An enjoyable way for moderate or lapsed Christians to learn the history—and possible absurdities—of their faith.

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How To Fight Off a Fundamentalist

THE SCIENCE OF HUMBLING A CHRISTIAN HYPOCRITE

An attorney offers a highly readable debut treatise on the history and contradictions of Christianity and its Gospels.

In this book, Craig aims to offer his readers ammunition to counter the rhetoric of fundamentalist Christians by pointing out hypocrisy, biblical contradictions and what he deems to be flat-out inaccurate beliefs. Overall, he meets this goal, as when he includes the history of the Gospels’ publication and their content, including the unsourced, later additions of one of Jesus’ most famous moments and the concept of the Holy Trinity. That said, a few moments seem to be mere hair-splitting (such as minute differences in the Gospels regarding what was written on Jesus’ cross) or miss the point entirely, as when the author triumphantly shows that Mary wasn’t a lifelong virgin but fails to disprove the Immaculate Conception before she became sexually active. He also uses extreme examples, such as the highly controversial Westboro Baptist Church, to characterize all fundamentalists everywhere, and the occasionally grating cartoons, illustrated by Christian Mirra, wear thin. Nonetheless, the author makes a good argument against what he sees as fundamentalist greed, self-promotion and intolerance. However, one suspects that he and his readers won’t ever win over fundamentalists’ hearts and minds; after all, Galileo might have been right about Earth revolving around the sun, but the Catholic Church still kept him under house arrest until his death. But even if readers can’t use this book to truly triumph over Craig’s nemeses, it doesn’t make it any less interesting to read. Ironically, the book is at its best when it offers more moderate Christians an entertaining primer of their own religion’s history. Readers who’ve been Christians since childhood but whose knowledge of the Bible is limited to Sunday school lectures and Hollywood epics may find valuable information in this book. Craig delivers his engaging research in a breezy tone throughout, and he remains respectful of Christianity’s core message: Love God and thy neighbor, no matter what.

An enjoyable way for moderate or lapsed Christians to learn the history—and possible absurdities—of their faith.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499180060

Page Count: 338

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2015

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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