A review of the book by Michael Mott.

“Often what we find troublesome in others and what we are so hasty to criticize about them reveals a fundamental pattern in our own lives. This must have been true of Thomas Merton for we remember that he often rather strenuously voiced his criticism of the industrialization of aspects of monasticism at Gethsemani, his Abbey. He complained about loud farm implements and of the success of the “cheese” industry at Gethsemani where he lived as a Cistercian monk for twenty-seven years. When we read Michael Mott’s thorough biography, what finally becomes definitively clear is that Merton was an industry himself. Maybe this is the most important fact that remains with a reader after completing this enormous work of documentation. Merton is a man who sincerely sought God through the monastic life, and he never failed to make a record of this year-by-year, and in many cases day-by-day. Merton is the monk who taught us all silence, but we are (at least to some degree) grateful that 1968, the year he died, was an era before word processors.”