An intriguing, narrative-driven examination of how grace can change lives.

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GRACE REVEALED

FINDING GOD'S STRENGTH IN ANY CRISIS

A series of uplifting stories explores the healing power of grace.

This latest work from Sievert (God Revealed, 2014) opens with a series of questions that plague everybody, including: “Has life worn you down?” “Have you been kicked in the teeth by illness?” “Are you in crisis?” The author, who spent 30 years in the insurance business and is now in the ministry, in these pages urges his Christian readers to turn to the concept of grace as the beginning of an answer to those questions: “When you realize God’s grace, you take the first step toward accepting that unconditional gift that is yours, regardless of how much you think you do or do not deserve it.” Sievert delineates various types of grace and maps them onto various kinds of crises that crop up in people’s lives, including sexual abuse, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies. These personal stories are told in vivid narrative detail and are followed up with the author’s reflections on how each tale illustrates a different redemptive quality of God’s grace. Some readers may be troubled by the book’s gentle but persistent implication that prayer is a fit and sufficient method for dealing with deep physiological and psychological issues like drug addiction and sexual abuse. For those readers, Sievert’s inclusion of the standard disclaimer that he in no way wishes “to diminish the importance of sound medical advice and treatment from appropriate medical professionals” may be insufficient. But it’s clear from the balance of the book that the author doesn’t mean to trivialize the problems he’s dramatizing, and he’s certainly correct to point out that the support of a personal faith (and a religious community) has a long and impressive track record in helping people cope with all kinds of trauma. This is an optimistic but nonetheless realistic account, one in which grace is freely given but still needs to be earned.

An intriguing, narrative-driven examination of how grace can change lives.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4245-5638-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2018

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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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