A simple, comforting reflection on one woman's crusade to make a difference in the world.

SNAKE OIL

THE ART OF HEALING AND TRUTH-TELLING

A memoir of hands-on healing.

Concerned that abused women and victims of prostitution, sex trafficking and drug addictions often have no place to turn for help, Rev. Stevens founded Magdalene and Thistle Farms, a program named by the White House as one of 2011's "15 champions of change." The author provides women with two years of "housing, food, medical and dental expenses, therapy, education and job training—all at no cost to them.” The residents have ready-made employment creating healing oils and natural body-care products that are sold across the United States. No stranger to sexual abuse herself, Stevens feels deeply that a hands-on approach is necessary to help these battered women on a lifelong journey toward recuperation. "The Magdalene homes needed to be creative, practical, and joyful," she writes. "They needed to be sanctuaries where women were absolutely safe, not just physically, but safe enough to follow their own instincts toward healing." Stories of Stevens’ past and her determination to become a minister blend with stories of some of the women who have lived and thrived in the Magdalene program. The author spends considerable time analyzing the origins of the term "snake oil" and how, over time, it morphed from meaning something having healing properties to the more current connotation of something shifty or shady. But her program is anything but underhanded. Christian readers will connect with Stevens’ philosophies, and those interested in creating healing oils will find the included recipes helpful.

A simple, comforting reflection on one woman's crusade to make a difference in the world.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4555-1906-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Jericho Books/Hachette

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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