The opening lines of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri launched Rod Dreher on a journey that rescued him from exile and saved his life. Dreher found that the medieval poem offered him a surprisingly practical way of solving modern problems.
Following the death of his little sister and the publication of his New York Times bestselling memoir The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Dreher found himself living in the small community of Starhill, Louisiana where he grew up. But instead of the fellowship he hoped to find, he discovered that fault lines within his family had deepened. Dreher spiraled into depression and a stress-related autoimmune disease. Doctors told Dreher that if he didn’t find inner peace, he would destroy his health. Soon after, he came across The Divine Comedy in a bookstore and was enchanted by its first lines, which seemed to describe his own condition.
In the months that followed, Dante helped Dreher understand the mistakes and mistaken beliefs that had torn him down and showed him that he had the power to change his life. Dreher knows firsthand the solace and strength that can be found in Dante’s great work, and distills its wisdom for those who are lost in the dark wood of depression, struggling with failure (or success), wrestling with a crisis of faith, alienated from their families or communities, or otherwise enduring the sense of exile that is the human condition.
Inspiring, revelatory, and packed with penetrating spiritual, moral, and psychological insights, How Dante Can Save Your Life is a book for people, both religious and secular, who find themselves searching for meaning and healing. Dante told his patron that he wrote his poem to bring readers from misery to happiness. It worked for Rod Dreher. Dante saved Rod Dreher’s life—and in this book, Dreher shows you how Dante can save yours.
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About the Author
Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative and the author of Crunchy Cons and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Post, the Dallas Morning News, National Review, First Things, and the Wall Street Journal, and broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC Radio. He lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Dante? xiii
Part I From the Garden to the Dark Wood 1
1 The Child Is Father to the Man 3
2 There and Back Again-Twice 16
3 The Super Tuscan 36
4 The Rides of the Road 43
Part II Inferno, Or, Why You Are Broken 51
5 The Stories of Our Lives 53
6 Into the Black Hole 64
7 The Tempest 72
8 Uncle Jimmy Versus the Golden Calf 85
9 The Life of Books, the Books of Life 95
10 The Power of the Image 106
11 False Gods and Heretics 117
12 Is Life Ever Not Worth Living? 128
13 The Great and the Good 137
14 Sins of the Fathers 149
15 The End of All Our Exploring 160
16 Out of Egypt 170
Part III Purgatorio, Or, How to Be Healed 181
17 Stand Up and Walk 183
18 The Will to Love 195
19 The Ghost in You 207
20 Pride 215
21 Envy 224
22 Wrath 231
23 Sloth 237
24 Gluttony 246
25 Lust 253
Part IV Paradiso, Or, the Way Things Ought to Be 267
26 Into the Light 269
27 Down by the Riverside 282
Conclusion: How to Make Your Own Dante Pilgrimage 293
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm about 10 pages from finishing this book and the more I read the harder it was to put down. I've been following Rod on and off since his days at National Review. Rod has written a book about self examination and self improvement using the story of his own life and the lessons that can be learned from Dante's Divine Comedy. The book is easy to read and easily holds your attention. The book is a Christian's guide to understanding the weakness of man and how to reform through God's grace and mercy. Rod describes how he has begun and continues the process of reforming himself. There were times that it brought me to tears. It has helped me to examine myself. May God bless you and your family Rod.
Rod writes about his soul struggles and parallel journey to Dante's with crystal clear spiritual vision
Rod Dreher's third book is his best yet. It tells the story of how a 700 year old poem pulled the author out of a sever depression. It is a joy to read and it is loaded with practical advice.