Author: Robert Hugh Benson, Introduction by Mark Bosco, S.J.
Publisher: Ave Mari Press, Inc, P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, IN
Copyright: 2016, ISBN: 0870612985
Cover: Katherine Ross, Andy Wagoner
Review: Lynard Barnes, February 3, 2017
Summary: In 1917, the world gives up on capitalism and essentially gives up on Christianity in the 1920s. Seventy years later, the world is ready for a humanist leader and he appears when East and West are on the verge of war. In this 1907 apocalyptic novel, the emphasis is not on events but on spirit. It soars in a way even the author probably did not realize. You might want to read the book before reading this extended review about current conditions in America.
Reputedly the first dystopian novel published in the twentieth century, LORD OF THE WORLD comes with a few caveats. First, it is a novel by a Roman Catholic of England written with Roman Catholics in mind. This undoubtedly is why, in 2015, Pope Francis advised reading it. Second, it was written when panoramic scenes were conveyed in words, not images. Hence, the writing flows along with scenic descriptions reducing the pace of the story to a crawl.
Despite the caveats the book is a work of uncanny insight. It is also a work of uncanny failure. Any book about the end of the world, or at least the end of a historical era, is bound to miss something. Usually it is something big. LORD OF THE WORLD misses something big.