A frank, in-depth account of one woman’s struggles in a controlling organization.

UNDERTOW

MY ESCAPE FROM THE FUNDAMENTALISM AND CULT CONTROL OF THE WAY INTERNATIONAL

An author recounts her experiences with the religious group The Way International in this debut memoir.

Although Edge was raised Roman Catholic, she drifted from the religion as a teenager. Following the loss of her mother to cancer, she had questions about God that Catholicism seemed unable to answer. After participating in a Young Life camp and other flirtations with Protestantism, she came across some young men at East Carolina University who claimed to have something stronger. They were representatives of The Way International, a group founded by Victor Paul Wierwille, whose aim was to present the Bible in a way that “would reveal the original, noncontradictory, error-free Scriptures that God authored.” It was with The Way that the author’s life would change completely. From dropping out of college to becoming part of The Way Corps to marrying another member, she would spend years immersed in what many, including Edge, would consider a cult. Although The Way claimed to be an organization aimed at researching and spreading the original message of the Bible, the author argues that it was really a group that embraced the whims of its often moody leader: “This wasn’t a church where people attended only once a week, but a thriving family with a common cause.” It is easy to see from Edge’s account what might attract one to such a family, despite warnings from others. While a variety of controversies ended up surrounding The Way, the author’s most astute portrayal concerns her participation in its research branch. As she and others worked to translate old biblical texts, it became clear to her that the only interpretation that mattered was the one that had been decided by Wierwille. After all, his whole claim of authority came from his notion of “a perfect Bible.” Scenes of disagreements among researchers might not be as salacious as accusations of sexual misconduct within the group (which Edge mentions, though she did not experience it firsthand). But the clashes pointedly illustrate the contradictions at the heart of such an institution. If a research branch denies its own findings due to the will of one man, then surely trouble is afoot.

A frank, in-depth account of one woman’s struggles in a controlling organization.  

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9978747-0-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: New Wings Press

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2017

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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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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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