THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIANITY

HOW A SMALL BAND OF OUTCASTS CONQUERED AN EMPIRE

An accessible and intriguing but not groundbreaking history of the growth of Christianity.

How Christianity conquered Western civilization.

In his latest popular exploration of Christianity, noted New Testament authority Ehrman (Religious Studies/Univ. of North Carolina; Jesus Before the Gospels, 2016, etc.) asks, “how does a religion gain thirty million adherents in three hundred years?” In attempting to find an answer, he consults other scholars while looking at data, extant literature, and varied historical facts to explain the explosion of Christianity under the latter Roman Empire. The author begins in the usual place, with the life of Emperor Constantine, who converted to the Christian faith in 312 and changed the landscape of religious life in Europe from then on. In doing so, Ehrman makes the important point that it is difficult for historians to say what Constantine converted from. Indeed, having swept across the Western world, Christianity erased much of the pagan culture it replaced, leaving current scholars with little evidence of what once existed or even how Christianity made its swift advance. The author points out that conversion in the early years of the faith was not done “by public preaching or door-to-door canvassing of strangers” but instead by “everyday social networks [and] word of mouth.” With the notable exception of the biblical Paul, “the most significant Christian convert of all time,” few other traveling evangelists are identified in early Christianity. Converts were instead made by personal contact with other believers, yet at a rapid pace. Ehrman notes a number of characteristics that made Christianity attractive to Roman pagans—e.g., the emphasis on the church as family, care for the less fortunate, and promise of an afterlife—and once the emperor himself had joined, the door was opened to phenomenal growth. The author concludes with a look at post-Constantinian roadblocks to Christianity and the church’s own early forays into intolerance and violence.

An accessible and intriguing but not groundbreaking history of the growth of Christianity.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3670-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2017

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Close Quickview