And the Greatest of These

Fiction - Inspirational
268 Pages
Reviewed on 10/12/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Author Joe Pritchard’s mental health career spans forty years, the first twenty with troubled kids, and the past twenty as a crisis counselor / psychiatric assessment specialist in psychiatric Emergency Rooms. As touched as he was in the late 70’s toiling with severely autistic-like children, his psychiatric ER encounters with the elderly over the past twenty years have deepened his appreciation of life and the pure-in-spirit love exuded by two old souls who have endured a lifetime together, for better or worse…

To learn more about the author, including his psych ER story blog, Midnight Birdcage, visit his website at To purchase copies of Stepfathers’ Anonymous Playbook… The Season That Never Ends, his 1997 book about his rookie season with two teenage stepdaughters, two female step-dogs, one fiery new wife, and one tiny bathroom, visit his website.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

What does it feel like to be in constant contact with the pain and misery of others, to touch the brokenness and fragility of another human being — the strangers, the homeless people brought straight from the gutters of life, the ones glued to their addictions, the elderly — people who are hopeless, floating through life without any direction? In fact, what does the life of a psychiatrist look like? Joe Michael Pritchard recounts his routine and experiences with psychiatric patients in the Faith General, Nashville hospital. And the Greatest of These is a journey of hope, faith, and love, but most of all, a journey towards ultimate inner freedom.

In this beautiful book, Joe Michael Pritchard describes the transforming power of service, a power that led him down a road he’d vowed never to walk again, the path towards “unconditional love.” Just in the first part of the book, he describes a moving scene that left an indelible mark on him: “It was past my clock-out time, when I should have been home sipping bourbon and self-stimulating the night away with my TV buttons that I saw Maggie Dalton stroke John's haggard face. That picture ripped right through my Hollywood persona to the core of my soul. In that instant, I saw Mom stroking Pop's deceased face and fighting back tears, that little-girl-lost look in her hazel eyes a replica of Maggie's eyes that night. It was a line I'd vowed never to cross again -- unconditional love of another human being.”

This book will unveil the face of suffering humanity to many readers, but it exalts humanity in a very beautiful way. I enjoyed how the author allowed himself to be touched by the sufferings of others. This book rings powerfully with the truth that the wounds in the lives of others can become a path through which we journey towards a life of meaning. Written in very beautiful language and a compassionate voice, And the Greatest of These will inspire readers to embrace the challenge of finding meaning in love and service. I couldn’t help thinking about From Brokenness to Community by Jean Vanier, and the writings of Henri Nouwen. It’s a beautiful story of how service can transform our work into an experience of freedom and joy. This is my book of the year.