Intriguing analysis of a continuing conversation.

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THE MANY FACES OF GOD

SCIENCE’S 400-YEAR QUEST FOR IMAGES OF THE DIVINE

Refreshing view of how science and religion interact.

In an engaging and wide-ranging work, Campbell (The Liar’s Tale, 2001) explores the complex relationship between science and religion since the 1600s, which saw the advent of “new science” through such figures as Isaac Newton and Galileo. Campbell’s book makes clear that the widespread “religion versus science” mentality is far too simplistic. Indeed, religion and science have been involved in an intricate relationship over the past few centuries, sometimes acting as adversaries, but more often feeding off of each other. As scientific knowledge continued to expand, scientists and theologians alike struggled to find God’s “place” in the cosmos. Was he a clock-starter standing idly by as his creation worked itself out, a “God of the gaps” involved in unexplainable phenomena, or was God’s relationship with creation too complex for humans to comprehend? Or, did God exist at all? Campbell examines the role of philosophy as it relates to these questions. Indeed, the reader may be surprised to find that the author spends more time addressing philosophical questions and their impact throughout history than the stereotypical squabbling between scientists and theologians. Drawing upon a range of thinkers past and present—from Newton to Polkinghorne, from Donne to Updike—Campbell provides a broad survey of the weighty issues both science and religion have had to face over the past 400 years. The book leans heavily toward a Western (especially English) viewpoint, with only occasional nods to science’s interactions with non-Christian worlds.

Intriguing analysis of a continuing conversation.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2006

ISBN: 0-393-06179-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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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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