The First Peace; My Search For The Better Angels
Charles Wilson Hatfield
Reviewed by Jennifer Hass for Reader Views (01/14)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘The First Peace’ by Charles Wilson Hatfield on Blogcritics.
When I first received “The First Peace; My Search For The Better Angels” by Charles Wilson Hatfield for review, I was intimidated by the 570 pages of what I thought might end up being a preachy read. I was really wrong and I am glad I had the chance to read this book.
Mr. Hatfield has written a very detailed account of his life experiences. The best part was the pure honesty that bleeds through these pages. From the very start, I felt like Charles was talking to me directly, telling me stories. I would actually love the chance to shake his hand. For the honesty, the wrongs, the rights, the struggle to find the truth in his own faith, what he stood for and even for the differences in political views. I can respect this man 100% just for the honesty alone.
I found myself laughing at times. I laughed the hardest reading the part during Mass where after the Prayers of the People someone farted during the bow:
“The silence and solemnity of the moment was broken when James farted as everyone was bowing. The sound of his flatulence echoed and reverberated. I, still bowing, turned my head to the left, to the source of the sound that John, with all his emissive sounds, had not made.
The woman sitting behind James had turned to look in my direction. Her eyes – which locked with mine for a moment – were opened so wide that they appeared ready to fall from their respective sockets. Both the woman and James were still bowing; her head was not more than several inches from James’ ass.”
I laughed so hard my mom questioned what was so funny as I was sitting in silence reading. I had to go back and read from the beginning of this chapter to her. She too, found this very humorous and was interested in reading what more Charles had written in this book.
Another highlight, but not a funny one, was the confession of infidelity. WOW! I found it amazing how truly human Mr. Hatfield is, how fully aware he is of his life’s mistakes and indiscretions, but the willingness to be honest takes the most courage and it is commendable. For Mr. Hatfield, there are many notable instances where his faith was questioned and his morals were tested. I find that even in the struggle “For The Better Angels” Charles did what he could to sort out a situation and recognize, for him, what was morally correct.
I believe things happen for a reason, like when Charles was rejected from being ordained. This inspired a lengthy letter, a letter of questions that needed to be answered for him. There are several different emails in the book that were sent out to different people, including President Barack Obama. These emails were filled with, what seemed to me, the sorting of religious matters, quotes and theories that Charles has used during his search to understand life and the not-so-fair circumstances that happen.
I am pleased I had the chance to read and review “The First Peace; My Search For The Better Angels” by Charles Wilson Hatfield. With this read, I found more of an understanding of the need for this world to be more accepting of others, even if our beliefs or our political views are different. I have a great respect for Mr. Hatfield and there is really no proper (or improper) way to review this title, rather the understanding of a human and learning about the life of another.