I owe a great debt of gratitude to Merton (and to the grace of God first, of course) for the revitalization of my Catholicism my senior year in college. Although I understand McInerny's point about a Pharisaical interpretation of Merton's love affair, I'm not sure I can be quite as sanguine about it as McInerny is. As McInerny points out, he did remain faithful. The twentieth century seems to be populated with near-saints of this sort. The scourge of Satan has had its effect, I think.
On the other hand, after twenty-eight years of "trying," I'm not exactly St. Robert of Franklin.
McInterny's brother, Dennis, wrote a book about Merton. Thomas Merton: The Man and His Works. Spenser, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1974. He also wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of Minnesota on Merton: "Thomas Merton and Society: A Study of the Man and His Thought against the Background of Contemporary American Culture." He also had an exchange of letters with Merton that is on file at the Thomas Merton Center.