This is an interesting account of one man who loved books, and in obedience to God's call to be ready for an adventure that would stretch him, Edward England became an editor, later chief editor, at the prestigious publishing house, Hodder and Stoughton in England.
Many writers have mixed emotions about editors, depending on their experiences, but this book gives us a glimpse into the life and thoughts of an editor with integrity and high personal as well as publishing standards. England gives me a whole new respect for editors. He makes them more human, easier to identify with. Perhaps England is more disarmingly honest and frank than others.
Besides his own acceptance of adventure as a result of reading a book, and thus a new career in publishing them and working with many interesting authors, he shares some great stories of the power of books to change lives. Most of them focus on events and people that led to books he choose to publish, and the principles by which he chose them.
England says, "Our publishing would depend on discovering writers rather than reading manuscripts sent through the mail." He really did work at meeting people and looking for those who had something truly important to share with the world. He also prayed that God would keep him from publishing books that didn't have something to say to those who ask, "Why God?" He resolved to avoid the shallow and mediocre.
This came out of his visit to Aberfan in South Wales at the time of the man-made mountain slide which took the lives of so many children. While theologians can write up great answers, it is the common people who come up with the best questions, and often the best answers too.
The tales England tells about some of his authors and priceless. Writers like Richard Wurmbrand, the pastor who was often in Romanian prisons for his faith and work; Dr. Martin Luther King, who accepted a dream as a burden or responsibility; and Michael Harper, formerly of All Souls church.
Candidly, England tells the story of one book that turned out to be what he calls, a mushroom, a book that gave the world opportunity to make fun of Christianity. It was by a scholar, Allegro, about sacred mushrooms and an ancient fertility rite. England got uneasy when it was approved on the recommendation of his fellow editor, but with no chance to see or proof the manuscript before it was promoted and announced to the world in a press conference. England did manage to get a copy of it just before, and was aghast at the message of the book. But now he was in the delicate situation of how to downplay the book without hurting his dear editor, Robin, and the author, Allegro.
I must say, I admired his wisdom and tact in this embarassing time.
He tells stories of other authors who proved that being in prison, having a physical handicap, a terminal illness, or simply being really old, are all not able to hold back someone who has a story worth telling. You will love these stories!
England is very humble and gracious as he describes what the death of his first wife meant to him, how he struggled to cope and carry on, and to finally look about for another bride, who turned out to be a dear pen pal of Gwen's and a missionary doctor.
It would take a while to even list all the little stories this author shares of people he met who told him, each of one life-changing book they read. Never the same book, but the movers and shakers of this world generally became who they are because of some pivotal book they read.
That very much confirms my own experience. Except that in my case I can point to several books that have had a profound influence on me. The first one that leaps to mind is, "The Spiritual Man," by Watchman Nee. I am slowly re- reading it again for about the seventh time, and I learn afresh from it, much like from my Bible, each time I do. I have made major decisions that turned the direction of my life, because of things that opened my eyes in that book.
There is so much more, and so well-told, you would do yourself a great favour to get this book, An Unfading Vision by Edward England, and to read it for yourself. Especially if books matter to you, and speak to you. This will resonate with you!