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Book Dorothy Day: A Biography by William Miller (1984-02-01)

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Dorothy Day: A Biography by William Miller (1984-02-01)

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    William Miller(Author)

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  • William Miller(Author)
  • Harpercollins (1659)
  • Unknown
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Review Text

  • By Maureen L. Caputo on May 26, 2016

    It is interesting to learn what drives a person to dedicate her life to a cause. I liked reading about her life and that period of time

  • By James G. Bruen Jr. on August 29, 2016

    I turned to William Miller's Dorothy Day: A Biography after reading Dorothy Day's "spiritual biography" The Long Loneliness, which seemed an incomplete picture, one which omitted much about her life and spirituality. Miller’s 1982 biography filled in many of those gaps and also covers events in her life subsequent to The Long Loneliness.Miller's approach is respectful and admiring, but not naïve, hagiographic, or uncritical. It's a complex portrait of a sometimes complicated and contradictory strong-willed and somewhat easily offended woman who lived simply for Christ, the poor, the worker, and peace. It is a fuller, rounder portrait of Dorothy Day than is The Long Loneliness. And, of course, it necessarily also is a portrait of Peter Maurin, her guide and inspiration, though she often disregarded his specific advice or approach. Miller details Day's early marriage and abortion, both of which she avoids in The Long Loneliness, and even deromanticizes her portrayal of her later abandonment of Forster Batterham, whom she somewhat defensively portrays as her common law husband, pointing out that because of their child, Tamar, they did remain in contact, with Dorothy stopping by Forster's for tea one Valentine's Day, and another time meeting him at the opera at the very time she "had been writing about him in my book."Miller had access to Dorothy Day's papers which she willed to Marquette University, "Dorothy's published books, her Catholic Worker papers, and the materials I got from her in April 1975 have been my main sources," he writes. This is one of the book's strengths. Though he says he talked to many people, the book rarely seems to rely on interviews, and that perhaps is a weakness as many who knew Dorothy, including her daughter, were alive when the book was written.I found Miller's references to Berkeley Springs as in Virginia (as opposed to West Virginia) jarring. And his insistence that Dorothy Day structured her life to avoid having to pay federal taxes questions prompts a question. Since Dorothy apparently was careful to separate her income from book royalties and speaking engagements from Catholic Worker funds and to use them for her own purposes and for Tamar, how is it that she did not pay federal income tax? Miller does not address this.I highly recommend this book. It will heighten your understanding and appreciation of Dorothy Day.

  • By Caroline Cundiff on April 23, 2016

    I am looking forward to reading I have been too busy to start this book.But I am looking forward to reading.

  • By Anthony Bosnick on January 30, 2017

    A good, solid, readable and honest introduction into the life of Dorothy Day, one of the great Catholic women of the twentieth century, with an appraisal of her work and the mission of the Catholic Worker. It helps one to see why Dorothy's cause for sainthood in the Catholic Church is worthy of promotion and why it is underway.Dorothy's granddaughter spoke at our parish last year and told us many fascinating stories. She said that Dorothy was at times hard to get along with. This book helps us to see why! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.The book includes two folios of photos, which is much appreciated.

  • By Grace L. Davin on December 8, 2014

    I also read this book. I have so much respect for Dorothy Day. She was a true and honest searcher. Once she discovered God she never looked back. I wish there were more people like her. She writes about her daily life and makes the seemingly mundane feel really important. She was a very clever lady and compassionate towards others. She is one of my favorite people.

  • By Timothy Kearney on September 16, 2003

    I first read William Miller's biography of Dorothy Day in 1984, a few years after it was published. I immediately grew to have a great appreciation for this complex woman who contributed so much to the Catholic social conscience of the United States. Her life is botha witness to Jeusu Christ and a challenge to live the gospel radically. Miller was a personal friend of Dorothy Day and his work was written a few years after her death. The book contains many details about her early life, conversion, and her work with Peter Maurin establishing The Catholic Worker movement including the renowned newspaper and houses of hospitality. Her pro-labor and anti-war activities are also chronicled. Miller also mentions Day's connections with a number of well known luminaries such as Thomas Merton, Dan and Phil Berrigan, and her altercations with Cardinal Spellman. This book is a fascinating examination of a great woman and a slice of Catholicism that is often ignored.


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