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The Undercover Revolution

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  36 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
"Iain Murray has put his finger on the turning point that sent western culture down the path to immorality. It is a persuasive explanation that we need to hear" - Pastor John MacArthur.
Paperback, 104 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Banner of Truth
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Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Seth by: Douglas Wilson
Iain H. Murray's book, The Undercover Revolution: How Fiction Changed Britain, has a fascinating premise--that the sharp uptick in the popularity of novels in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly novels written by secularists both ambivalent and hostile toward Christianity and her moral and social norms, was the catalyst for the massive cultural shifts that British culture (and Western culture at large) underwent during that time. In other words, Murray argues that it was the subtle, worldv ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book wasn't what I expected, but it was still profitable. I thought it would talk about fiction in general, but instead it focused on a particular class and era of novelists such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Hardy. It devotes a chapter to each of those two men and seeks to show that their lives tell a very different story than their books. Their books paint the "new morality" or rather immorality of "free love" and other sins in glowing colors and soft lights. They make sin look hap ...more
Roger Wagner
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A slim volume that discusses the impact of late Victorian novelists (e.g., Robert Louis Stephenson, Thomas Hardy), who were reared in Christian homes, who, having rejected their early faith, strongly influenced readers to turn away from Christianity. They claimed to have found something more satisfying, but their lives tell a different tale. In Part Two, Murray poses and answers the question, "Is the Bible fiction?" Murray's thesis is that Englishmen at the turn of the 20th Century did not so mu ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Murray's description of the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Bertrand Russell was interesting and sad. His larger thesis, that their books played a major role in the decline of the Christian faith in Britain, didn't have enough evidence to be persuasive.

You can see an article by John Piper that reflects on this book's section on Robert Louis Stevenson here:
Mark A Powell
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Murray explains the role that fiction played in the theological climate of Britain around the turn of the 20th century. He briefly examines the lives and writings of Stevenson, Hardy, Russell, Wells, and others, revealing their personal disdain for Christianity and their desire to see it eradicated. Murray reveals how fiction skyrocketed up the charts as Brits embraced the fantasy over the reality. He concludes with a very helpful section detailing the veracity of Christianity itself.
Timothy Lugg
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is so short and Murray is so well informed that he probably composed it one night when he was having trouble sleeping. It actually left me wanting more, much more. Iain Murray uses Robert Louis Stephenson and Thomas Hardy and others of their era to demonstrate how fiction writers served to undermine evangelical belief in England.
Danny Gumprecht
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book. One cannot help but draw a similar comparison to how a more advanced form of fiction- current media in television and movies- has contributed to a similar moral decline in Britain's daughter across the Atlantic.
Deanna Rinebolt
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very informative.
Joshua Horn
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting idea, but not really long enough to really develop it.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A surprising premise - that fiction played a culture-shifting role in the moral state of Britain. Fascinating.
Victor Chininin
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
A must read (a short read, too) in our current days. The testimony of history and the history of Christianity is much needed today.
Jon Anderson
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Wonderful thesis but too briefly considered to do anything more that whet the appetite for perhaps a fuller treatment. Much assertion without support.
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Iain Hamish Murray is a British pastor and author. He was educated in the Isle of Man and at the University of Durham before entering ministry in 1955. He served as assistant to Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel (1956–59) and subsequently at Grove Chapel, London (1961–69) and St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney, Australia, (1981–84). In 1957 he and Jack Cullum founded the Reformed publish ...more
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