New York: Harper and Row, 1977. First edition. Octavo, original half gray cloth and teal paper boards, original dust jacket. Gentle fade to the upper margins of blue boards, in an excellent dust jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #360
First American edition of E. F. Schumacher's "spiritual map," a further development of his philosophy of an "economics on a human scale." The German-born Schumacher was studying as a Rhodes Scholar in England when he was detained as an enemy alien during World War II and sent to a work farm. He remained in England after the war and eventually converted to Catholicism in September 1971. He published Small is Beautiful, a restatement of the principles of distributism, in 1973. Schumacher envisioned Small is Beautiful as a sort of prelude to his next book, which "was a kind of spiritual map in which he would draw together all the threads of his own spiritual quest. This he hoped would be of benefit to others who were lost and confused in a world of conflicting goals. He already had a title in mind for this book. It was to be called A Guide for the Perplexed." (Joseph Pearce, Literary Converts).
"In his second book, A Guide for the Perplexed, Schumacher was even more explicit about the spiritual and theological concerns behind his work. He traced the problems of our civilization to a failure of metaphysics, the loss of a 'vertical dimension,' which meant that while we have the answers to all kinds of technical questions we no longer know how to answer the question, 'What am I to do with my life?' Science, he argued, cannot produce the ideas by which we can live." (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). Schumacher "considered his spiritual work, A Guide for the Perplexed, to be his most important achievement." (Joseph Pearce). The title is adopted from Maimonides and the half-title contains a quote from Saint Augustine: Nulla est homini causa philosophandi, nisi ut beatus sit. ("Man has no reason to philosophize, except with a view to happiness.") The first British edition was also published in 1977, the same year that Schumacher died of a heart attack.