In a mix of engaging scholarship and gripping storytelling, Gibson and McKinley offer a page-turner for a wide audience.

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FINDING JESUS

FAITH. FACT. FORGERY.: SIX HOLY OBJECTS THAT TELL THE REMARKABLE STORY OF THE GOSPELS

Balanced examination of famed and infamous relics connected to the life of Jesus.

In the companion book to CNN’s six-night TV series, Gibson (The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World, 2006, etc.) and McKinley (Hockey Night in Canada: 60 Seasons, 2012, etc.) add to the search for the historical Jesus by exploring the stories behind six artifacts of the Christian faith. In the course of their work, the authors strike a difficult balance between secular objectivity and reverence for the gravity of their subject matter. As they explain in the introduction, “artifacts are, in a way, a rare patch of common ground between skeptics and believers, a place where science and religion can come together, not as foes but as pilgrims on a shared journey—wherever it leads.” Their own journey begins with John the Baptist and the myriad relics claimed to be from among his remains, including no less than two separate heads. The authors then move on to the James Ossuary, or bone box, purported to be the resting place of Jesus’ brother. The authors also examine the recently rediscovered, so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, followed by another scrap of ancient text, the Gospel of Judas. Gibson and McKinley finish with a discussion of the “true cross” of Christ (bits of which are purportedly scattered across the globe) and the famed Shroud of Turin, which has elicited controversy since medieval times. In each case, the authors provide complex scriptural background, historical analysis and the facts behind each case, including the often-complex scientific scrutiny each relic has undergone. Their work forms an intriguing, educational read for both believers and skeptics. The authors do not claim to have found any definitive answers, but they certainly raise meaningful and thoughtful questions.

In a mix of engaging scholarship and gripping storytelling, Gibson and McKinley offer a page-turner for a wide audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-06910-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2015

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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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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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