In this series of notes, opinions, experiences, and reflections, Thomas Merton examines some of the most urgent questions of our age With his characteristic forcefulness and candor, he brings the reader face to face with such provocative and controversial issues as the death of God, politics, modern life and values, and racial strife issues that are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander is Merton at his best detached but not unpassionate, humorous yet sensitive, at all times alive and searching, with a gift for language which has made him one of the most widely read and influential spiritual writers of our time

10 thoughts on “Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Image Classic)

  1. Summer Summer says:

    This is not one of Thomas Merton you usually buy I got it for a particular reference in another book This book certainly has some insights, but also some moans about the modern 1960s generation and social attitudes, quite unlike most of his other writings.

  2. Customer Customer says:

    it s okay

  3. Barbara C Quilty Barbara C Quilty says:

    Came very quickly a very good read.

  4. Customer Customer says:

    An amazing insight into global problems from a monk who spent his life in devotion to God..

  5. Malcolm H Moore Malcolm H Moore says:


  6. Kim Reinhard Kim Reinhard says:

    Still the best review of the sickness of modern western society.

  7. Pauly Pauly says:

    I bought Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander for a friend I have it on my Kindle and read it frequently, like every other day I enjoy reading and talking about statements that really smart people make about thiings and Fr Merton gives one much to think about There are times when I simply can t follow him because I guess I m too dense which is why I got this My friend in Florida and I in Miissouri can have quiet discussions about Merton s view of politics, personal relations with God,his views on Church doctrine, and his wonderful thoughts on nature I have enjoyed this book for a very long time It is so nice to be given a chance to read the views of a man who seems to follow a bright path with strength and dignity I never did read this in a linear fashion , but just dove in I think that s a good way to go He, in a preface says that these are collected writings from different periods finally laced together in this book So i figured I can start someplace and see where it goes It s been a wonderful ride

  8. Joyce Joyce says:

    Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander is a collection of reflections on the world in the 1960s which illumine what is happening now Merton discusses JFK, LBJ, Pope John XXIII, Gandhi, truth and violence lying is the mother of violence , dissent, the death of God, war, racial strife, as well as the thought of diverse authors including Camus, Bonhoeffer, and de Chardin Here are excerpts from Merton s conjectures on our technological culture Our civilization is strictly servile We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have for their usefulness When man is reduced to his function he is placed in a servile, alienated condition He exists for someone else or even worse for some thing else Hence he cannot enjoy life Do yourself a favor Hang out with Thomas Merton.

  9. Rocky Raccoon Rocky Raccoon says:

    Thomas Merton was a troubadour of contemplative life from America s Gesthemane Abbey His books, including the famous autobiography Seven Storey Mountain have made him one of the greatest spiritual writers from America While this reviewer has read nearly a dozen of his sage works, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander is among his most colorful and engaging Journal like in its presentation and conception, Merton reflects upon the headlines of the Black Movement, Kennedy s assassination, and the Cuban Missile crisis with great depth and insight The wisdom he provides doesn t date the topics he covers Conjectures would be fine as a historical document, but his commentary provides than an antidote for history repeating itself There are also trappings no pun intended of his little anecdotes of the monk s life His observations of new candidates and the liturgical calendar hold simple truths that we can embrace with the variety of seasons.I would hope every Catholic, and every non Catholic, would embrace this book It straddles the value of Eastern spirituality and widens the scope of Catholic experience While many conservatives embrace G.K Chesterton and Peter Kreeft as beacons of light and truth, Thomas Merton expands the scope and splendour of that truth without contradiction Personally, I loved the part where Merton talked about medeival Passion plays demonizing Jews He railed against the practice, and I read it just when the controversy about Passion of the Christ was brewing, just before its release I could see why there was so much trepidation after reading his historical perspective.

  10. Carol A Carol A says:

    I ve read numerous Merton books and biographies, including the 7 volumes of his journals which were published posthumously In this book, much of what appears in some of his other books is reprised, and added to It s a compilation of his most profound spiritual, social, and personal beliefs and struggles, plus a good dose of Merton humor I hope his books never go out of print as they seem to embrace the major concerns that span all the intervening decades since he first wrote about them.