Move Over, Paul Auster: The Pope Is Now the Biggest Name in Brooklyn Lit

Pope Francis in St Peter's square - Vatican. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Pope Francis in St Peter’s square – Vatican. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Last June, Pope Francis issued his Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, an exhaustive document that not only spelled out the drastic decline of the world’s ecosystems brought about by human-made climate change, but pitted the Vatican firmly on the side of ninety-seven percent of the world’s climate scientists, who have proven that global warming is a very real thing. The Pope’s Encyclical, which is over 150 pages long and implores the world to fight against the destruction of earth’s environment, was hailed as “the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years,” by The Guardian. Now, less than two months after its initial release, the Pope’s document has been officially turned into a book by Brooklyn-based publisher Melville House

Social justice and various other advocacy related issues have been Melville House’s passion projects for years, with co-founder Dennis Johnson telling The New Republic that his business is an “activist publishing company,” at heart. Last December, Melville House published the text from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on Torture in full, capitalizing on public-domain laws that made the document a free resource for anyone.

Publishing the Encylical happened fast, at a much more rapid clip than the year-long slog typical of traditional book publishing. But the impetus behind the book’s quick turnaround takes the form of a call-to-action, much like the Pope’s admonition about climate change in general. With the Encyclical in book-form, Johnson told the New Republic that the Melville House team can act as “salespeople for the Pope.”

So, if you care to delve into the Pope’s rousing call against the many industrial business practices that foster climate change, buy his Encyclical in better bookstores everywhere. And recycle, eat less meat, and try be a good human. That works too.

Follow Sam Blum on Twitter @Blumnessmonster 


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