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Karen Armstrong Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Beginning the World (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The First Christian (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gospel According to Woman (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Holy War (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The English Mystics of the Fourteenth Century (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The End of Silence (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
A History of God (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Visions of God (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jerusalem (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the Beginning (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shifting Ground and Cultural Bodies (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Battle for God (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Faith After 11 September (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Great Transformation (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case for God (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to The Hebrews (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Letter To Pakistan (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fields of Blood (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Art of Scripture (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sacred Nature (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Story Of God (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Biographies & Memoirs

Through the Narrow Gate (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Spiral Staircase (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Books That Changed the World Books

Thomas Paine's Rights of Man (By: Christopher Hitchens) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Qur'an: A Biography (By: Bruce B. Lawrence) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darwin's Origin of Species: A Biography (By: Janet Browne) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
On The Wealth of Nations (By: P.J. O'Rourke) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Homer's The Iliad And The Odyssey (By: Alberto Manguel) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bible (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Qur'an (By: Bruce B. Lawrence) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darwin's Origin of Species (By: Janet Browne) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Plato's Republic (By: Simon Blackburn) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clausewitz's on War (By: Hew Strachan) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Marx's Das Kapital (By: Francis Wheen) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Canongate's The Myths Books

A Short History of Myth (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samson (By: David Grossman) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Penelopiad (By: Margaret Atwood) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Weight (By: Jeanette Winterson) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Helmet of Horror (By: Victor Pelevin) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where Three Roads Meet (By: Salley Vickers) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Binu and the Great Wall (By: Su Tong) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Baba Yaga Laid an Egg (By: Dubravka Ugrešić) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Goddess Chronicle (By: Natsuo Kirino) (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Eminent Lives Books

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero (By: Michael Korda) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
George Balanchine (By: Robert Gottlieb) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beethoven (By: Edmund Morris) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thomas Jefferson (By: Christopher Hitchens) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caravaggio (By: Francine Prose) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alexander the Great (By: Norman F. Cantor) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Freud (By: Peter D. Kramer) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Francis Crick (By: Matt Ridley) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alexis de Tocqueville (By: Joseph Epstein) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shakespeare (By: Bill Bryson) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Machiavelli (By: Ross King) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
George Washington (By: Paul Johnson) (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Icons Books

Jesus (By: Jay Parini) (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Edgar Allan Poe (By: Paul Collins) (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Van Gogh (By: Julian Bell) (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much (By: Michael Wood) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
St Paul (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Modern Library Chronicles Books

California (By: Kevin Starr) (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Communism (By: Richard Pipes) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
London (By: A.N. Wilson) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Balkans (By: Mark Mazower) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The German Empire (By: Michael Sturmer) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Catholic Church (By: Hans Küng) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Peoples and Empires (By: Anthony Pagden) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hitler and the Holocaust (By: Robert S. Wistrich) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Law in America (By: Lawrence M. Friedman) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The American Revolution (By: Gordon S. Wood) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (By: Ian Buruma) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Americas (By: Felipe Fernández-Armesto) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Boys' Crusade (By: Paul Fussell) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Reformation (By: Patrick Collinson) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Company (By: Adrian Wooldridge,John Micklethwait) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Age of Shakespeare (By: Frank Kermode) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Age of Napoleon (By: Alistair Horne) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics (By: David Berlinski) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Evolution (By: Edward J. Larson) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nazism and War (By: Richard Bessel) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City (By: Joel Kotkin) (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Short History of Medicine (By: F. González-Crussí) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Storm from the East: The Struggle Between the Arab World & the Christian West (By: Milton Viorst) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Baseball (By: George Vecsey) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hellenistic Age (By: Peter Green) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind (By: Colin Renfrew) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Renaissance (By: Paul Johnson) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Islam (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Christian World (By: Martin E. Marty) (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History (By: Margaret MacMillan) (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Romantic Revolution (By: Timothy C.W. Blanning) (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Korean War (By: Bruce Cumings) (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Penguin Lives Books

Abraham Lincoln (By: Thomas Keneally) (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mao Zedong: A Life (By: Jonathan D. Spence) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mozart: A Life (By: Peter Gay) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Marcel Proust (By: Edmund White) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crazy Horse (By: Larry McMurtry) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Saint Augustine (By: Garry Wills) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Joyce (By: Edna O'Brien) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rosa Parks (By: Douglas Brinkley) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Virginia Woolf (By: Nigel Nicolson) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Woodrow Wilson (By: Louis Auchincloss) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Herman Melville (By: Elizabeth Hardwick) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Leonardo da Vinci: A Life (By: Sherwin B. Nuland) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dante (By: R.W.B. Lewis) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jane Austen: A Life (By: Carol Shields) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Buddha (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Simone Weil (By: Francine du Plessix Gray) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Andy Warhol: A Biography (By: Wayne Koestenbaum) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life (By: Marshall Frady) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Joseph Smith (By: Robert V. Remini) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Winston Churchill: A Life (By: John Keegan) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pope John XXIII (By: Thomas Cahill) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Charles Dickens (By: Jane Smiley) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Elvis Presley (By: Bobbie Ann Mason) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Saint Therese of Lisieux (By: Kathryn Harrison) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Robert E. Lee (By: Roy Blount Jr.) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life (By: Ada Louise Huxtable) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
George Herbert Walker Bush (By: Tom Wicker) (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Napoleon (By: Paul Johnson) (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Julia Child (By: Laura Shapiro) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Joan of Arc (By: Mary Gordon) (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Martin Luther (By: Martin E. Marty) (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Branch Rickey: A Life (By: Jimmy Breslin) (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Tongues of Fire(1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Changing Face of God(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
God at 2000(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong is a British author and commentator of Irish Catholic descent known for her books about comparative religion. She was born November 14, 1944 at Wildmoor, Worcestershire into a family who, after she was born, moved to Bromsgrove and later to Birmingham.

In the year 1962, when she was 17 years old, she became a member of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, a teaching congregation, in which she stayed in for seven years. Karen says that she suffered psychological and physical abuse in the convent. She was required to wear a spiked chain around her arm and mortify her flesh with whips. When she spoke out of turn, she says that she was forced to sew at this treadle machine without a needle for a fortnight.

Once Karen had advanced from postulant and novice to professed nun, she enrolled in St. Anne’s College, Oxford, in order to study English. Armstrong left her order in the year 1969 while she was still a student at Oxford.

After she graduated with a Congratulatory First, she embarked on a DPhil on the poet Alfred Tennyson. She wrote her dissertation on a topic which was approved by the university committee. Nevertheless, it got failed by her external examiner on the grounds that her topic was unsuitable. She didn’t formally protest the verdict, nor did she work on a new topic but abandoned hope of an academic career instead. Karen says that this part of her life was marked by ill health stemming from her lifelong yet, at this time, still undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy.

In 1976, she took a teaching job at James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich in the English department as she worked on a memoir of her convent experiences, which was published in 1982 as “Through the Narrow Gate”.

That same year, she embarked on a new career as a broadcasting presenter and independent writer. Then in 1984, the British Channel Four hired her to write and present a television documentary on the life of St. Paul, the First Christian, a project which involved traveling to the Holy Land to retrace the saint’s steps. Karen describes this visit as a breakthrough experience which defied her prior assumptions and gave her the inspiration for virtually all of her subsequent work.

She is unmarried. And although she was once a self described ‘freelance monotheist’, she began to later feel like a Confucian, more than anything.

In 2008, she was awarded the $100,000 TED Prize and started working with TED on the Charter for Compassion, crafted by leading thinkers in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, and created online by the general public. Also in 2008, Karen was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. In the year 2013, she got the British Academy’s inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Trans cultural Understanding.

“A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” is a non-fiction book that was released in 1993. Karen’s superbly readable exploration of just how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force.

Armstrong traces the history of how women and men have experienced and perceived God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From medieval mysticism and classical philosophy to the Enlightenment, the Reformation, and the modern age of skepticism. She performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into a single compelling volume.

“The Case for God” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2001. Karen Armstrong, while moving from the Paleolithic age to the present, details the great lengths to which mankind has gone to in order to experience this sacred reality which is called by many names like Nirvana, Brahman, Dao, God, or Allah.

Focusing particularly on Christianity but including Chinese, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism spiritualities, she examines the diminished impulse toward religion during our own time, when a significant number of people either question the efficacy of faith or want nothing to do with God. Why has God become something so unbelievable? Why is it that theists and atheists alike now speak and think about God in such a way that veers so profoundly from our ancestors’ way of thinking?

Answering such questions with the same profound insight and depth of knowledge which marked all of her acclaimed books, Karen makes it clear how the changing face of the world has also necessarily changed the importance of religion at both the individual and societal level. She also makes a powerful and convincing argument for drawing upon the insights of the past so that a faith can be built which speaks to the needs of our dangerously polarized age.

But she still cautions us that religion was never supposed to provide us answers which lie inside of the competence of human reason, this is the role of logos, she tells us. Religion’s task is to help us live more peacefully, creatively, and even joyously with realities that we don’t have easy explanations for. She also emphasizes too, that religion is not going to work automatically. It is just as practical as its insights are derived not from abstract speculation however from ‘dedicated intellectual endeavor’ and is a compassionate lifestyle which enables us to break free of the prism of selfhood.

“The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2004. Karen Armstrong entered a convent in order to meet God. After spending seven savagely unhappy years as a nun, she left her order so she could pursue English literature at Oxford. However convent life had altered her profoundly, and coping with the outside world and her own expiring faith proved to be excruciating.

Her horrifying illness and deep solitude marked her forever as an outsider. And in her own mind she was a total failure: as an academic, as a nun, and as a normal woman capable of intimacy. Her future appeared to be in question until she stumbled across comparative theology. What she discovered, in thinking, in learning, and writing about other religions, was the transcendence and ecstasy that she’d never felt as a nun.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Karen Armstrong

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