaur but he seems to speak to people where they are.” (The Washington Post Book World)

“[The Screwtape Letters] show[s] his ability to dramatize: to set forth an attractive vision of the Christian life, proceeding by means of character and plot to narrate an engaging story, everything colorful, vibrant, and active.” (Christianity Today)

“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.” (Christianity Today)

From the Back Cover

Screwtape is an experienced devil. His nephew Wormwood is just beginning his demonic career and has been assigned to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. In this humorous exchange, C. S. Lewis delves into moral questions about good v. evil, temptation, repentance, and grace. Through this wonderful tale, the reader emerges with a better knowledge of what it means to live a good, honest life.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The only C.S. Lewis I had ever read up to this point was the Narnia series, when I was a kid. Those were great books that probably deserve a rereading at some point, even though I'm much older now. The Screwtape Letters find Lewis waxing on his favorite topic: Christianity. The book is a series of letters from Screwtape, a high-ranking administrator in Hell, to his nephew Wormwood, who is a tempter of man. The whole book is a wicked satire that Lewis pulls off well. Not only is this book fun to read, it has a serious message, too.
I found myself laughing quite a bit with this book, although the laughter tends to be the nervous sort of chuckling that comes from discomfort. Too many times I found myself described within these pages. Especially when Screwtape discusses the types of laughter found among man and how these can be turned to good use in gaining souls for Hell. The most useful type of laughter for Satan is flippancy, when man laughs because he can always see a ridiculous side to everything. It is most useful because men who do this will never take anything as seriously as they should, especially the "Enemy" (the term Screwtape uses to describe God). Another interesting chapter deals with Jesus and the tendency of moderns to try to define and describe Jesus in terms that should be alien to him. Screwtape delights in efforts to make Jesus a Communist, a social theoretician or a magician/philosopher. All of these efforts divert man from whom and what Jesus really was. Screwtape also cackles over intellectuals, who are corrupted by the historical point of view. Intellectuals don't look for truth in what they read; they analyze writing styles, context, and historicity. By not looking for the truth, they are confused and turned away from God.
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Format: Paperback
I often say that almost all of my theology comes from reading "The Narnia Suite," which I read for the first time at the age of eight, and more than a dozen times thereafter. I was particularly taken with The Last Battle, in which some people are very surprised indeed to learn that those they thought wouldn't be admitted into Aslan's Land because they fought on "The Wrong Side" of the aforementioned last battle, were in fact instantly admitted because it was their intention and their heart which was judged.

When I was a little older, someone gave me a copy of "The Screwtape Letters," and I have read it probably a dozen or more times over the years as well. Brilliant, allegorical, hilarious in parts, and filled with gentle wisdom, it is a theological masterpiece. I recall the first time I the letter in which one devil brags that he will soon win his first soul for the devil because although the man continues to pray, he doesn't believe what he says any longer. The older, wiser devil releases a stream of invective and explains the younger devil is an idiot, because doesn't the know that "those are the prayers that God loves best!?" How relieved I felt, as a young person, that there was a possibility God might still embrace me, even with all my doubts. Just one of the many gifts Lewis's work offers to those of us searching for a deeper relationship with God.
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Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis is an awesome writer, both with fiction and non-fiction. In the Screwtape Letters, as you already know, Screwtape is writing letters of advice to Wormwood, about how to tempt and otherwise pervert the ways of his "patient".
It can be tough, grueling reading at times, but it so perfectly illuminates the sinful side of everyone...and can be an indicator of what NOT to do!
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I picked up this book because it was recommended to me as very funny and, having been a huge fan of The Chronicles of Narnia as a child, I wanted to read an example of C.S. Lewis's overt literary argument for Christianity. I thought I might find a Christian counterpoint to Twain's Letters from the Earth. I'm afraid I was somewhat disappointed.
The Screwtape Letters is an epistolary novel with the central conceit being that C.S. Lewis has recovered letters of advice that a Demon from the depths -- Screwtape -- had written to one of his foot soldiers -- Wormwood -- whose job it was to stick by a mortal and suggest certain lines of thought to him and exaggerate certain emotions in key moments, leading him astray. We are only privy to Screwtape's letters, and it is through his criticism of his apprentice's efforts, and his advice, that the reader is to divine the mortal's story, the efforts of Wormwood, and the nature and methods of Evil and Good.
But Screwtape is Evil, and thus his advice may not necessarily be intended to help his charge, and I think we are to take The Screwtape Letters as an investigation into the psychology of Evil as it reveals itself in the mischievous advice. The difficulty in knowing which advice is straightforward is illustrative of Lewis's epistemology, "A great human philosopher nearly let our secret out when he said that where Virtue is concerned 'Experience is the mother of illusion' ...." -- which is also a dig at the modernist concept of the untrustworthy author. In the final analysis there's not much you can do with liars outside of laugh at them. Hence, "A more modern writer -- someone with a name like Pshaw -- has, however, grasped the truth.
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