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Catholics: Britain's Largest Minority - Softcover

 
9780140279238: Catholics: Britain's Largest Minority
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Over the last one hundred years Britain's Catholics have made a long journey from the margins of society to positions of great influence and power. Dennis Sewell charts the lives of Catholic men and women whose voices, whether in politics, journalism, literature or the arts, have made a distinctively Catholic contribution to our national conversation. A host of public figures have joined the Catholic procession down the years. But is Catholicism merely a fashionably nostalgic accessory, as its critics allege, or the only 'ism' to have survived the 20th century intact?

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Review:
In Catholics Sewell charts the rise of Catholicism in Britain from the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in the 19th century to its present status not only as a fashionable religion, but also as a significant cultural force. As a broadcaster Dennis Sewell has a gift for communication. As a cradle Catholic he knows the British Catholic Church from the inside. As a journalist he knows how to marshal the results of his research in an entertaining style.

Graham Greene complained that Catholicism in Britain produced eccentrics when it should have produced revolutionaries. Sewell shows how there have been both. Courageous Catholics have been changing things slowly and subtly in favour of a more Christian culture. Sewell makes his point well. His section on Chesterton and Belloc is good, as is his coverage of Catholics in politics and journalism. The book is marred however by an unbalanced emphasis and a narrow vision. Sewell spends too much time on individuals and issues, and sometimes misses the big picture. He tries to show the growing cultural influence of Catholics, yet little is said of Catholics in music, the fine arts and academia. There is only passing reference to Catholics in television, film or popular writing. There are entertaining chapters on wonderfully eccentric Catholics, but scarcely a mention of the many Catholic charities and pressure groups, which are staffed by hard-working ordinary people. Like many books by journalists, this is an impressionistic work. It is sparkling and entertaining, very good in parts, but more an interesting overview than a comprehensive study. --Dwight Longenecker

From the Publisher:
Praise for 'Catholics' by Dennis Sewell:
"Dennis Sewell has written a stimulating survey of the tribe that lost its strangeness" Hugo Young in the Guardian

"Sewell scores well in his command of history, better in his turn of phrase, and best of all in his delightful vignettes of prominent Catholics" Peter Stanford in The Independent

"This articulate, challenging and often impassioned book, gives a provocative account of the Catholic church in Britain today" Harpers and Queen

"Sewell is excellent at evoking the cultural life of Catholics and what it feels like to be inside the Catholic ghetto" Literary Review

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  • PublisherPenguin
  • Publication date2002
  • ISBN 10 0140279237
  • ISBN 13 9780140279238
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages288
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