A well-researched and timely work of journalism geared toward like-minded readers.



The role of the modern "Religious Left" in American politics.

Religion reporter Jenkins delves deeply into the origins, activities, and leadership of the Religious Left, a movement he describes as “an amorphous, ever-changing group of progressive, faith-based advocates, strategists, and political operatives.” The author highlights the widespread—though not always widely recognized—role that progressive faith communities have long held in political and social causes. Jenkins illuminates these causes through stories of individual leaders of specific movements. After an introductory chapter discussing how faith communities were essential in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the author segues into a discussion of Barack Obama’s own expressions of faith in public discourse. He then covers a number of well-known movements from the past two decades and important leaders associated with them. Examples include the Rev. William Barber with North Carolina’s Moral Mondays, the Rev. Traci Blackmon with Black Lives Matter, and Sioux activist Chase Iron Eyes with the Standing Rock protests. Jenkins goes on to cover a number of other topics, such as the Religious Left’s role in LGBTQ activism, the influence of Roman Catholicism in the environmental movement, and interfaith organizing to support the Muslim community. Beyond providing stories of the Religious Left, Jenkins attempts to determine how it has operated in politics and society. For example, he writes, “to understand the New Sanctuary movement [which advocates for immigrants] is to understand how the Religious Left builds power through a mixture of moral arguments, liberation theology, and the art of protest.” Throughout, Jenkins analyzes as well as reports, adding further value to his work. The author has provided a contemporary history that will be useful to students of the intersection of politics and religion in our current era.

A well-researched and timely work of journalism geared toward like-minded readers.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293598-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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