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Born in 1915 in France to artists—an American mother with Quaker roots from New York, and a New Zealand-born father—Thomas Merton would become one of the twentieth century’s most influential spiritual leaders. Baptized as a Catholic at age twenty-six, he joined a Trappist monastery near Louisville a year later. From that point on, his spiritual side exploded into a tsunami of directions—Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and more. At age thirty-three, he became a best-selling author, beginning with his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. He corresponded with Nobel Prize laureates and other literary and political luminaries. His public opposition to the Vietnam War assured his worldwide celebrity. In late 1968, at the peak of his popularity, Merton died in Thailand after addressing a conference of Western Christian monks and nurses stationed in Asia. For decades it was thought that, wet from a shower, he was electrocuted by a faulty standing fan. But for a growing number of his admirers there were dark suspicions that he might well have been assassinated by those who feared his antiwar message. In 2013 the author and his wife Sharon retraced Merton’s last days in Thailand. This book tells what they learned.”
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About the Author
Jerome Donovan has many years of legal experience in developing countries. He is also the author of Kierkegaard’s Clown (iUniverse, 2007). He and his wife Sharon live in Iowa near three of their eight grandchildren.