C.S. Lewis In A Time Of War by Justin Phillips combined several favorite things for me: World War II history, an inside look at old-time radio, a biography on one of my favorite authors, and a fascinating look at the repercussions of one man’s life.
The BBC Radio was just coming into its own during the lead up to World War II. England again was to play a major part on the world stage, and the radio became not only the primary means of communicating inside Great Britain, but also to the world as well. Radio was used to inform, to pass along vital information, to entertain, and to boost morale.
After having already endured The Great War (what we now call World War I), the English populace was largely dismayed at being forced into another bloody conflict. As anyone might imagine, morale was at an all-time low and questioning God’s role in these cataclysmic events was at an all-time high. The BBC felt duty-bound to try to raise morale and answer these questions.
Looking back on history, C.S. Lewis seems the perfect choice to be the voice of encouragement and reason that the BBC would use, but at the time Lewis was a little-known don at Magdalen College who had never written a script to be read over the airways (something far different than writing for someone else to read themselves in essay or book form). So not only did the BBC take a huge leap of faith, but so did Lewis, as a failure in this venture could have seriously damaged his reputation and future.
As it turned out, Lewis’ talks were immensely popular, and the text of those talks ended up being published in the book form we now know as Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis also experienced one of the most productive times of his life, cranking out many other of his most popular books, sermons, and talks given to the Royal Air Force and other military personnel.
If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, World War II history or old-time radio, there is much to enjoy in this well told story by Justin Phillips. Definitely a great read!
NOTE: Focus on the Family produced an excellent audio drama using this book as the source. Check out my review of that production by clicking here.