In Dante's Footsteps: My Journey to Hell by Charles Patterson
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Author: Charles Patterson

Reviewed by: Frank L. Hoffman,

Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.

In Dante's Footsteps

In Dante's Footsteps: My Journey To Hell is available from Barnes & Noble

Copyright © 2018 by Charles Patterson

All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-1-64299-261-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-64299-354-7 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-64299-262-5 (digital)

Review by Frank L. Hoffman:

In Dante's Footsteps by Charles Patterson is an excellent book that held my attention from beginning to end. This somewhat whimsical comedy follows the life of Thomas in seminary, through his ordination, as a priest, and his resignation to becoming a writer, what he really wanted to be all along. And, during this time in the ministry he meets the ghost of his former teacher and mentor, Edward, both of whom share a strong interest in Dante. Edward invites Thomas to come and visit hell, as supposedly Dante did.

One of the things that In Dante's Footsteps points out, and something that we have also encountered is that hypocritical self-appointed religious leaders are doing is condemning people who are more Godly than they are and ignoring other people's behavior that are like their own. We have run into this particularly with their attitude toward vegan animal rights people.

But I won't ruin the story for you other than to say that we are sure that you will enjoy it. In Dante's Footsteps is a great book that we recommend to everyone.

May 2020 issue of Wisconsin Book Watch

In Dante's Footsteps: My Journey to Hell is a modern divine comedy that is essentially based upon the original Divine Comedy that Dante wrote some 700 years ago, telling the story of Tom Reed and how his early interest in Dante inspired him to make his own journey to the Underworld.
After describing Tom's church upbringing and his joining, then leaving the church, the story continues down there in the Underworld (aka Hell) with a cast of characters Dante never could have imagined: Tanya, the CEO; Umberto, the Guest Master; Rachel, a young Dante scholar from Berkeley; visitors from China, India, Kenya, and Germany; and famous people in history woken up from the Big Nap for a “Great Minds and Personalities" conference attended by such greats as Socrates, Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, Einstein, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Groucho Marx. Tom also visits his father who's in a "Purgatory Precinct" and talks to Hashem, his “wife" Naomi, and somebody called Satan who wears a cowboy hat and walks with a swagger.

The climax of Tom's viaggio is his visit to the Crusaders who used to be in charge because he wants to include them in the book he plans to write that could make him the next Dante. However, because the Crusaders disapprove of his being a "defrocked priest,” when he arrives, they withdraw their invitation and put him on trial.

After he survives his ordeal with the help of Wanda (an ex-nun), members of GETA (Ghosts for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and Dante himself, Tom is taken to the exit and resurfaces in New Jersey where Beatrice, his college girlfriend with whom he’s back in contact, is waiting for him. Dante had his Beatrice (one of the great love stories of world literature), so why shouldn't Tom have his?

About the Author:

Charles Patterson is an author, historian, therapist, editor, and teacher. He grew up in New Britain, Connecticut, and graduated from Kent School, Amherst College, the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Columbia University (MA in English Literature, PhD in Religion), and the Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem.

He lives in New York City where he has taught courses in history, literature, and writing at The New School for Social Research (Ancient Israel and Classics of World Literature), Adelphi University (Advanced Writing), Hunter College (The Bible as Literature), and Metropolitan College (Adjunct Professor, Human Services).

Patterson’s first book Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond was called “important” by Publishers Weekly. Judaica Book News wrote, “It deserves a place in every home, school and public library . . . excellent background reading in Jewish history and the history of western civilization.”

The National Council for the Social Studies in Washington, DC, presented him with its Carter G. Woodson Book Award for his Young Adult (YA) biography of Marian Anderson at a special luncheon at its annual convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

His other books include The Oxford 50th Anniversary Book of the United Nations, The Civil Rights Movement, From Buchenwald to Carnegie Hall (co-authored with a Holocaust survivor), and his internationally acclaimed Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, now in 16 languages.

Patterson lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a member of PEN, The Authors Guild, and the National Writers Union.

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