Alone in Community
Journeys Into Monastic Life
Around the World


"The author provides an intimate look into a variety of contemplative lifestyles. [It is] an educational as well as inspirational pilgrimage."

Booklist (11/15/00)

"Highly recommended for all libraries for its academic and popular approach, this book is essential for travel collections and will add a positive note to religious offerings."

Library Journal (10/01/00)

"Claassen writes well with a journalist's eye for engaging detail and a sensitive desire to highlight the universality of the monastic life."

Publishers Weekly (10/30/00)

"This is no Fodor-type travel guide for tourists wishing to visit monasteries. Rather it is a journey of the spirit covering four continents."

The Bloomsbury Review (5-6/01)

"Claassen's destinations were monasteries, most of which haven't dipped as much as a sandaled foot into cyberspace. But this didn't bother him. Instead it set a tone for his trip - one that would require patience, uncertainty, and long periods of silence."

Trips: A Travel Journal (6/01)

"In his first book, Mr. Claassen shares engaging glimpses into each of these (monastic) traditions - into the surprising commonalities among them and the intriguing differences."

The Christian Science Monitor (6/28/01)

"In undertaking this project Claassen was aware of himself in three roles simultaneously, functioning as pilgrim, traveler, and journalist... He weaves these strands together beautifully in a way that makes for pleasurable and fascinating reading."

The National Catholic Reporter (2/01/02)

"Claassen's book reads like a cross between National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and a prayer book."

The Plain Dealer/Cleveland (12/19/00)

"He (Claassen) learned that while similarities are comforting, differences are enlightening...He learned that you don't have to talk to someone to get to know them...He learned the grace and the limits that go along with being an outsider on the inside...He learned that popular conceptions of monastic life, fueled by television, movies and, sometimes, one's own religious tradition, are not all that accurate."

The Sunday Oregonian/Portland (3/11/01)

"Inspired by Claassen's obvious open-mindedness and tolerant spirit, 'Alone in Community' is, in the end, an optimistic book - and that's a welcome respite from today's constant reminders of devastating conflicts that can grow out of religious intolerence."

The Courier Journal/Louisville (12/23/00)

"He (Claassen) broke bread with Greek Orthodox monks on Mt. Athos, walked with Catholic brothers in Spain, watched Whirling Dervishes in Turkey, meditated with Zen monks in Japan, and sat at the feet of Hindu gurus and Jain pujaris in India."

San Francisco Chronicle (7/01/01)

"Author celebrates 'power of silence' in a noisy world."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (12/09/00)

"For 2 1/2 years, William Claassen left behind a world filled with chatter and explored the silent practices of the world's religions."

The Arizona Republic/Phoenix (2/17/01)

"William Claassen's Alone in Community is not only a fascinating account of his odyssey to the monasteries of a number of faiths but it is also a reminder that those who inhabit them have something very important to teach the modern world."

Charles A. Fracchia, author, Living Together Alone

"This book is interfaith in its appreciation of the authentic depths of experience that exist in other traditions, and gives us a taste of this depth through these special islands of peace around the world."

Wayne Teasdale, author, The Mystic Heart

"To journey with him (Claassen) is to begin to understand the monastic dimension of human spirituality and, in this way, to glimpse a doorway into an interspiritual common ground."

Jim Kenney/International Director/Parliament of the World's Religions

"William Claassen's monastic travelogue provides a fascinating case study of the truth that monasticism is a 'bridge between religions.'"

William Skudlarek, OSB - Chair/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue