A Bad Beginning and the Path to Islam
Author(s): Gai Eaton
Reviewed by: Murad Wilfried Hofmann, Bonn, Germany
This book should have never been written. It damages the memory of an author with spiritual marvels to his account like Remembering God: Reflections on Islam and Islam and the Destiny of Man. Eaton even foresaw that this “profane autobiography” might damage his image (p. 331) for showing him “fascinated by my own story” (p. 365). Therefore the author tried to distance himself from his own curriculum vitae by relating it in the third person. This only worsened the situation.
Written at the age of 84 and published one month before the author’s death in 2010, the volume is more about “A Bad Beginning” than a “Path to Islam”, covering the author’s life only up to 1959 (except for the concluding chapter).
The book also suffers from being based on Charles Le Gai Eaton’s lifelong diary of 18 million words. In this way, his life from boyhood to British Information Officer is remembered too well, unfiltered. He could not gain the necessary focus in retrospect. Imagine devoting 60 pages to the first 12 years of one’s life!