A well-written religious history that is destined to become a standard classroom text.

CHRISTIANITY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

A WORLD HISTORY

A finely crafted exploration of Christianity in the 20th century.

Stanley (World Christianity/Univ. of Edinburgh; The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism, 2013, etc.) provides an ingenious and informative history of the Christian faith through the last century. Eschewing a linear narrative, the author relies on a topical format, giving the history a truly global approach. “This book,” he writes, “provides a historian’s perspective on the multiple and complex ways in which the Christian religion…[has] interacted with the changing social, political, and cultural environment of the twentieth century.” Stanley explores a variety of salient topics through dual geographic lenses—e.g., the interplay between Christianity and nationalism as seen in Poland and in Korea, or the life of the church in the Islamic-majority countries of Egypt and Indonesia. In a chapter on the Eastern Orthodox Church and its movement into the West, the author concludes, “this chapter, no less than any of the others, has been unashamedly selective.” Stanley realizes throughout that his approach is open to criticism, but he hopes to cast a wider historical net—and he succeeds, at least to the extent that any historian can succeed given the breadth of this topic. In both the introduction and the conclusion, the author discusses The Christian Century, a prominent publication that began in the 1900s with an optimism for Christianity that would soon be severely challenged. Stanley asks whether the hopes of the magazine’s founders were realized or not, and his answer is ambiguous. Mainstream Protestantism, as well as pre–Vatican II Catholicism, changed radically during the past 100 years, and the locus of Christian activity moved south and east globally. However, attempts to secularize the world, be it through slow cultural change or totalitarian force, have failed. Stanley presents a century not dominated by Christianity but one in which the faith played an active—and sometimes unexpected—role.

A well-written religious history that is destined to become a standard classroom text.

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-691-15710-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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

NIGHT

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

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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