In Brief: Passing the Torch: When Quaker Lives Speak

Edited by Chuck Fager. Kimo Press, 2019. 204 pages. $9.95/paperback; $3.99/eBook.

When I was a child, I could never understand what people meant when they talked about “the Greatest Generation.” It seemed ridiculous to name people that way just because they happened to fight in a particular war. It seemed arbitrary: you are born in a certain span of years; as a result, you fight in World War II; and all of a sudden you are the “greatest” generation of humans that has ever lived? In Passing the Torch, prolific author and editor Chuck Fager takes a stance that would seem to agree. Generations come and go, and most of what we do will be forgotten, though it all shapes the future. Eventually, the torch must be passed, and that’s the point: keep the light moving forward into the hands of the next wave of people whose lives are speaking now.

In this book, Fager brings together stories from members of his own generation, known as “Baby Boomers.” He calls his contributing writers a “motley crew,” Friends whom he invited to tell their various stories to paint a picture of how Quaker lives have spoken in the post-WWII United States.

It was a half-century of meeting interesting Quakers that motivated Fager to solicit these stories, reflections, and mini-memoirs. Writing of himself and his contributors, he acknowledges “our eleven lives are all now moving into the sunset.” Fager’s life has literally spoken volumes through his numerous books, so it seems like he took the advice he quotes from Ecclesiastes: “All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.”

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