A review of
AT PLAY IN THE LIONS’ DEN, by Jim Forest, Orbis Books, 2017
Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter
This biography and memoir of Daniel Berrigan, recently released by Orbis Books, has justly received much good press. It was reviewed by both America (https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2017/11/01/daniel-lions-den-berrigan-biography) and NCR (https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/my-friend-dan-berrigan-another-daniel-lions-den).
As I began reading, I was impressed that there are pictures on almost every page, and that the book has an extensive index, notes, and a bibliography. Pertinent quotes fill frequent sidebars, and readers are treated to snippets of his poetry.
In just the first few pages, I learned that three former Maryknollers were included in the Catonsville Nine, who were tried with Berrigan for their 1968 burning of draft records that earned him and several others a prison term. Some stories added insights into Berigan’s close relationship with Phil Berrigan, his activist priest/brother.
My uncle’s vim and vision and vitality crackle out of the pages of Jim Forest’s book.
Dan Berrigan, Presente!
I kept reading, enjoying the personal stories, his connection with prominent authors such as Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, and his evolving consciousness about the Viet Nam War, war in general, and nuclear weapons. Since I have lived through some of the same evolutions and times, his memoir allowed me to see with a new perspective and to better acknowledge the troubling positions of the Catholic Church and our country with respect to war. Orbis and Jim Forest have done it again—bringing us great stories and insights. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this book!
Note: Affiliates, don’t forget to ask for your special 40% discount!