The Monk's Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1966
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About the Author
Robert Hudson is a recognized Bob Dylan scholar, a member of the International Thomas Merton Society, and a veteran editor who has worked with a number of best-selling authors, including Philip Yancey, Walter Wangerin Jr., Leonard Sweet, and Lee Strobel. He and his wife, Shelley, play in the old-time string band Gooder'n Grits.
"There are many books about Merton already, but Robert Hudson, merging his fascinations with Merton and Dylan, writes so limpidly that shelf room just must be made for this one."
-- best-selling author and journalist
"Robert Hudson's revealing 'parallel biography' shows how two of the most prolific and influential figures in the 1960s, both perpetually restless spiritual pilgrims, shared a passion for prophetic poetry, an opposition to the war in Vietnam, and a boundless inquisitiveness. In this enjoyable and insightful book Hudson connects dots that other Merton scholars have overlooked."
-- former Archbishop of Canterbury
"A warm and vivid picture of two very different but unexpectedly related countercultural icons in that extraordinary mid-sixties moment of hope and imaginative enlargement. This book enables us to see some of the deep currents of that era and to reacquaint ourselves with two great, unclassifiable figures."
John W. Whitehead
-- author of Battlefield America and A Government of Wolves
"Artfully demonstrates how the minds of two individual cultural icons merge with a message that all the world needs to hear. Difficult to put down once you open the first page and begin to read."
Scott M. Marshall
-- author of Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life
"A gloriously detailed account of two solitary yet world-famous artists in a decade that still bears surprising fruit. Hudson's book takes you on an unexpected journey with Merton and Dylan--an enlightening, challenging, and refreshing hiatus from the demands of our digital age."
-- from foreword
"You may think, as I at first did, that pairing a Utopian hermit monk and a demon-haunted rock star is just plain perverse or at the very least willfully paradoxical. But there you'd be dead wrong. . . . In the end it's Bob Hudson's love for Thomas Merton and Bob Dylan that's the alchemical fire that makes [this book] work. As curious as this cockamamie pairing is, The Monk's Record Player is a meditation on inspiration, contact highs, and the unknowable workings of the cosmos."
"Hudson weaves a fun tale of cross-cultural influence in this exploration of Bob Dylan's influence on Thomas Merton."
"Hudson informs and enthralls readers. . . . This book is a profound meditation of apparent contradictions. Any adult interested in U.S. history and culture, religion, philosophy, art, literature, or music will enjoy this well-written and very readable book."
"Fascinating. . . . While Nobel Prize winner Dylan has always maintained a distinct celebrity, Merton's renown has dimmed somewhat, and it's nice to see this crusader for world peace introduced to a new generation of readers in such an intriguing way."
"Entertaining. . . . One does get the sense that Dylan would have liked Merton as much as the monk admired and emulated him."
"The unlikely pairing of Dylan and Merton is the charm of the book. . . . Delightfully difficult to classify. Neither scholarly disquisition nor celebrity bio, it is rather history in the form of a fable: not dark but rather light comedy. It is light that illumines, finally, a direction home: through solemn vows, a solidarity born of forgiveness, and at least a touch of rock-and-roll."
Catholic News Service
"Runs circles around any mere biographical treatment of either Father Merton or Dylan. . . . This book teaches lessons in spirituality the reader may not expect but from which he or she will benefit deeply."