Craig's Reviews > Elmer Gantry

Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
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Aug 07, 10

bookshelves: classics-american
Read in August, 2010

First published in 1927, "Elmer Gantry" is a scathing indictment of the hypocrisy practiced by the professional Protestant clergy of the early 20t Century, where self-absorption, condescension, style and excessive zeal are ubiquitous. If there are sincere pastors who humbly teach of Christ and seek to care for those in need, they are in scant supply. As the book opens, Elmer Gantry is a narcissistic college student-athlete endowed with physical prowess and the gift of gab. In trying to find himself, he stumbles upon religion as a means of earning a living. He also relishes the adulation it brings from those who are stirred by hearing his words from the pulpit. He quickly becomes caught up with himself. While decrying the sins of others, he is oblivious (or at least rationalizes) the same sins practiced in his own life. His life is a life of total hypocrisy from which he never emerges. The book is very well written and it is obvious Sinclair Lewis is a gifted writer. I highly recommend it as a very good read.
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