• How Dante Can Save Your Life

  • The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem
  • By: Rod Dreher
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (177 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Following the death of his little sister and the publication of his New York Times best-selling memoir The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Rod Dreher found himself living in the small community of Starhill, Louisiana, where he grew up. But instead of the fellowship he hoped to find, he discovered that fault lines within his family had deepened. Dreher spiraled into depression and a stress-related autoimmune disease. Doctors told Dreher that if he didn't find inner peace, he would destroy his health. Soon after, he came across The Divine Comedy in a bookstore and was enchanted by its first lines, which seemed to describe his own condition.

In the months that followed, Dante helped Dreher understand the mistakes and mistaken beliefs that had torn him down and showed him that he had the power to change his life. Dreher knows firsthand the solace and strength that can be found in Dante's great work and distills its wisdom for those who are lost in the dark wood of depression, struggling with failure (or success), wrestling with a crisis of faith, alienated from their families or communities, or otherwise enduring the sense of exile that is the human condition.

Inspiring, revelatory, and packed with penetrating spiritual, moral, and psychological insights, How Dante Can Save Your Life is a book for people, both religious and secular, who find themselves searching for meaning and healing. Dante told his patron that he wrote his poem to bring readers from misery to happiness. It worked for Rod Dreher.

Dante saved Rod Dreher's life. And in this audiobook, Dreher shows you how Dante can save yours.

©2015 Rod Dreher (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"As a well-written chronicle of choice between the 'success' of big cities and life in the far simpler world of old traditions and deep family ties..." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about How Dante Can Save Your Life

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Exactly the way Dante would want his poem used.

Mr Dreher uses his own personal struggles to demonstrate how the lessons of The Divine Comedy can be applied in our contemporary world in order to find healing. This is more autobiographical than I expected but since everyone's life journey is unique it is necessary. Instead of trying to survey all the world's self destructive neuroses he focuses intently on one, his own (or more accurately his own little collection). This he can address with absolute authority. But the depth he delves allows us to draw paralles to our own lives. I think Dante would be very pleased to see his work explained for the purpose of saving people from The Dark Wood, and not just admired as some ancient museum artifact kept behind glass.

4 people found this helpful

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Dante as Healer and Friend

Where does How Dante Can Save Your Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is read by someone who sounds very similar to the author and that makes is so easy to assimilate. The account is very compelling.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How Dante Can Save Your Life?

The author explains the moment his life course changed forever: At 14 he had tried so hard to please his parent, but his parent was blind to the sensitive nature of the son. Without foreseeing the damage, an epithet is used that was considered innocuous but because of the grief of the moment and the stress of trying so hard to be pleasing, it was a sharp barb that stuck deeper than all could have predicted.

Which character – as performed by Sean Runnette – was your favorite?

This is a memoir so there aren't "characters", other than that of Dante and his book as its being used to change the life of the author. So my favorite is the author. His story is compelling and I recognize the struggles he had growing up in the South because I am from the South.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It did make me cry and empathize. If anyone has every been misunderstood by their parents or picked on because they don't fit in with their surroundings, they will love this book. Or if you just enjoy observing human nature and the power of transformation in a person's life.

Any additional comments?

The book is so well written, so well constructed. You will get an education on Dante, his grand poe, and an experience on human nature and the power of transformation. It is not hard to follow, but sometimes you will want to stop what you are doing to write down what you just heard, it is so well said, so poignant, so wise and touching. I loved this book, and I loved specifically listening to it.

8 people found this helpful

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An Orthodox Christian Book for All

From the title of this book one might assume it is coming from a Roman Catholic perspective. Actually it comes from the perspective of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I would say, after listening to this book (with warm, articulate narration) that Rod experienced his healing due to a combination of the rich and powerful, timeless symbolism of Dante, and the therapeutic tradition of the Orthodox Life. The Tradition we receive, as Orthodox Christians is one where the Church is seen as a hospital where one goes to receive healing. Roman tradition evolved to see itself as Church as a moral guide and judge (that is simplifying things a lot I know, for the sake of brevity).

As an Orthodox Christian also suffering with autoimmune illness and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome this was a wonderful overview of what the Comedia could offer me and gives me the courage and guidance to jump into it's healing waters for myself.

Thank you Rod, for sharing your personal struggles with us so that we too may move towards healing.

2 people found this helpful

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From a teacher’s perspective

I was captivated by Rod Dreher’s story and inspiration. I have read The Divine Comedy only once before, but I look forward to reading it again, armed with Rod Dreher’s insights, with my students and their valuable insights.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing book

It is a beautiful book full of wonderful wisdom. It’s amazing to see how a book can change someone’s heart toward Christ . I enjoyed it immensely.

1 person found this helpful

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Forgiveness

This is a beautiful memoir of one man's journey to forgiveness. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

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Lovely Personal Perspective

Personal stories with which I could identify. Good book for before or after reading Dante.

5 people found this helpful

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nope, not Dreher's best work.

glad he got resolution with his dad. I learned more about Rod than I did about Dante.

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Great Book!

I highly recommend this book especially if you have relation issues with your parents and or siblings, no matter how old you are.... no matter if they are dead or alive! You CAN find healing thru this book.

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Self-absorbed, melodramatic, and shallow

This book is primarily about the author's lifelong emotional struggles with his family, and only incidentally about Dante. If you are looking for something that will help you understand Dante or renew your appreciation for Dante, this is not your book, though the author does recommend some other resources at the beginning and the end. If you are looking for a book that will help you grow spiritually, I can't understand why anyone would choose Rod Dreher as a guide.

By the way, on the family struggles, my sympathies are with the family.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Ms. A. C.
  • 11-06-21

Not great

I didn't like the tone and couldn't finish. Sounded spoilt I couldn't empathize with the author.