A sometimes-rousing call for Christians to remember the commandments’ wisdom.


A compact sequence of sermons on the meaning of the Ten Commandments.

Debut author Ingraham begins his fast-paced overview by asserting that the country is currently embroiled in a “religious war”—specifically, an “effort to distance the United States of America from its Judeo-Christian beginnings despite the abundance of evidence contained in the writings of the Founding Fathers.” He ignores the explicitly secular principles that the Founding Founders wrote into the First Amendment, instead launching into a full-throated defense of the Ten Commandments and a lament about the removal of a monument commemorating them from public grounds in Alabama in 2004. “How much safer we would be if only we obeyed [God’s] commandments,” he writes. “How better this world would be if only his commandments prevailed.” Some commandments, of course, such as injunctions against killing, stealing, and bearing false witness, do prevail in most countries of the world. The author’s main focus is on the first commandment (“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”), and the book hardly acknowledges that billions of people adhere to non-Christian religions or no religion at all. Each successive chapter, however, goes on to explicate a single commandment in great detail, employing copious, well-chosen quotes from Scripture and anecdotes drawn from history. Ingraham is skillful at weaving the commandments into the broader context of the Old and New Testaments; he richly deepens his comments on “Thou Shalt Not Covet,” for instance, by discussing St. Paul’s teachings to the Corinthians. Other material is less comprehensible, however, such as “Put God first, and your mouth will be satisfied with good things such that your youth is renewed like the eagles,” which is no more understandable than its reference, Psalm 103:5. But for the most part, his preaching has a bluff, accessible air of long experience (“As our Creator, God knows what is best for us,” he points out. “His intent is not to be a killjoy”). Each chapter ends with a list of discussion questions, designed to prompt deeper examination of finer points.

A sometimes-rousing call for Christians to remember the commandments’ wisdom.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973602-09-5

Page Count: 111

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2018

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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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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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