Reviews of and Quotes From Dr. Schweitzer's Books

Here are my reviews of some of Albert Schweitzer's books. It is far from a comprehensive list of Schweitzer's books. All are English translations from French or German. Some of them are out of print, but generally can be found in a good research library or by a book search from a good used-book dealer. Also included here are reviews of compilations of his writings. See The Albert Schweitzer Page for reviews of books about Dr. Schweitzer and related information.

The Words of Albert Schweitzer

Written By:  Albert Schweitzer

Edited By: Norman Cousins

Various Translators Included

Reviewed Edition:  Newmarket Press, 1996

Paperback, 110 Pages

ISBN 1-55704-291-8


Table of Contents

The Words of Albert Schweitzer is a collection of Dr. Schweitzer quotations, each about a paragraph in length. Most of the quotations concern either Schweitzer's ethical teachings about Reverence for Life or Schweitzer's views on peace in our world. There are also some interesting quotations on music. This is not a book for those seeking an understanding of Schweitzer's ethics and life; rather it is for those seeking inspiration.

In addition to the quotations, there are a number of high-quality pictures of Schweitzer, an introduction written by Cousins in 1984, a chronology of Schweitzer's life, and references to the source of each quotation.

Quotes from The Words of Albert Schweitzer

[From Norman Cousin's introduction] "The main point about Schweitzer is that he brought the kind of spirit to Africa that black persons hardly knew existed in the white man. Before Schweitzer, white skin meant beatings, gunpoint rule, and the imposition of slavery on human flesh. If Schweitzer had done nothing in his life other than to accept the pain of these people as his own, he would have achieved moral eminence. His place in history will rest on something more substantial than the extent to which the floors of his hospital were swept. It will rest on the spotless nature of his vision and the clean sweep of his nobility."

"Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now, always, and indeed then most truly when it seems most unsuitable to actual circumstances."

"What does the word 'soul' mean? ... No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is a burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it--to remain children of light."

"We must all become familiar with the thought of death if we want to grow into really good people. We need not think of it every day or every hour. But when the path of life leads us to some vantage point where the scene around us fades away and we contemplate the distant view right to the end, let us not close our eyes. Let us pause for a moment, look at the distant view, and then carry on.

Thinking about death in this way produces true love for life. When we are familiar with death, we accept each week, each day, as a gift. Only if we are able thus to accept life--bit by bit--does it become precious."

[Quote from Out of My Life and Thought] "Not less strong than the will to truth must be the will to sincerity. Only an age which can show the courage of sincerity can possess truth which works as a spiritual force within it."

[Quote from For All That Lives] "The deeper we look into nature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life."

[Quote from The Teaching of Reverence for Life] "Just as white light consists of colored rays, so Reverence for Life contains all the components of ethics: love, kindliness, sympathy, empathy, peacefulness, power to forgive."

[Quote from Schweitzer's Nobel Peace Prize speech, The Problem of Peace in the World of Today] "May the nations, in their efforts to keep peace in being, go to the farthest limits of possibility, so that the spirit of man shall be given time to develop and grow strong--and time to act."

Table of Contents of The Words of Albert Schweitzer

     Introduction by Norman Cousins
  1. Knowledge and Discovery
  2. Reverence for Life
  3. Faith
  4. The Life of the Soul
  5. The Musician as Artist
  6. Civilization and Peace
  7. The Problem of Peace in the World of Today
  8. Chronology
  9. Sources

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