A Canticle for Leibowitz

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Book - 2006
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of twentieth-century literature -- a chilling and still-provocative look at a post-apocalyptic future.

In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, and tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece.

Publisher: New York : Eos, 2006
Edition: First Eos paperback edition
ISBN: 9780060892999
Branch Call Number: FICTION Mil
Description: xiii, 334 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Russell, Mary Doria 1950-


From Library Staff

List - Dune
CRRL_MegB May 29, 2018

In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, a monk of the Order of Saint Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: holy relics from the life of the great saint himself, including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shri... Read More »

After nuclear devastation has ravaged the world, a group of monks attempt to hold on to the last vestiges of civilization.

After nuclear war, a group of monks attempt to hold on to the last vestiges of civilization. Walter M. Miller eloquently dissects the nature of mankind in a moving manner that is also surprisingly funny at times.

CRRL_CraigGraziano Jun 26, 2015

Walter M. Miller Jr. eloquently dissects the nature of mankind in a moving manner that is also surprisingly funny.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/canticle_for_leibowitz_miller

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 01, 2018

A post-nuclear-bomb-apocalypse Catholic abbey blunders its way to preserving a good deal of the science and technology that led the way to the apocalypse. An analysis of faith and Catholicism with some Judaism thrown in. The prose is smooth and the characters interesting. There’s quite a bit of Latin in the book, so be prepared to slow down to figure it out (or look it up on the Internet) what some of the monks’ prayers mean, although this slowing down and lookup up is well worth it. It forces you to ponder, think it through. A good technique. Well worth reading.

Sep 01, 2018

I really enjoyed this SciFi -

I read this in 1980 and this classic sci-fi left a strong impression on my 20 year old brain. Now, In the Trump era, when truth is malleable and a leader's word cannot be trusted, the underpinnings of a human holistic are frighteningly real threat. The first two segments are well written and enthralling but I found the last section bounced too fast into a future where Catholicism still holds undue sway in a post modern world. The whole mercy killing theme was exasperating given the immorality that was driving humanity to war. And OMG the remnants of an obsolete theology gets to fly off into the stratosphere. Now that is a tragedy that was supposed to inspire a germ of hope at the end of the novel and which ultimately deprecates the story for the 21st century reader.

Jul 12, 2017

St Isaac Leibowitz was one of the scientists who made Armageddon possible, and hoped that it would never become actual. When human folly unleashed unimaginable destruction, he took shelter from the aftermath in a secluded monastery, emerging to found a religious order dedicated to preserving whatever could be preserved. Down through the centuries, the spiritual sons of Leibowitz dare to defy both bloodthirsty simpletons and amoral sophisticates, barbarians who believe that by erasing history they can prevent it from recurring and barbarians who believe that their command of science makes history irrelevant.

A Canticle for Leibowitz is an adaptation and expansion of a series of short stories following the history of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz in the millennia following a devastating nuclear war. One of the classics of science fiction, the heavy use of irony conceals one of the most compassionate and genuinely humane novels of the twentieth century.

Dec 05, 2016

It's post-apocalyptic sci-fi, it's historical fiction, it's literary fiction, and it's all around fantastic. I put this book up there with Mary Doria Russell's The sparrow in terms how much I enjoyed it. Interestingly, I see that Russell also wrote a forward for this book. Highly recommend!

Sep 13, 2016

A very well written spiritual science-fiction novel. This novel is very thought provoking and is relatable to everyone living today.

The author in this novel gives us a thorough view of monasticism and he goes to the core of original Christian beliefs. All of the characters in this novel, are completely realistic and very well presented.

He also goes into depth about the conflicts between those who want religious learning and those who prefer the horrors of secular education.

To those who want to have a realistic view of society, I highly recommend this book!

Jul 27, 2016

Interesting exploration of world destruction, religion in a secular world and how little we learn from history.

Jul 17, 2016

Bleak and barbaric. While the setting is the future, the world presented more closely resembles a prehistoric one than a futuristic one. For that reason, it doesn't particularly read like science fiction.
The book is divided into three sections, each set in a different century after a nuclear war had destroyed much of civilization, and the hatred of knowledge felt by the remaining humans had destroyed much of the rest (blaming the nuclear war on science/technology/knowledge rather than on human weakness - though the humans perceived as responsible had been slaughtered while the books burned).
As the first section of the book begins, the only place that has attempted to preserve knowledge is the church. The hero of this section is a monk who accidentally stumbles across a fallout shelter which still contains some pre-war papers.
The other two sections also follow monks at the same monastery - though the third section is jarringly different from the first two (which are excellent). It's necessary to fully communicate the author's overall message, but it's a very awkward transition.
I would hate to have to live in the world portrayed in this book, but most of the characters are compelling and the scenario is not entirely unbelievable.

Jun 27, 2016

An excellent read .... and if you love it you'll probably wish to chase down the sequel released in the later years, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman.

saharri1 Mar 23, 2016

Epic post-apocalyptice novel that contemplates the nature of guilt, fatalism, and cyclic history.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Nov 13, 2010

bursar42 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings

LibraryThing Series Information

No similar edition of this title was found at CRRL.

Try searching for A Canticle for Leibowitz to see if CRRL owns related versions of the work.

To Top