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“A Book of Angels” Reissued

Why do we need angels now? How do angelic messages help us overcome hard times? Looking back on a generation of Sophy Burnham’s A Book of Angels.

March marked the twentieth anniversary of my work A Book of Angels.A new edition published by Tarcher/Penguin is now in bookstores, with a video at Tarcher Talks. Looking back, it’s easy to see why the book created a phenomenon upon its initial publication in 1990.

The original publisher did not expect much from it—they printed only 5,000 copies, which they expected would be bought primarily by libraries. Instead, the book gained popularity by word-of-mouth. People bought eight and ten copies at a time to give to friends who, in turn, bought eight and ten copies to give to their friends. The publisher could hardly keep up with the demand.

People were starving for these stories of hope and love. Soon 200 angel books were being published every year; bookstores opened “angel” sections, like those for fiction or philosophy; a flood of films and TV shows appeared; and stores started selling angel mugs, T-shirts, lamps, candles and calendars. Meanwhile, A Book of Angels was translated into more than 20 languages.

Now, a generation later, it is being reissued. Why? Why do we need angels now? I think because we are afraid. We live in a climate of fear: high unemployment, a horrible housing market. People worry where their next paycheck will come from and where they’ll live.

Open the newspaper. Turn on the TV. We are bombarded with things to fear: terrorists and earthquakes, financial collapse and mudslides, tsunamis and tornados, poverty, sickness, death. And in the midst of this…the reminder that angels walk among us, invisible, guarding, guiding us. They save our lives. They lead us to a blessed death.

What is an angel? The word comes from the Greek and means messenger. Angels come in the form in which the message can be received: They come as the tap of intuition that says, “Go here, not there.” They come as a dream, or as a dog or cat; they come as an accident or coincidence—the miraculous wrinkles in time that permit the confluence of impossible events. And sometimes, rarely, they come in their own radiant form, magnificent. Always they say the same thing: Don’t be afraid. We’re here. Trust us. Let us do your work.

A Book of Angels is filled with true inspirational stories. They are love stories. They remind us of who we were before we came to this strange land called life. They remind us that we are loved beyond our wildest imaginings. They give us hope when times are hard.

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