Heart in My Head: A Biography of Richard Harries

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I think it is fair to say that, in Richard, the 20th Century Church of England - and the 21st Century Church of England for that matter - has had one of its truly great and memorable figures . - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Whether as broadcaster, writer, campaigner, or, above all, as Bishop, Richard Harries has established a solid reputation in public life. But, paradoxically, few people really know the person behind this very public expression. After a rather bleak childhood, Harries was heading for a career in the army when he realised he had a vocation to the ordained ministry of the Church of England. He emerged as a forthright liberal thinker whose heart beats firmly on the left. Yet he has conservative instincts and is theologically orthodox. From his 'golden years' as a parish priest and ever expanding horizons as Dean of Kings College London and through his nineteen years as Bishop of Oxford, Harries developed a distinctive style of leadership. 'Being a bishop' though was not a complete life, and he gave his energy to issues such as nuclear disarmament, peace, justice, art, business morality, stem cell research, and interfaith dialogue. He wasn't averse to controversy: he took the Church Commissioners to the High Court, and appointed an openly-gay priest to the bishopric of Reading. Appointed a life peer on his retirement, Harries continues to pursue compelling contemporary issues on the cross-benches. John S. Peart-Binns has climbed a mountain of personal material and enjoyed probing conversations and correspondence with his subject. He draws from a wide range of material and on the insights of those who have known and worked with Harries to produce an unexpected and intriguing portrait. A Heart in My Head will surprise and inform both admirers and critics of Richard Harries.