On the Lived Theology Reading List: Against the Hounds of Hell

Against the Hounds of Hell: A Life of Howard Thurman, by Peter EisenstadtA Life of Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman was a trailblazer in many aspects of his life; he was the first African American to meet Mahatma Gandhi, one of the first and most insistent mid-twentieth-century proponents of racial integration, and an early and outspoken advocate for social and economic justice. It has not been until now, however, that The Hounds of Hell has given him biographical treatment he deserves. In this book, author Peter Eisenstadt explores multiple different facets of Thurman’s life, including his activism and theology.

Thurman was born in 1899, and he was an inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and other leaders of the civil rights movement. He was a forward thinker in regard to social issues as an early feminist and environmentalist, but he also opened new doors in theology, becoming a key figure in the emergence of mysticism and spirituality as an alternative to formal religion. Most importantly, Thurman dedicated his career to fighting the “hounds of hell,” which he categorized as the way fear, deception, and hatred impeded the steps of African Americans and the marginalized and disinherited peoples of the world.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“Until now, there has been no standard one-volume biography of this transcendently important figure, one of the most important ministers, theologians, and philosophers of twentieth-century America. Eisenstadt’s magisterial work is the definitive biography of Thurman.” — Paul Harvey, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, author of Howard Thurman and the Disinherited: A Religious Biography

“With this thoroughly researched and elegantly written biography, Peter Eisenstadt has secured the legacy of Howard Thurman’s life and work. Just as importantly, he offers readers who are just now discovering Thurman a very good idea why the renaissance of this great American’s spiritual wisdom is long overdue. Read the book to learn your history, feed your soul, or change your life. Whatever your reason, Thurman and Eisenstadt will not disappoint.” — Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Learning to Walk in the Dark

“Peter Eisenstadt explores Howard Thurman through a lens only a gifted historian can offer. Eisenstadt shows that Thurman is more than a seminal religious figure; he’s a genuine American icon whose wisdom and cultural importance becomes richer over time. Thurman’s life story has all the elements of a rich human drama. But in the telling by Peter Eisenstadt, every detail is wrapped in just the right historic, cultural and theological context to make it ever more engaging.” — Martin E. Doblmeier, author of Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story 

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