The, Screwtape Letters: Annotated Edition

By C. S. Lewis

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I thought the Screwtape letters were quite good, very thought provoking and challenging. Although it was good, it is certainly no sci-fi novel, and it can be difficult to read. All the same, I highly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
What can one say about this little gem of a book? Thought provoking and perfectly relevant for all times. Do the evils of man mirror Hell, or does Hell mirror the evils of man? This book answers that question very nicely.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lyz russo
The Annotated edition was just great. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to read The Screwtape Letters, unless you have the same literary and educational background as C.S.Lewis. It makes it much easier to follow.
The Great ... The Abolition of Man - The Screwtape Letters :: The True Story of the Vatican's Secret Search - The Fisherman's Tomb :: A Grief Observed :: First Ever Full-cast Dramatization of the Diabolical Classic (Radio Theatre) :: A Bible Study on the C.S. Lewis Book The Screwtape Letters (CS Lewis Study Series)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
amy grossman
C. S. Lewis uses a unique method to introduce new ways of looking at Christian faith. It makes you think about how easy it is to fall, what matters about how we live our lives and how evil happens. However, the annotated version is difficult to navigate on the Kindle--you have to remember your location number when you go to an endnote so you can get back to where you are reading--so I have to use my Kindle and a note pad. I usually do not bother with the notes, which makes the regular (and cheaper) version more
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steven watt
C.S. Lewis is brilliant. I hope this book is used for study in our school system. Very thought provoking, eye-opening, and educational. Not a fast read, but not a book when completed, will ever be forgotten.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is one of Lewis' most spiritually/emotionally perceptive books and also has the benefit of being short and sweet. Maybe too sweet as it's often neglected - a resident of guest rooms and considered weak compared to even the Narnia chronicles. But here is an annotated version which I hate to say is kind of unambitious. The annotator meant to mollify Lewis' adopted son (and copyright owner) by not going through academic maturbation and annotating everything in tedious and over speculative detail. On one level this works. He annotates a lot of queer things original to '30's and 40's Britain few BritIsh and hardly any Americans would recognize. But than he absolutely refuses to go further and the annotations given tend to be quite trivial. This isn't horrible but at the same time it's kind of pointless. The time difference isn't near as remote as say, Tudor, Georgian, or even Victorian Britain. Most readers can get what Lewis said. I read the book as a child and while I never knew what the game "Conkers" entailed, now that I know thanks to this book it provides no added value. A little academic indulgence would have been welcome to expand on what Lewis offered. Even if it was wrong IMO. As it is, I get the feeling the annotator could just as well handed the task off to his great great grandson 100 years hence for when people are really confused by the mid 20th century.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mavamarie vandervennet
I paid extra for the Annotated Edition, but it was a waste of money. While reading the main text, the highlighted footnote numbers, on the e-version, when selected, would not take me to the annotation. The annotations are at the back of the book. If I went directly to the annotation, and selected the annotation number, it would take me back to the text. I venture that most readers would rather go from the main text to the annotations. Many of the annotations were nothing more than definitions that would have been more easily accessed via the built in dictionary. Other annotations appeared to be nothing more than idle thoughts of the annotation author, not what I would expect in conjunction with this type of book. Skip this annotated version and enter your own random thoughts of the original work.

I originally read this thinking it might be an interesting juxtaposition to Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth. I was disappointed in that regard. C.S. Lewis is no Mark Twain. This attempt at satire seems to lack all sense of humor, and at times even argues against itself. Still, it was good to experience this work from an academic perspective, if only, because it is so often quoted.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Screwtape Letters is a masterful work of Christian fiction, allegory, and satire that is recognized globally. However, I have found it to be a hot-button piece with as many people loving it as hating it. I wouldn't say I fall into the "love camp," but I definitely have a great respect for it and C.S. Lewis for writing it. Parts of the book still send chills up my spine, and it took a special author to go that dark place in his mind and write a book of this nature. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis' death, HarperOne published an Annotated Edition of this book.

For those unfamiliar with the Screwtape Letters, I will provide some background information on it. It was first published in 1942. The format of the book is a series of letters from Screwtape (a senior demon) to Wormwood (Screwtape's nephew). Screwtape is trying to train Wormwood on how to claim the soul of a man (referred to as The Patient) for Satan. The setting is Britain during World War II. What makes the Annotated Edition special, apart from being a sturdy hardcover with nice sized font, is that there is tons of notes (in red font to contrast the black font of the actual text), which reference Scripture and other Lewis writings. There are also interesting facts about his life in these notes. Also included in this book is "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," which is a brief sequel that is a criticism of public education.

I would classify this book as one for the serious lovers of C.S. Lewis. To those who want to dig deeper into this text, and read the texts cross-referenced in the notes, this book will be invaluable as they will better understand why he wrote what he wrote. To those who just want to read this text for what it is, the notes will get in the way and perhaps be more distraction than help. I personally enjoyed all the notes, the two prefaces, and even the list of C.S. Lewis' favorite books. I feel like I have a better appreciation for both C.S. Lewis the man and C.S. Lewis the author. Plus, as I said earlier, it's a nice hardcover book, so it will stand the test of time. If you can get it for a good price, by all means get it. I read this book often enough, I'm glad I now own it in hardcover as my other edition was starting to show major wear.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The annotations ruined for me. It was like trying to listen to someone speak while they're being constantly interrupted with helpful asides such as an unhelpful definition of 'BBC'. It's kind of an unworkable union of MST3K and C. S. Lewis. I was further annoyed with the unusual dimensions of the book, compounding the literary awkwardness with the literal. I got a copy of his Signature Classics. *Much* better.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
salvador bighead
This review is not of the book C.S. Lewis wrote, but rather, this annotated edition. In the interest of fairness, I have not yet read the entire book, but will update when I do.

I've not read "Screwtape" before, so when my book club selected the book, I was excited for the opportunity to read it. When I saw the newly released annotated edition, I knew that I had to have it. I'm enough of a dork that I love annotations. Unfortunately, I'm not even to the actual book, I'm not yet past the preface, and all I can do is roll my eyes at most of these annotations.

It seems safe to assume that the type of person who would care enough to read the annotated edition is probably, you know, not an idiot. But these annotations seem to assume otherwise. Paul McCusker has very helpfully defined the "BBC." He has also clarified who St. Michael is.

Thus far, I'm finding the annotations to be superfluous and distracting. Certainly, I will update my review as I finish the book, but at this point, I would strongly recommend that you not spend the extra money on the annotated edition.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Did other readers respond as I did? Did they throw this book across the room, finding the ideas written here exasperatingly true? Lewis makes clear challenges about how Satan insidiously, yet effectively ensnares our sensibility.

These letters exchanged between a demon and a disciple learning how to defy God and defeat a man's devotion to Christ, readers will be drawn in by Lewis' creative accessibility to our inner life. I found my thoughts and motivations so frustratingly twisted by Satan as I considered the truth in the "Screwtape Letters."

This is a good choice for "Mere Christianity" fans as they discover living a godly life is more than just wanting to do God's will. Be ready to be humbled as you discover how carefully Satan's minions work to have us believing we are living righteously. Any cynic of Christianity might find this refreshing fodder of thought as well.

As an annotated edition, it takes this from being a spiritual document into an academic one. Readers familiar with the book can learn how and why CS Lewis wrote it. Fans of Lewis will dig into his personality, and see how deftly he thought.

Anthony Trendl
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It is always a challenge to read any of CS Lewis' writings - and often it is simply a matter of imagining what life was like when he wrote. Often the illustrations and descriptions have left me somewhat confused.

Now with the Annotated Version of Screwtape letters my understanding of his writing is deepening with each turn of the page. It truly brings a depth of understanding to CS Lewis' work and a yet does not seem like I am in a classroom trying to make head or tail of it! Paul McCusker has done a fabulous job of making something complex into something readable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
luke leehy
I didn't expect to like this book, but I'm so glad I picked it up. It should be required reading for anyone that identifies as Christian. I found it so funny and such an interesting satire that I laughed out loud several times. And listening to John Cleese narrate only made it that much funnier!
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