A positive story about the power of faith and forgiveness.

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PHONE CALLS

CHOICES! DECISIONS THAT CHANGE YOUR LIFE

In her debut memoir, a Texas woman recounts how her faith in God helped her through her husband’s job loss, the deaths of loved ones, and an attempt on her life.

Musgrave’s inspirational book is a brief but powerful account of a number of tragedies she suffered in a span of just six months. Three phone calls, in particular, changed her life. In the first, her business-executive husband told her that he’d just been let go from his job after 28 years. Then came a call from her sister, four months later, saying that their father had suddenly died of a heart attack. A few weeks later, she received what may have been the worst call of all: her daughter had committed suicide and left her parents a note saying that she wanted them to raise her 6-year-old son. As if that combination of circumstances wasn’t soul-crushing enough, the author was later shot in a robbery attempt outside a store and nearly lost her life; she went on to battle intense pain and extensive nerve damage from a bullet lodged in her spine. Remarkably, despite all this heartache, the book manages to be quite uplifting overall. For example, the author often returns to a theme of simple faith, including the literally childlike faith of her grandson, who saw her crying one day and said, “Why don’t you do like I do…I just call on Jesus to help me, and He always does.” She says that her decision to study the Bible was the best one of her life and explains how the Scriptures gave her hope for the future. She also writes about forgiving her shooter: “If this young man…would ask God to forgive him, he could be my next-door neighbor in heaven.” Although the book is clearly written and easy to understand, a few passages use religious language that may be unfamiliar to some readers, such as when she calls her trust in herself “my arm of flesh.” This story of her rich, full life doesn’t describe merely surviving these ordeals, though—she also tells of going on to sing for the governor of Texas, start a decorating business, and win the Ms. Mature Irving Pageant.

A positive story about the power of faith and forgiveness.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500329709

Page Count: 62

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2015

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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