This entry in Oxford’s Religion in American Life series is a scholarly and well-researched history of Mormonism in America. Begun in 1830, it is one of the world’s fastest-growing Christian religions, with more than 10 million members, and a membership that doubles every 15 years. The Laupers explain, in addition to traditional Christian doctrines, the role of the Book of Mormon—revelations published by Joseph Smith when he was only 24 years old. The authors also cover the controversies, e.g., the Mormon practice of polygamy. This balanced presentation reveals how the church’s members aim to develop a faith “strong enough to withstand the reverses and temptations of daily life.” Readers will be left with a great appreciation for the determination and spiritualism of the Mormons. (b&w photographs and reproductions, chronology, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-19-510677-6

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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Despite the title, this is a terse, impeccable history of the Nation of Islam, with emphasis in the last half to the role of Farrakhan in that organization and including his appearance at the Million Man March in October 1995. Haskin (with Kathleen Benson, Count Your Way Through Greece, p. 899) focuses less on Farrakhan than on the political aspects of his life, for which he provides background; thus, half of this carefully researched book traces the history of the Nation of Islam from its birth in the 1930s, through the assassination of Malcolm X, and on to the current leadership. The seeds of Farrakhan's anti- white sentiments were sown while he was a child; as he witnessed how economics, racial hatred, and lack of education further limited African-Americans from achieving true equality, his resentment blossomed. His rise through the Nation of Islam is cloudy, although Haskins is careful to document Farrakhan's anti-Semitism and shows its effect on Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign. Readers will also benefit from the examination of Farrakhan's rhetorical techniques: soft-spoken and diplomatic in interviews with mostly white audiences, screaming anti-white epithets in front of mostly black audiences (black-and-white photos allegedly capture such moments). Farrakhan is such an explosive figure that any objective coverage of him sounds like adulation; while Haskins exhibits great care in scholarship and use of language, Farrakhan remains inscrutable. (b&w photos, notes, further reading, index) (Biography. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8027-8422-4

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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A deeply personal investigation of an extremely complex moral, political and religious issue by an author whose love for and attachment to the state of Israel is tempered by his commitment to justice for all. Israel was born out of the guilt and shame of a world that did little to rescue the six million Jews annihilated in Europe. The author’s relatives count both among the perished and the survivors, and many of those made their way to the nascent state to build a life. Aronson, who spent time in Israel as a teenager and a young man, here tells the story of the triumph and tragedy of the state—its promise as a lifeline and a home for the dispossessed and its culpability in displacing the Arabs who inhabited the new homeland. His inner turmoil about how to love something that is imperfect emerges palpably from each page. Both a soul-searching personal essay and a fact-filled history, this slim volume is as even-handed an explanation of the Gordian knot that is Israel/Palestine as one is likely to find. (notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-1261-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Ginee Seo/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2008

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