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What is revealed is a man at once engagingly straightforward and wholly bound up with bearing witness to the “truth, the love and the joy that comes from conversion to Christ,” as George Weigel writes in his Foreword.
This is a solid and sensible biography, but it is not a scintillating one. I have the impression that Adam Sisman is a little wary of his subject; he indicates respect for Hugh Trevor-Roper, but not affection. Yet without personal warmth to some degree, it is hard to catch the reader’s imagination.
I began this novel, set in Germany between the two world wars, after watching Valkyrie. I found the film both shallow and grandiose, dominated by clicking heels and clashing chords; the choice of Tom Cruise to play Claus von Stauffenberg was singularly inept.
On being taken to Mass in the underground basilica at Lourdes, the late Msgr. Alfred Gilbey, that most courteous of men, was moved to comment, “It reminds me of nothing so much as a Nazi rally.”
In order to lead meaningful lives we need to dig below the surface of worldly ambition and success.
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