Race With the Devil

Race With the Devil

My Journey From Racial Hatred to Rational Love

Book - 2013
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Before he was the world's foremost Catholic biographer, Joseph Pearce was a leader of the National Front, a British-nationalist, white-supremacist group. Before he published books highlighting and celebrating the great Catholic cultural tradition, he disseminated literature extolling the virtues of the white race, and calling for the banishment of all non-white from Britain.

Pearce and his cohorts were at the center of the racial and nationalist tensions--often violent--that swirled around London in the late-1970s and early 80s. Eventually Pearce became a top member of the National Front, and the editor of its newspaper, The Bulldog . He was a full-time revolutionary.

In 1982 he was imprisoned for six months for hate speech, but he came out with more anger, and more resolve. Several years later, he was imprisoned again, this time for a year and it spurred a change in his life.

In Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love , Pearce himself takes the reader through his journey from racist revolutionary to Christian, including:
The youthful influences that lead him to embrace the National Front and their racist platform His dark, angry, exhilarating but ultimately empty days as a revolutionary on the front lines His imprisonment and subsequent dark night of the soul The role that Catholic luminaries such as G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and C. S. Lewis played in his conversion from racist radical to joyful Christian And his eventual reception in the Catholic Church Race with the Devil is one man's incredible journey to Christ, but it also much more. It is a testament to God s hand active among us and the infinite grace that Christ pours out on his people, showing that we can all turn--or return--to Christ and his Church.
Publisher: Charlotte, North Carolina : Saint Benedict Press, [2013]
ISBN: 9781618900654
161890065X
Branch Call Number: 921 PEARCE
Characteristics: viii, 247 pages ; 23 cm

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dennismmiller
Sep 15, 2016

Joseph Pearce has garnered some attention in the last decade and a half for his biographical work on literary figures as varied as Solzhenitsyn, Belloc, Chesterton, and Wilde. Most notably he, along with Clare Asquith, can claim credit for having reopened the question of Shakespeare's religious views. In addition, he has produced TV specials on Shakespeare and Tolkien (the latter featuring St Louis' own Kevin O'Brien). What is not known to most of his admirers, at least not on this side of the Atlantic, is that Pearce had attained notoriety in his native England for a rather different set of writings, when he served as the editor of a series of far-right newspapers with titles like Bulldog and Nationalism Today. His first book-length biography had as its subject the racist skinhead band Skrewdriver. As the result of articles he authored, he was twice imprisoned on charges of inciting racial hatred.

This book is Pearce's own story of his life leading up to, and beyond, his conversion to Catholicism in 1987. The weak moral relativism of his schooling proved no barrier to an irrational hatred that fed off of the jingoistic pride he was taught at home. Through his reading of Schumacher and Solzhenitsyn, Lewis and Tolkien, Belloc and Chesterton, Pearce gradually came to recognize the existence of an underlying moral and spiritual order, catalyzing his transformation from militant, imperialistic "Great Britisher" to contemplative, agrarian "Little Englander".

The book has a number of appealing personal touches, as when Pearce interrupts an account of the negative impact his father had on him to reassure the reader that this makes his father seem much worse than he actually was. Likewise, the stories of his riotous exploits as a street brawler are spiced with a kind of guilty pride. Throughout, Pearce is generous to friends and enemies alike, and, at least in retrospect, acutely conscious of the small moments of grace which marked his journey.

If judged by the standard of St Augustine's Confessions, which it deliberately evokes, this work falls short. By almost any other standard, it is a considerable success. With wit and charm, Pearce illustrates that his faith is not the rejection of what is good in the world, but its purification and transcendence.

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