A one-sided but undeniably powerful examination of the Christian right’s political motives.

THE POWER WORSHIPPERS

INSIDE THE DANGEROUS RISE OF RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM

An exposé of the righteous hypocrisy driving Christian nationalism.

In the late 1970s, a self-appointed group of radical right-wing Christians decided to take on an impossible-sounding task that would, in their view, restore America’s moral foundation. They would form a political organization with the goal of taking over every element of government in the U.S.—first Congress, followed by the presidency, the federal courts, state legislatures, and local governments—and imbue them with their religious ideas. However, according to Stewart (The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children, 2012, etc.), the initial purpose of the Christian nationalists, as she calls them, had little to do with religion or morality. In the beginning, their efforts were focused on overcoming the Internal Revenue Service’s attempt to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University. To succeed, they knew they needed a hot-button issue they could ride to success; they settled on abortion even though Judaism teaches that life begins at birth, and Jesus never challenged that. Nevertheless, the plan worked so well that today, four decades later, Christian nationalism has become a frighteningly powerful voice in the Republican Party. It was instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected president, and now it has a committee that suggests candidates for the federal bench that Trump rubber-stamps and blindly sends out for confirmation. Currently, the Christian nationalists are moving rapidly in their plan to take over state legislatures, which they’re accomplishing through “Project Blitz.” Though its stated aim is to advance religious freedom, Stewart argues convincingly that the true goal is to inundate as many states as possible with so many right-wing bills that it will jam the state legislative processes. Many readers will consider the book advocacy journalism because the author didn’t seek out her targets’ comments, but the thoroughly researched facts as she lays them out are hard to argue with.

A one-sided but undeniably powerful examination of the Christian right’s political motives.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63557-343-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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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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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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