A spirited and comprehensive overview of the scriptural foundations of Christianity.


Christianity Made Simple


A detailed guidebook examines modern Christian faith and practice.

Goulder-Frick intends her nonfiction debut to be both an introduction to the concepts and implementations of Christianity for newcomers to the faith and a reference tool for established believers. The book addresses four stages in readers’ spiritual lives—unbelief, belief, commitment, and discipleship—employing clear prose buttressed by copious Scriptural citations to outline the core beliefs of Christianity. These include the nature of the Trinity, the character of Jesus as both teacher and Messiah, and the precepts of Christian tolerance, charity, and self-denial: give to the poor, help the downtrodden, sublimate one’s wants to the needs of others, etc. The entire gamut of Christian subjects is covered in satisfying detail, with pertinent biblical quotations assembled on such topics as hell, angels, Satan, the mechanics of prayer, the afterlife, original sin, the personality of God, and the specific teachings of the church on such subjects as birth control and abortion. The author’s assessment of most of these topics hews to a fairly strict literal interpretation; progressive Christians will read pronouncements like “Any sexual activity that is not between a man and a woman is sin” throughout the text. And Goulder-Frick’s moral certainty occasionally prompts her to overreach: when she asserts that the teachings of Christianity provide the “criteria for right vs. wrong” throughout the world, for instance. Or when she writes that “one simply has to look up” to see that the universe is overseen by the Christian God; such claims obviously fail to take into account either the world’s atheists or its billions of believers in non-Christian deities. The author’s obvious target audience is ill-served by naïve assertions that the truth of Christianity is self-evident. But in the ambition, sweep, and comprehensiveness of the rest of the book’s teachings, Christians should find a gold mine of useful information and synthesis, with plenty of textual references to track down.

A spirited and comprehensive overview of the scriptural foundations of Christianity.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9969855-4-3

Page Count: 542

Publisher: The Key Ministry

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2016

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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