John Ames, 76-year-old Congregationalist minister and narrator of Marilynne Robinson’s stunning novel Gilead, keeps his old sermons in boxes in the attic. “Pretty nearly my whole life’s work is in those boxes,” he says.
It is a little unusual for a biography (William Sloane Coffin Jr.: A Holy Impatience) to be published when its subject is not only alive but is the author of his own just-published best-seller (Credo). Bill Coffin, however, is anything but usual.
A good biography, expertly researched and finely crafted, conveys not just the trajectory of someone’s life but also a feeling for the era in which the person lived. This superb telling of the “still far from finished” life of William Sloane Coffin is just such an accomplishment.
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