Last updated on December 10, 2018
On September 4, 1965, Albert Schweitzer died in Lambaréné in Central Africa. The founder of what is known today as the Albert Schweitzer hospital was the recipient of the Noble Peace Prize in 1952. Today, little is spoken of him and in most classrooms his name is unknown. But this religious scholar and doctor was one of the most influential and respected individuals of his time. This is his autobiography, about the life he lived up until several years after he returned to Lambaréné to continue his missionary aid to the people of the Central African nation. Born in the German occupied territory of Alsace in 1875, Schweitzer began his training in theological studies before making the decision to become a doctor which forever changed his life. His discussions about the Old and New Testaments are thought-provoking and encourage the reader to ask pertinent questions as to what we believe and know about Christianity, the Bible and Jesus. The writings reveal a brilliant mind, always seeking the truth but remaining a steadfast proponent of analytical and profound thought.
His writings on colonization are those of an individual committed to freedom, prosperity and equality and he holds nothing back in his criticism of the colonial system and its barbaric effects upon the people within its control. Written many years before the civil rights movement, his words serve as a predecessor to subsequent writings and speeches on colonialism penned by such authors as the late Franz Fanon and Huey P. Newton. Although not as fierce in his rhetoric as the latter two mentioned, his words are just as straightforward and as can be imagined, controversial at the time. Nonetheless, he would remain in Lambaréné until the end of his life. Prior to reading this book, my knowledge of Albert Schweitzer was limited and I was unaware of his thoughts, writings and contributions. Having now read this autobiography and learning more about this iconic figure, I can fully appreciate his contribution to society and the importance of his place in history.