Well-written and engaging yet also folksy and approachable, especially for readers new to the Christian faith.

Grace and Mercy Are Free, and Hope Is Eternal

A debut book delivers a brief statement of basic Christian concepts.

Brownell presents a simple yet instructive introduction to the concepts of grace, mercy, and hope as they relate to the Christian faith. Her work is scripturally based, with a healthy dose of examples and allusions from the larger world of literature and even popular culture. The book has a traditionalist tone but is neither judgmental nor particularly conservative; it does, however, approach the Christian faith from a thoroughly orthodox, Protestant point of view. Brownell begins with a discussion of grace, which she defines simply as “unmerited favor.” In addition to other Scriptures, the author uses the Apostle Paul’s life experiences as an example of grace in the believer’s life. She also uses the conversion story of John Newton—writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace”—to demonstrate the role and power of grace. Brownell goes on to discuss mercy, which she defines negatively as “God not punishing us for our sins like we deserve.” The author emphasizes that although God bestows mercy without price, it is the choice of each person whether or not to accept that offering through repentance. She proceeds to unfold a meaningful discussion of theological terms related to mercy, among them being justification (“the removal of the guilt of our sin”) and sanctification (“the healing of our sins”). Brownell explains at length the importance of giving thanks for the gift of mercy from God. Finally, she turns to hope, stating that “biblically, hope is confident expectation.” “Our hope,” the author points out, “comes from salvation in Jesus Christ.” Because of hope in redemption, eternal life, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil, the believer has no need to experience worry and concern. Taken as a whole, Brownell’s work provides useful guidance and food for thought for the burgeoning believer.

Well-written and engaging yet also folksy and approachable, especially for readers new to the Christian faith.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5336-3

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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 MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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