I strolled into Blackwells the other day to get the diary for the next academic year; and thought I'd just check what was on show to earn money for publishers on the back of the late Mr Newman. Well, there are several glossies, of which the only one that appealed to me was one published by Gracewing and done by the sisters of the Way, who are the guardians of Littlemore. I commend it. I suggest that you think twice before buying any of the others. If you need confirmation of my commendation, I need only say that this little book has a preface by Dr Ker, the expert on Newman.
There appeared to be no copies of Dr Ker's own definitive biography of Newman. This is perfectly ridiculous. I made enquiries of an attendant,who assured me that copies were on the way. This shortage may be the result of masses of sensible people having bought up the last print. More probably, it results from incompetence somewhere in the book trade. Conceivably, there is a plot to move a lot of the glossies by sparing them competition. This is tragic. People are surely more likely to be buying Newman books in the weeks building up to the beatification than just after it, and Ker's book, as Chadwick observed, could well be the Newman book for several generations.
And Ker's book is perfectly brilliant; it received a rave review from Henry 'Patrimony' Chadwick. It has the gift of telling the story of Newman and of his thought largely in Newman's own words. By the way: it used to be available in paperback. I trust that there will not be some seedy plot to unload lots of much more expensive hardback copies on the reading public.
In the next month, as our satanic media gleefully spread misrepresentations galore about Newman, it will be most unfortunate if intelligent enquirers do not have access to the definitive Newman biography.