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Albert Schweitzer: A Biography (Ole Oermann) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 9780198784227
Albert Schweitzer: A Biography (Ole Oermann) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2016) 9780198784227
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Title: Albert Schweitzer: A Biography

Author: Oermann, Ole

Additional Authors or Contributors: Paul Lauer (trans)

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2016

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780198784227

Volumes: 1; Pages: 352

List Price in Hardcover: $45.00 Our price: $35.99

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This biography provides a versatile insight into the life, work, and thought of Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965). Nils Ole Oermann offers a detailed account of the multifaceted life of Albert Schweitzer, who was a theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. Schweitzer's life was not a straight path, from the parsonage in Alsace to the University of Strasbourg, then on to the hospital in Lambarene, and ending with the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. In every life there are highs and lows, victories and defeats--and Schweitzer's life was no exception. These ups and downs, however, are barely discernible in Schweitzer's 1931 autobiography, Out of my Life and Thought, where he presents his life as an enormous, purposefully constructed edifice, the cornerstone of which was the principle of Reverence for Life, and the almost inevitable outcome of which was the Nobel Peace Prize. To date, biographers, journalists, and hagiographers have told and retold the story of Schweitzer following this basic pattern with relatively little critical modification. Their Schweitzer was a man whose demeanor and charisma set him apart from other intellectual giants of his time. But not everything Schweitzer records in his autobiography corresponds with what is found in the archives and in his unpublished writings. It is on the basis of these historical sources and more recent publications that Oermann attempts to sketch a more realistic picture of Albert Schweitzer. Oermann draws on newly uncovered personal papers which shed light on Schweitzer's dealings with the East German authorities and his role in the anti-nuclear movement. He also builds on a number of interviews from those associated with Schweitzer--most notably his daughter.

Table of Contents


1. A sense of devotion: from the parsonage to theology (1875 1903)

A pastor s son in Alsace

Schooling and early years

A student of theology, philosophy, and music


Curate, doctoral student, and outsider

Theologian or mystic?

2. Saving the whole: from theology to Bach and then to medicine (1903 1912)

Bach, or the art of playing the organ

The path to a decision

The study of medicine

The loyal comrade

3. The spiritual adventurer: from Strasbourg to the rainforest and back again (1912 1917)

Departure to equatorial Africa


The outbreak of war and deportation

4. It is good to preserve life: Albert Schweitzer s philosophy of civilisation

We are all of us just nothing but epigoni

Reverence for life

Philosophy of civilisation and religion

The importance of animals

5. The iron door opens: crisis and breakthrough (1917 1932)

Return to Alsace

The lost penny

Back in Lambarene

On the right treatment of natives

6. With greetings from Central Africa: the time of the Third Reich (1933 1945)

The calm before the storm

Lambarene during the war

7. Exorcising the ghost of the nuclear war: Schweitzer in the Cold War (1945 1957)

The greatest man in the world

The Nobel Peace Prize and its consequences

Schweitzer, Einstein, and the bomb

A bell from the German Democratic Republic

Homo politicus

8. How beautiful! The last years (1957 1965)

Decolonization and criticism

The ninetieth birthday

Epilogue: myth and reality


Explanatory Notes

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