Religion: White Man's Culture

Last week a remarkable book called The Seven Storey Mountain (Harcourt Brace; $3), the autobiography of a young poet who became a Trappist monk (TIME, Oct. 11), was a bestseller in its fifth printing. Thomas Merton's book was not designed to entertain; it does not offer readers escape—or tips on how to be popular or successful. In fact, the popular and successful reader may be made most uncomfortable by The Seven Storey Mountain. A sample of the book is its description of New York City's Negro quarter, Harlem:

"Here in this huge, dark, steaming slum, hundreds of thousands of Negroes are herded...

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