Magazine article The Spectator

Stuart Reid

Magazine article The Spectator

Stuart Reid

Article excerpt

The book that gave me most satisfaction was Dorothy Day A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles (Perseus Books, $16.50), which I found in the gift shop of an old church in Lower Manhattan. Dorothy Day - founder of the Catholic Worker Movement and patron saint of mass protest - is now being considered for canonisation. She died in New York in 1980 aged 83, having spent much of her life among the poor, first as a socialist agitator, then as an RC activist. She was a single mum. She did time in jail. Her lifelong battle against war and Wall Street, together with her profound orthodoxy, will no doubt recommend her to the present Pope.

The book that gave me most pleasure was an oldie: Naples '44 (Eland, L9.99) by Norman Lewis. If you haven't read it, for God's sake do so: it is enchanting. Lewis was an Intelligence Officer in southern Italy at the end of the war, and fell in love with the place. The poverty and gangsterism he encountered were terrible, but the gaiety and stoicism of the people were uplifting, and the superstition was aweinspiring. …

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