A discerning new take on Revelation that opens up the confounding text.


The Revelation of Jesus Christ—Comfort or Confusion?

Rohr presents an accessible, chapter-by-chapter explication of the fascinating symbols that fill the Bible’s most challenging book.

D.H. Lawrence famously said, “When we read Revelation, we feel at once there are meanings behind meanings.” Suffice it to say, this difficult book admits to many possible readings. According to Rohr, it’s a shame recent readers often think Revelation has just one: The end of the world is coming, and Revelation tells how it’s going to happen. Rohr calls this the “millennial” interpretation, and while it has many supporters, he thinks it causes only “eschatological confusion.” To help alleviate this confusion—and restore the book’s true message of Christian comfort—Rohr offers a new take that characterizes it first and foremost as a complex grouping of symbols. He gets his cue from the Greek word semaino, which appears in the first verse; roughly, semaino means “to give a sign,” and Rohr argues that “Revelation is an unveiling of Jesus Christ by means of symbols.” His book, then, is a refreshingly open-minded effort to figure out what that “unveiling” means. And from the heft of his tome, readers will recognize that this is no small task. To do so, Rohr mainly relies on the original text itself, as much of his project is devoted to careful readings of passages from Revelation. However, the author also relies on the rest of the Bible, and he’s eager to fall back on other scriptural texts to explain particularly difficult images. Rohr describes himself as a sort of enthusiastic amateur scholar, but his lack of formal training is a strength; his tone is unpretentious and his style simple and straightforward. Throughout, it’s clear that he wants to make Revelation easier, not harder. However, Rohr also has a solid understanding of basic biblical Greek, and this knowledge not only deepens his insights, but also lends him additional credibility.

A discerning new take on Revelation that opens up the confounding text.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1449767648

Page Count: 488

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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