Action Alert!

Why didn't anybody tell me?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 30, 2004

How did I get this far in life without ever having read Come Rack, Come Rope, by Robert Hugh Benson?

And why is such a great novel so hard to find?

The good news, I suppose, is that since nobody sat me down with the when I was a teenager, I've had an unexpected delight in middle age.

For reasons unknown to me, most American high-school students are required to read Catcher in the Rye. If you think it's important to make teenagers more self-absorbed, that's just the ticket. But if you want them to read a riveting account of the English martyrs-- and see what kind of ideas that puts in their heads-- try this:

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 30, 2004 1:22 PM ET USA

    Great book, but this is not the original edition!!, September 16, 2002 Reviewer: "stoogeswoman" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews The original novel merits 5 stars; however, I did not realize till after I bought it that this is an ABRIDGED version of the classic novel by Robert Hugh Benson! For what it is, it's good, but the well-meaning editor cut out a lot of the stuff that I really liked in the original (like when they went undercover into the court of Queen Elizabeth). So three stars for this INCOMPLETE version of the classic -- you'll probably have to go to a used bookstore to get the "real thing".

  • Posted by: - Aug. 30, 2004 12:54 PM ET USA

    Thanks for the tip. Hope you will continue to pass the word whenever you come upon these gems.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 30, 2004 11:13 AM ET USA

    Thanks, Phil. That noble army, the English Martyrs, is not nearly well enough known. Perhaps now a few more will become aware of their heroic witness. Might even inspire some of our sleepy bishops to take a serioous stand for Christian morality. Our Lord will reward the few who have done so. The Amchurch, Democrats first, Catholics last, surely will continue to persecute them.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 30, 2004 9:52 AM ET USA

    Re: How did I get this far in life without ever having read Come Rack, Come Rope, by Robert Hugh Benson? It's because you weren't homeschooled. :~) You aren't likely to find books like this in today's school library - but you will find it in a good many Catholic homeschool libraries.