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130BOOK REVIEWS Thomas Merton'sAmerican Prophecy. By Robert Inchausti. (Albany: State University of NewYork Press. 1998. Pp. x, 210. Paperback.) Of the writing of books about Merton there is no seeming end. This is not a lament, just a statement of a publishing fact-of-life. Thomas Merton'sAmerican Prophecy, one of the more recent texts to analyze this century's most famous American monk,is a very fine entry indeed into the ranks ofhis thoughtful commentators . The author is professor of English at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The task Inchausti sets himself is significant and provocative: to place the figure he calls "a God-intoxicated man" (p. 142) within the wider literary and intellectual fabric of his time. Merton emerged as an "intellectually engaged dynamo" (p. 128), as the "premier American outsider in that international cadre of honest souls" (p. 151) that includes George Orwell, Albert Camus, Simone Weil,Arthur Koestler, Boris Pasternak, and Czeslaw Milosz. The text provides a concise biography ofMerton (not excluding the item that he was under FBI surveillance for counseling Vietnam-era draft resisters), and is especially helpful in discussing The Seven Storey Mountain as a "vast moral reclamation project" (p. 39) in its wider cultural and intellectual framework. One section provides a studied contrast between Merton's Mountain and Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, both published in 1948. In his later development , the Gethsemani monk is shown as an intellectual of the 1960's, but with critical distinctions: "He believed in original sin, in the intoxication of power, and in the amnesia of the masses, and so he placed his hope not upon the natural man but upon the divine light" (p. 108). Near his conclusion, Inchausti also engages Merton in dialogue with postmodern thought. A chronology of the monk's life and a "Merton Dictionary" round out this relatively brief but thought-provoking volume. Clyde F. Crews Bellarmine College Our Lady of the Exile: Diasporic Religion at a Cuban Catholic Shrine in Miami. By Thomas A. Tweed. [Religion in America Series.] (NewYork: Oxford University Press. 1997. Pp. xv, 224. $35.00.) Thomas Tweed's thorough study explores the development and significance of the Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity of Cobre) shrine in Miami. Drawing on primary documents and extensive interviews and observations at the site, he examines the shrine as a focal point for contested religious meanings and, more conspicuously, as a hallowed center where Cubans construct their national identity in exile. Cuban devotion to la Caridad dates from her reported appearance off the shores of Cuba in the early seventeenth century. Proponents of Cuban inde- BOOK REVIEWS131 pendence from Spain appealed to her for protection during their 1895-1898 war of independence; afterwards veterans of this conflict successfully petitioned Benedict XV to proclaim her Cuba's national patroness. Two years after Fidel Castro's 1959 ascent to power, some twenty-five to thirty thousand people gathered at Miami Stadium for their patroness's feast day, a celebration highlighted by the presentation of a Caridad image that devotees had smuggled out of Cuba. Five years later diocesan officials and the Cuban exile community founded the "Hermita de la Caridad" in Miami, expressing their devotion in a provisional chapel until the completion and formal dedication of the current shrine in 1973. The shrine is under the auspices ofthe Miami archdiocese. However, Santería rituals and devotions are also practiced there despite the shrine clergy's attempts to discourage these practices. In addition, the divergent religious meanings devotees attach to the shrine encompass gender and generational differences. Women tend to offer more prayers for personal needs while men are more apt to offer petitions for nationalistic concerns. Shrine visitors are also disproportionately middle-aged to elderly. While the relative absence of the young is not a new phenomenon in religion in the United States, the comparatively smaller number of young Cuban visitors at the shrine also reflects their growing distance from the intense experience of exile that draws their parents and grandparents to the Cuban national patroness. The memories, narratives, theology, artifacts, and rituals that Cuban devotees associate with the shrine...


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