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Paula Fredriksen's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Paula Fredriksen recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Paula Fredriksen's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Christ Stopped at Eboli

'We're not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.' Exiled to a remote and barren corner of Italy for his opposition to Mussolini, Carlo Levi entered a world cut off from history and the state, hedged in by custom and sorrow, without comfort or solace, where, eternally patient, the peasants lived in an age-old stillness and in the presence of death - for Christ did stop at Eboli. less
Recommended by Paul Theroux, Paula Fredriksen, and 2 others.

Paul TherouxI chose this book because not many people know it – it’s hardly on every bookshelf. Carlo Levi was an Italian Jew from Florence, banished in the 1930s by the Mussolini government for criticising the war in Ethiopia. He is sent to the ends of the earth, and it happens that the ends of the earth in Italy is southern Italy. (Source)

Paula FredriksenThis is such a beautiful memoir. Levi was in political exile for a year under Mussolini, sent to a very impoverished town in the south of Italy. Levi himself is from Turin – aristocratic, well educated, left-leaning politically, very urban and urbane. This tiny dusty town shocks him, both its poverty and its class structure. (Source)

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These two classic works capture the tide of world events even as they unfold the compelling tale of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

The multimillion-copy bestsellers that capture all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of the Second World War -- and that constitute Wouk's crowning achievement -- are available for the first time in trade paperback.
Recommended by Paula Fredriksen, and 1 others.

Paula FredriksenWouk writes an enormous panoramic novel about World War II. War and Remembrance is the second half of this two-volume novel – the first half is The Winds of War. He gathers a cast of characters who lead the reader across continents into different theatres of the conflict. His prose is very clear and unsentimental as he narrates one horror after another. This war really was a global convulsion,... (Source)

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A Biography

Miles shows us God in the guise of a great literary character, the hero of the Old Testament. In a close, careful, and inspired reading of that testament - book by book, verse by verse - God is seen from his first appearance as Creator to his last as Ancient of Days. The God whom Miles reveals to us is a warrior whose greatest battle is with himself. We see God torn by conflicting urges. To his own sorrow, he is by turns destructive and creative, vain and modest, subtle and naive, ruthless and tender, lawful and lawless, powerful yet powerless, omniscient and blind. As we watch him change... more
Recommended by Paula Fredriksen, and 1 others.

Paula FredriksenThis is not a book of theology or a book of biblical criticism – it’s a brilliant literary and psychoanalytically informed thought experiment. Miles treats the arc of biblical writings in their Jewish sequence (the order of books in the Christian Old Testament is different). He reads from Genesis to Second Chronicles, interpreting these texts as if they formed one continuous narrative tracing the... (Source)

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This classic biography was first published thirty years ago and has since established itself as the standard account of Saint Augustine's life and teaching. The remarkable discovery recently of a considerable number of letters and sermons by Augustine has thrown fresh light on the first and last decades of his experience as a bishop. These circumstantial texts have led Peter Brown to reconsider some of his judgments on Augustine, both as the author of the Confessions and as the elderly bishop preaching and writing in the last years of Roman rule in north Africa. Brown's reflections on... more
Recommended by Robin Lane Fox, Paula Fredriksen, and 2 others.

Robin Lane FoxPeter Brown’s immense strength is placing the changes in Augustine’s outlook against the changing tone and social pressures of the eras and locations in which he moved. (Source)

Paula FredriksenBrown relates a life story that lets us understand Augustine, sympathise with him and even to like and to respect him. That’s great writing. (Source)

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Augustine's Confessions is one of the most influential and most innovative works of Latin literature. Written in the author's early forties in the last years of the fourth century A.D. and during his first years as a bishop, they reflect on his life and on the activity of remembering and interpreting a life. Books I-IV are concerned with infancy and learning to talk, schooldays, sexual desire and adolescent rebellion, intense friendships and intellectual exploration. Augustine evolves and analyses his past with all the resources of the reading which shaped his mind: Virgil and Cicero,... more

Susan JacobyThe Confessions is a book that everybody should read. It is seminal, if you can excuse the expression. (Source)

Carlos EireSt Augustine of Hippo was one of the first thinkers to struggle with the concepts of time, memory and eternity. (Source)

Richard HarriesHe was a wonderful, wonderful writer and a deeply passionate man. He was very sensual. (Source)

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