A Review: ‘Peace Be With You’ by David Carlson


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading ‘Peace Be With You’ by David Carlson, due to the fact that I only picked it up because I was intrigued by the basic premise behind it, mainly, the desire to consider the response and reaction to the horror of 9/11 from a monastic perspective.

Carlson, professor in Religious Studies at Franklin College, Indiana in the USA, wrote the book as a result of three personal encounters with the monastic community, that seemingly occurred by coincidence, during the years after that fateful day in September 2001, or three ‘knocks on the door’ as he calls them.  As such, the book is written with two specific questions in mind. “Firstly, how did monks, nuns and retreatants respond when first learning of 9/11? And second, how have they continued to respond to our world of violence and terror, given their spiritual resources and training?”

Carlson attempts to answer these questions by conducting a series of interviews with men and women living the monastic life from across the denominational spectrum, recording their answers and opinions, and then summarising the themes and reactions that he found. Each interview provided him with a different but complimentary perspective of the attocity, which together allowed him to form a window through which he was able to perceive a better way to deal with hurt, pain and conflict.

The book is inspiriational and enlightening, although at times a little hard going.  However, I’m glad I read it, and can honestly say, hand on heart, that my personal response to the events of 9/11, and my general outlook on life for that matter, is different because of it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the US Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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