A sharply focused, well-written guidebook.

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SUBMERGED IN THE PROPHETIC

A GUIDED EXPLORATION INTO THE DEPTHS OF PROPHECY

Buckley, who serves as a prophetess in her New Mexico church, shares insights into the biblical gift of prophecy.

Buckley, in her debut, writes that she grew up Baptist in Mississippi, hearing about Jesus’ history but not his mystery and only later learning how to live a richer spiritual life. She lays a foundation for discussing the gift of prophecy by explaining how Christian workers must be prepared to go forward only in God’s timing. In one practical example, she compares the preparation of the Christian worker to the harvesting of collards by her Mississippi grandmother. Her grandmother wouldn’t pick collards until days before the first frost, when they were ready; similarly, the Christian worker should be aware that it “may be your season but not your time.” The author is also a private pilot, and she compares the proper use of the gift of prophecy—defined as “edification, exhortation, and comfort”—with the proper use of her knowledge of flying an aircraft. Above a certain altitude, she writes, she and everyone on the plane must have portable oxygen or they will be unsafe; likewise, she believes those with the gift of prophecy must be aware of their own limitations, as shown in the Bible, and must operate under the authority of the church. Some of the prophetic terms aren’t clearly defined until late in the book, and readers new to this topic would be better served if terms were explained earlier. The author has a pleasant, accessible writing style and is an excellent teacher, frequently explaining scriptural insights she’s learned from others. The book of Matthew tells of a woman with a blood disease who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment: “Once the hem is done, the garment is complete,” Buckley writes. “Therefore, when the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she touched the finished work of Jesus Christ.” The appendix gives information on prophecy and other spiritual gifts to help those desiring further study.

A sharply focused, well-written guidebook.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1491746585

Page Count: 164

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

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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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The author’s sincere sermon—at times analytical, at times hortatory—remains a hopeful one.

THE ROAD TO CHARACTER

New York Times columnist Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement, 2011, etc.) returns with another volume that walks the thin line between self-help and cultural criticism.

Sandwiched between his introduction and conclusion are eight chapters that profile exemplars (Samuel Johnson and Michel de Montaigne are textual roommates) whose lives can, in Brooks’ view, show us the light. Given the author’s conservative bent in his column, readers may be surprised to discover that his cast includes some notable leftists, including Frances Perkins, Dorothy Day, and A. Philip Randolph. (Also included are Gens. Eisenhower and Marshall, Augustine, and George Eliot.) Throughout the book, Brooks’ pattern is fairly consistent: he sketches each individual’s life, highlighting struggles won and weaknesses overcome (or not), and extracts lessons for the rest of us. In general, he celebrates hard work, humility, self-effacement, and devotion to a true vocation. Early in his text, he adapts the “Adam I and Adam II” construction from the work of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Adam I being the more external, career-driven human, Adam II the one who “wants to have a serene inner character.” At times, this veers near the Devil Bugs Bunny and Angel Bugs that sit on the cartoon character’s shoulders at critical moments. Brooks liberally seasons the narrative with many allusions to history, philosophy, and literature. Viktor Frankl, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Tillich, William and Henry James, Matthew Arnold, Virginia Woolf—these are but a few who pop up. Although Brooks goes after the selfie generation, he does so in a fairly nuanced way, noting that it was really the World War II Greatest Generation who started the ball rolling. He is careful to emphasize that no one—even those he profiles—is anywhere near flawless.

The author’s sincere sermon—at times analytical, at times hortatory—remains a hopeful one.

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9325-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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