Book Review: Love Is Stronger Than Death

Love Is Stronger Than Death, by Peter Kreeft

This is, so far, my favorite book by this author by far.  In many ways the book reminds of me efforts by C.S. Lewis (the Four Loves [1]) and Henri Nouwen (Return of the Prodigal Son [2]).  As these are both good books, that is largely a good thing that this book should be so evocative of them.  This is also the sort of book that I raid for thoughtful quotes, and this book’s most appealing quotes were all on the dark side [3].  Considering that this book is about death, it is a pretty dark book.  But it is also a very good book, and it appears to be far more serious book than most of the author’s body of work.  Do you think a lot about death?  Do you want to know the different perspectives on the subject of the end of our lives?  If so, this is the sort of book that you may find intriguing and worthwhile to read.

The book, at just over one hundred pages, covers five faces of death that are dealt with in a particular order:  death as an enemy, death as a stranger, death as a friend, death as a mother, and death as a lover, along with a brief epilogue.  Not only does the author manage to have a lot of worthwhile comments to make about death, and some epic quotes about death, but he also manages to critique our culture and its unwillingness to face up with ultimate things through the way that we pretend to be immortal.  The author makes a strong case for the importance of death of placing a frame around life that allows us to see life in a context knowing its end.  Also, he manages to do so without cheesy pop culture references to boring vampire movies or Highlander.  In the future, as I read this author’s books, this is going to be the book I judge them by, to make sure that he can write authentically and deeply.  Not all of his books may live up to the standard, but as long as some of them do, it will be a worthwhile career.

What sort of audience is ideal for this book?  I tend to think that I am the sort of reader who would appreciate this book a lot, not least because I have a somewhat morbid fascination with the subject of death and its relationship to honor and nobility [4], and I have a certain melancholy disposition, and certain native gloominess about me that hangs over me like a pall.  If this is a quality you share as a reader, this book will likely be something that you can get behind.  I tend to appreciate books that are a bit more reflective when it comes to my Passover preparation, and this book, in looking at various ways that human beings wrestle with and deal with death in the face of our own fallen human nature is certainly the sort of material I can appreciate any time of year, but especially at this one.  As such this is a book I can warmly recommend because of its seriousness and depth and the gravity of the topic it deals with.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

[3] See, for example:

“We are more terrified by the nightmare of being a monster than by the nightmare of being chased by one, because there is no possible escape from the monster we are, but there is one escape from the monster we are not, even if it catches us. The escape is what we are (15-16).”

“Let we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good (25).”

“Death culminates and consummates our loneliness. We are each born with a secret, a secret we try to hide every second of our lives by a million clever devices, both internal and external. The secret is that each of us is terribly alone, each finds that loneliness unendurable, each reaches out desperately to overcome it in those million ways, never fully succeeds, and cannot admit that failure. Our essence, our “I,” is not shareable, no matter how hard we try. Death finally reveals this terrible fact (88-89).”

[4] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: Love Is Stronger Than Death

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Philosophy Of Jesus | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Creating Calm In The Center Of Crazy | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: As Long As I Am In This Tent | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s