In pleading for universities to give religious teachings the same respect they give feminist and multicultural perspectives, Marsden (History/Notre Dame, The Secularization of the Academy, etc.) cogently argues that major American universities, founded essentially as religious institutions, are now so hostile to religion that they largely exclude religious viewpoints. Marsden reminds the reader that in the 19th century, while ``the United States was formally pluralistic, its cultural centers had never seen a time when Protestantism was not dominant.'' Indeed, most late 19th-century colleges and universities actively promoted evangelical Christianity. Strikingly, by 1920, evangelical Protestantism had largely disappeared from the leading universities, as establishment Protestants used values of secular humanism and buzzwords like ``tolerance'' and ``liberalism'' to marginalize both fundamentalist Protestantism and Catholicism. This ``disestablishmentarism'' of religious perspectives, together with the ``universalism'' of the mainstream Protestantism that identified itself with secular culture and forced other religious positions to the periphery, ironically contributed to the establishment of nonbelief as the only valid viewpoint. The same arguments and attitudes used by liberal Protestants to exclude other religious perspectives were used to exclude normative religious teaching of any kind. Marsden argues that while the disestablishment of a universal religious culture is probably a positive development, the prevailing secularism actually constrains the free exercise of religion. The academy should make room for traditional religious viewpoints, he says, just as it has done for other perspectives that go against the grain of mainstream scholarship. First-rate historical analysis, joined with a compelling argument for giving God a voice on campus, although Marsden, limiting his discussion to ``great universities,'' does gloss over relevant areas: influential Jewish or Catholic institutions, most Southern and African-American colleges, and conservative Protestant colleges.

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-19-507046-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1994

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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 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 author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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