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

READ REVIEW

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more