A Warrior's Bible


A philosophically wide-ranging account of the warrior’s ethos and an argument for its rejuvenation today.
Debut-author Gordon unpacks the central characteristics of the warrior with unusual comprehensiveness, focusing on a “developmental point of view” that surveys the history of the concept. This ambitious scope leads the analysis across a wide expanse of topics—a warrior’s spirituality, the warrior figure as he appears in the athletic and military arenas, and the warrior as a servant to society. The author is careful to avoid restricting his understanding of the warrior to soldiering; he considers the warrior a broader category that encompasses an elemental human type rather than a narrow occupation. The scholarly range of the analysis is striking: the likes of Yeats, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer are deftly investigated. At one point, the Navy Seals and Rainer Maria Rilke are discussed on the same page. This makes for an impressively rich multicultural perspective that includes accounts of Eastern philosophies like Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Sometimes the arguments are needlessly confused by academic jargon: “It might be helpful to reflect on the Tao yin/yang symbol, since it is the ontological foundation of the primordial domain of the feminine/masculine dynamic.” Also, it’s not always clear that the work is moving toward a unified conclusion. The “ultimate goal of the warrior is service to the world” writes Gordon, but other than somewhat vague references to social justice, it’s never entirely obvious what this service amounts to. Also, the author’s argument that the world needs a revival of the warrior spirit wants further elaboration. Nevertheless, this is a painstakingly well-researched study filled with philosophical insight.
A rigorous analysis of the history of the warrior that transcends mere military interpretations.

Pub Date: May 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1483971742

Page Count: 224

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2014

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An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.


The Book of Genesis as imagined by a veteran voice of underground comics.

R. Crumb’s pass at the opening chapters of the Bible isn’t nearly the act of heresy the comic artist’s reputation might suggest. In fact, the creator of Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural is fastidiously respectful. Crumb took pains to preserve every word of Genesis—drawing from numerous source texts, but mainly Robert Alter’s translation, The Five Books of Moses (2004)—and he clearly did his homework on the clothing, shelter and landscapes that surrounded Noah, Abraham and Isaac. This dedication to faithful representation makes the book, as Crumb writes in his introduction, a “straight illustration job, with no intention to ridicule or make visual jokes.” But his efforts are in their own way irreverent, and Crumb feels no particular need to deify even the most divine characters. God Himself is not much taller than Adam and Eve, and instead of omnisciently imparting orders and judgment He stands beside them in Eden, speaking to them directly. Jacob wrestles not with an angel, as is so often depicted in paintings, but with a man who looks not much different from himself. The women are uniformly Crumbian, voluptuous Earth goddesses who are both sexualized and strong-willed. (The endnotes offer a close study of the kinds of power women wielded in Genesis.) The downside of fitting all the text in is that many pages are packed tight with small panels, and too rarely—as with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—does Crumb expand his lens and treat signature events dramatically. Even the Flood is fairly restrained, though the exodus of the animals from the Ark is beautifully detailed. The author’s respect for Genesis is admirable, but it may leave readers wishing he had taken a few more chances with his interpretation, as when he draws the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a provocative half-man/half-lizard. On the whole, though, the book is largely a tribute to Crumb’s immense talents as a draftsman and stubborn adherence to the script.

An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-06102-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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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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