It seemed like the whole world was on fire when C.S. Lewis stepped into the pulpit of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Oxford in the autumn of 1939. Only a few weeks earlier Germany had invaded Poland, provoking declarations of war from Great Britain and France, igniting the great conflagration that would be the Second World War. Across the United Kingdom out of a sense of duty and urgency young men were enlisting in the armed services and citizens were preparing for the war effort. And Lewis, the great Oxford don, had been tasked with addressing a room full of anxious young men beginning their autumn term at Oxford University.