Before he was the world's foremost Catholic biographer, Joseph Pearce was a leader of the National Front, a British-nationalist, white-supremacist group. Before he published books highlighting and celebrating the great Catholic cultural tradition, he disseminated literature extolling the virtues of the white race, and calling for the banishment of all non-white from Britain.
Pearce and his cohorts were at the center of the racial and nationalist tensions—often violent—that swirled around London in the late-1970s and early 80s. Eventually Pearce became a top member of the National Front, and the editor of its newspaper,The Bulldog. He was a full-time revolutionary.
In 1982 he was imprisoned for six months for hate speech, but he came out with more anger, and more resolve. Several years later, he was imprisoned again, this time for a year and it spurred a sea change in his life.
In Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love, Pearce himself takes the reader through his journey from racist revolutionary to Christian, including:
- The youthful influences that lead him to embrace the National Front and their racist platform
- His dark, angry, exhilarating but ultimately empty days as a revolutionary on the front lines
- His imprisonment and subsequent dark night of the soul
- The role that Catholic luminaries such as G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and C. S. Lewis played in his conversion from racist radical to joyful Christian
- And his eventual reception in the Catholic Church
Race with the Devil is one man's incredible journey to Christ, but it also much more. It is a testament to God's hand active among us and the infinite grace that Christ pours out on his people, showing that we can all turn—or return—to Christ and his Church.
Joseph Pearce is Writer in Residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH. He is a renowned biographer whose books include Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Ho Lung, Missionaries of the Poor (Saint Benedict Press, 2012); Through Shakespeare s Eyes: Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays (Ignatius Press, 2010); and Tolkien: Man and Myth, a Literary Life (HarperCollins, 1998). He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Higher Education from Thomas More College for the Liberal Arts and the Pollock Award for Christian Biography. He is co-editor of the St. Austin Review, editor-in-Chief of Ignatius Press Critical Editions, and editor-in-Chief of Sapientia Press.
Joseph Pearce's story of imprisonment for racial antagonism and his encounter with the rosary should go down as one of the most compelling beginnings of a conversion in print. Pearce's candor, direct style, and purged heart force our own examination of conscience and assurance of mercy. It's been a long time since I read a spiritual memoir with such enthusiasm and I already knew the story from years of friendship with Joe. Reading it, however, raised it to the dignity and public seriousness it deserves.
- Al Kresta, President and CEO, Ave Maria Radio
Race With the Devil is a harrowing and exhilarating- account of how God laid hold of a tumultuous soul and brought it to joy. Very highly recommended.
- Dr. Thomas Howard, On Being Catholic
This book is a lively, informative, and many times a surprising book of a life, the contours of which most of us had no idea. Pearce always writes well and vividly. This book itself belongs to that Catholic `literary tradition' about which Pearce writes of so well.
- James V. Schall, S. J., Emeritus Professor, Georgetown University
This powerful memoir offers a mood of confession, rather than self-flagellation, a tangible witness to the transforming power of the gospel, and evidence that the dividing line between good and evil does not run through nations or parties but through the soul of every human being. Let the world and the church pay heed!
- Louis Markos, Professor in English and Scholar in Residence, Houston Baptist University
Joseph Pearce's new book races with the throbbing pace of a Graham Greene novel. To live in light and in love, he must climb a steep dark mountain. Pearce has crafted a heartpounding book, a thing of beauty that kicks the mind with spur after spur.
- Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute