A spirited, accessible defense for all believers.

MOVING THE MOUNTAIN

BEYOND GROUND ZERO TO A NEW VISION OF ISLAM IN AMERICA

A leading American imam urgently calls for reconciliation and understanding between Islam and other faiths.

Rauf has served as imam of the al-Farah Mosque in New York City since 1983. He is deeply involved in multifaith work with the Cordoba Initiative and very much in demand as a teacher on the finer points of Islam since 9/11 (What Is Right with Islam, 2005, etc.). He believes that all Muslims (and especially women) must reclaim Islam from the extremists around the world—Islamists and “radical jihadists”—who have co-opted the Prophet’s message and corrupted its benevolent intent. Events such as the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” argument in the mid-1990s that Islam “was the new enemy of the West” and, most significantly, the 9/11 terrorist attacks all helped demonize Muslims in the eyes of the rest of the country, obscuring what Rauf believes is shared by people of all faiths. He offers a knowledgeable comparative study of the “People of the Book,” focusing partly on the similarities between the three Abrahamic faiths: The first two commandments shared by all three exhort the believer to bear witness to the oneness of God and to treat others as you treat yourself, establishing the Golden Rule of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Rauf delves into the “bogeyman” of Shariah law, comparing it to the U.S. Constitution, which indeed has evolved as the world has changed and should not be viewed as static and literal. Unfortunately, writes the author, Islam has been deemed an anti-women religion, by culture and practice, when in fact the Prophet himself instituted revolutionary changes in the status of women, and his first wife, Khadijah, was a protofeminist. President Obama’s assertion in his 2011 State of the Union address that “American Muslims are part of our American family” gave Rauf new cause for hope that the hysteria around Islam has at last “bottomed out” and rapprochement can now occur.

A spirited, accessible defense for all believers.

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-5600-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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