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The Spiral Staircase


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* Lead title A raw, intensely personal memoir of spiritual exploration from one of the world's great commentators on religion. * A profound journey into the heart and soul of a highly acclaimed author * The Spiral Staircase has sold over 8000 copies to date in the UK in hardback * Armstrong is also the best-selling author of A History of God, Holy War and The Battle for God

About the Author

Karen Armstrong spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun; in 1969 she left and took an Oxford degree, and spent ten years teaching at the Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism and the Training of Rabbis and Teachers. She is also an honorary member of the Association of Muslim Social Sciences. She is the author of many books, including the best-selling A History of God. Since September 11th, Karen Armstrong has addressed many bodies on the issues of Islam and fundamentalism, including US Congress, the UN and Canadian parliament. Her books have been translated into over forty languages.


In 1962, at the age of 17, Armstrong decided to devote her life to the Catholic Church, entering the convent during a time of great change (pre-Vatican II). The nine months she spent as a postulant were "the old regime at its best." She was allowed to enter Oxford University and found great stimulation in the study of English literature and her preparation to be a teacher. Eventually she applied the critical-analytical skills she was learning to her life as a novice. Finding her vocation as a "natural student," she asked to be allowed to leave the convent. Twelve years later, Armstrong felt the need to write about her depression, her anxiety, and her inexplicable seizures. After having built a life and giving herself some distance from her earlier experiences, she is able to look at her younger self with great tenderness, humor, and objectivity. A lovely rite of passage, this program is recommended for all public and academic libraries with large audio and spiritual collections. Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

'An exceptionally impressive autobiography... Karen Armstrong's account of her spiralling journey provokes thought and inspires respect' Daily Telegraph 'The book deserves many readers! Karen Armstrong must be a Woman of Iron to have survived, made a career and a life.' Hilary Mantel 'Admirably lucid... she gives a more exact and vivid account of the pleasures of writing than any I have seen' Sunday Times 'Unputdownable - absorbing, moving' Daily Mail 'A subtle and funny memoir' Sunday Telegraph Praise for The History for God: 'Only those who think they know it all will fail to be fascinated by Armstrong's search for God.' The Economist 'Highly readable and ought to be read!.Karen Armstong has read widely, has missed nothing, and gives us as solid a purview of the God of the past as it would be possible to find in a book,' Anthony Burgess, Observer 'Karen Armstrong is a genius.' A. N. Wilson

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