16 September 2015

New Release: Under the Sign of the Waterbearer: A Life of Thomas Merton

Under the Sign of the Waterbearer A Life of Thomas Merton Book Cover
In an ongoing agreement with Green Hills Press, Grave Distractions Publications has released  a second edition of Western Kentucky University history professor James T. Baker's play Under the Sign of the Waterbearer: A Life of Thomas Merton. This play was originally published in the late 1970s and this edition has new material and an afterword from the author. Under the Sign of Waterbearer is perfect for high school, college, or community theater productions.

About Under the Sign of the Waterbearer: A Life of Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton, known in religion as Father Louis, was born in France, in his words "under the sign of the waterbearer," in 1915. He studied at Cambridge in England and at Columbia in New York. As a student he lived what his friends have described as a bawdy life but turned from it to become a devout Roman Catholic. As America entered World War II he entered the abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, and for 27 years he was a Trappist monk, in the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. During his early days there he wrote an autobiography which became the third bestselling nonfiction book of the year 1949 and went on to write more than 50 more until in 1968 he at last went back into the world to meet with monastic leaders in Asia.

He had entered Gethsemani on December 10, 1941, when he was nearing his twenty-seventh birthday; and on December 10, 1968, as he was nearing his fifty-fourth birthday, he was accidentally electrocuted while attending a religious conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Many in the West consider him a saint and many in the East consider him a manifestation of the Buddha. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has been compared to the Confessions of Saint Augustine No one who reads it or any other of his books is ever the same again.

The author of this play, James Thomas Baker, knew Thomas Merton and wrote the original version of the play soon after Merton's death. This completely revised and rewritten version, done as an expression of love and admiration in 2015, is to commemorate his hundred birthday.

Under the Sign of the Waterbearer: A Life of Thomas Merton is now available in print and eBook editions at Amazon and will shortly be carried by other major online retailers.

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