Item description for Albert Schweitzer: A Biography (The Albert Schweitzer Library) by James Brabazon...
James Brabazon updates his critically acclaimed biography of humanitarian Albert Schweitzer to include a wealth of recently discovered documents, including the letters between Schweitzer and Helene Bresslau written during the ten years before their marriage.
Brabazon's research has also included recently released documents from the State Department regarding Schweitzer's battle with the United States Atomic Energy Commission to halt H-bomb tests.
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Studio: Syracuse University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 1.2" Weight: 1.76 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2000
Publisher Syracuse University Press
ISBN 0815606753 ISBN13 9780815606758
Availability 118 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 23, 2017 08:30.
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More About James Brabazon
JAMES BRABAZON is an award-winning frontline journalist and documentary filmmaker. Based in London, he has travelled in more than sixty countries investigating, filming and directing in the world's most hostile environments. He has written for The Observer and The Sunday Times, appears as a commentator on CNN and the BBC, and lectures on the ethics and practicalities of reporting conflict.
James Brabazon was born in 1972.
James Brabazon has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Albert Schweitzer: A Biography (The Albert Schweitzer Library)?
Thorough and inspiring Sep 29, 2005
Brabazon thoroughly researched Dr. Schweitzer through reading his personal and professional writings as well as talking to a remarkable number of people who knew him. The result is a book that goes far in providing an understanding of a remarkable personality and a marvelous soul.
Thoroughly researched, fair, and readable Jul 18, 2005
Any biographer attempting to write a life of Albert Schweitzer is facing a herculean task. One must be knowledgeable in widely disparate areas of endeavor: medicine, theology, philosophy, and music. Moreoever, one has to wade through mountains of letter correspondence, books, and articles written by and about Albert Schweitzer, not to mention a willingness to research his family and geographical background. Finally, travel to the places Schweitzer lived and interviews with those who knew him take time and effort to properly digest. James Brabazon has done a magnificent job in combining all these variables into a first rate biography of an amazing man. Not only that, he has fairly evaluated the man and his ideas in light of both the praise and censure Schweitzer received. Moreover, except in a few places where technical writing was necessary, the book seldom drags and makes for good reading, the kind that keeps one interested and wanting more, even when it's time for bed.
Brabazon is clearly won over by Schweitzer's life and ideas, a true disciple. The positive side of this is that he is able to explain (and sometimes defend) Schweitzer's ideas and actions in a convincing fashion. Unlike many who criticized Schweitzer based on cursory observations, Brabazon's thoroughness and enthusiasm allow him to select various passages from letters or works to show Schweitzer's attitudes and philosophies with lucidity. The down side of this (and the reason this book gets four stars instead of five) is that Brabazon shares the same blind spots Schweitzer did, especially with respect to his dubious theology. Schweitzer simply assumed (without hard data or proof) many of his doubts about the veracity of the New Testament; from these assumptions, he built up a very elaborate system of belief that when it comes right down to it is not Christianity but rather ideas that decades later would come to be labeled as New Age. Brabazon seems to think that Schweitzer's work is "objective" and that the reason for much of its unpopularity had to do with its upsetting the status quo as well as local historical factors (such as suspicion of anything German with the advent of World War I). He never openly entertains the idea that many people just plain 'ole don't find Schweitzer's arguments convincing. Nor does he seem to see that if Schweitzer's hubristic assumptions turn out to be wrong - namely, that the New Testament IS historically reliable, that the miracles did occur, that the resurrection did occur, that Jesus did think he was the messiah, that Jesus did not die for an illusion, et. al. - his ENTIRE theological system collapses like a house of cards. (Reader's interested in an alternative to the "if miraculous, then unhistorical" bias against biblical passages may consult C.S. Lewis's essay "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism" in the book "Christian Reflections".)
Brabazon manages to give a fairly even account of Schweitzer for almost the entire book. Unfortunately, in his epilogue, the hagiography he had been at some pains to avoid comes gushing in as he sums up Schweitzer's life with melodramatic hyperbole, e.g., "He was normal, in fact, to an abnormal degree. He was superhumanly human. He was excessively balanced." (Abnormally normal? Superhumanly human? Balanced..excessively??)
Still, taking it all in all, this was a very, very good biography, thoroughly researched, well written, and for the most part fair. He successfully tells the STORY of Schweitzer's life and gives a good idea of what life was like for him as a youth, student, pastor, musician, and physician working under physically demanding circumstances in Gabon, Africa. The second edition is valuable for the additional light thrown on Schweitzer's marriage with Hélène and his valuable role in helping to sway public opinion to bring to light the problems of nuclear testing, eventually resulting in the Test Ban Treaty in August of 1963. If one can manage to take the theology presented in it with a very large grain of salt, one can agree with what Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote: "This biography is, I think, unlikely to be superseded."
An engrossing and thorough biography. Aug 22, 2004
This second edition of Brabazon's incredible biography contains new material regarding the relationship between Schweitzer and his wife, Helene, due to the discovery of numerous letters between them. The author also adds material in the later chapters, focusing on the antagonism that erupted between the United States government and the old doctor, as Schweitzer and other activists, such as Albert Einstein and philosopher, Bertrand Russell, exposed to the public at large the fall-out hazards of the hydrogen bomb testing that the government wanted to keep secret, as the Cold War was then in full swing. This new material is rich in insight, revealing that Albert Schweitzer the myth, the modern saint, "The Greatest Man in the World", was indeed human, and whose long and arduous work in West Africa, paved the way, or at least set an example for present day and future humanitarians.
What is most striking about this man was his incredible capacity for work. He held Doctorates in three major subjects - theology, philosophy and medicine and was an accomplished organist and world expert on Bach. Schweitzer's published works in theology, philosophy and music remain in circulation, which continue to shed light in these areas. His "Reverence for Life" philosophy on the surface, appears almost too simplistic, but on closer examination, is a worldview that encompasses an attitude of mind, that if practiced, could radically change the world for the better. Schweitzer was not a philosopher of the abstract variety, at home in an ivory tower creating complex theories that only a select few would understand. As the man said and wrote many times, "he lived his argument" and his accomplishments certainly prove this.
Brabazon's biography of this great man is thorough. He delightfully brings together Schweitzer's letters, books, articles, and interviews with friends, colleagues and family, including sermons from his early career as a young minister, that tells us that his love of Jesus and the foundations of his philosophy was already set in his mind and spirit, well before embarking into his long and productive life. Brabazon brings Schweitzer to life in these pages as only a great biographer wholly connected to their subject can do. It is extremely well written and engaging.
If you are only slightly interested in one of the great humanitarians of the twentieth century, an intellectual, a man of God, Samaritan, healer and example of goodness, read this engrossing biography - a labor of love and inspiring in every sense.
A New Light Cast On Schweitzer Sep 2, 2001
Albert Schweitzer was at first ignored, then recognized and finally lionized by the world at large, though he preferred to remain at his clinic, or as he put it, "a prisoner of Lambarene." Those of us who have followed his life in serious fashion have often wondered about the exact role of his wife and soul mate, Helene, and now, thanks to James Brabazon, we know. This revised and newly edited biography is at once spell binding and searching as it delves into their relationship as well as Albert's battle with church doctrine and the powers that be. As a former seminarian, now preparing to take a one man AV show about Albert on the road ("Scenes from A Life,") I can assure prospective readers that the book will not disappoint them. If you want to meet the real Schweitzer, warts and all, this is the place to have such an encounter. It will both stun and shock, delight and dismay, but it casts a bright light upon the life of this remarkable man, arguably the quintessential heroic figure of the 20th century. Enjoy!
Revised edition due Fall, 2000 Jun 12, 2000
Syracuse University Press is publishing a revised edition of this book in the Fall of 2000. The new edition will be greatly expanded, making use of newly discovered correspondence covering the ten-year secret relationship between Albert Schweitzer and Helene Bresslau, the woman he was to marry. To Helene alone he revealed every corner of his mind, and heart, spilling the thoughts and feelings that he kept carefully hidden from everyone else who knew him. Here are the struggles of a genius in the making - and also an intensely passionate and quite extraordinary relationship, in which Helene emerges as a rare woman and a worthy partner.
These "love letters" (long thought to be lost but found in an old suitcase by Schweitzer's daughter) have been translated by Antje Lemke, Symposium Advisory Board member and Schweitzer scholar, and will be published in a complete book by Syracuse University Press. Brabazon said, "I have had the privilege of reading these letters and can assure you that they make fascinating reading."
Also new to the general public Brabazon's new edition will give the amazing account of the deep suspicion of the U.S. State Department towards Schweitzer, due to his strong opposition to the hydrogen bomb tests and his refusal to be silenced about the genetic hazards of nuclear explosions.
Lawrence Wittner, State University of New York, and Symposium Advisory Board Member, wrote an article, "Blacklisting Schweitzer," in the May-June,1995, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists where he told for the first time, thanks to the then-recent declassification of key government documents, the dimensions of a bitter conflict between Dr. Schweitzer and the U.S. Government. As Professor Wittner wrote, "To millions, Albert Schweitzer was a saint. But to the Eisenhower crew, he was a dangerous nuisance."
Brabazon will be a guest speaker and sign books on Friday, October 13, at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee.