A brief but captivating look at an ancient story.

THE JOY OF JOB

AN INVESTIGATOR'S PERSPECTIVE ON THE MOST RIGHTEOUS MAN ON EARTH

A revisionist interpretation of the biblical book of Job that raises provocative questions about its titular protagonist’s character. 

The widely accepted reading of Job is that God allowed him to suffer at the hands of Satan despite his righteousness. The ostensible lessons are that even the morally blameless can suffer and that God’s plan is inscrutable. However, Vander Weele (Reclaiming Our Schools, 1994) argues that this view entails a theological incoherency, as God capriciously delivers a good man into Satan’s evil clutches. In search of an alternative explanation, the author—a professional corporate investigator—meticulously scoured the text for “throwaway lines” that function as exegetical clues. In the process, she discovered an entirely new analysis: “Perhaps Job wasn’t the loving and honorable brother, relative, friend, and civic leader he imagined himself to be.” In this book, she considers evidence that Job’s prideful estimation of his own virtue far exceeded reality—that after he suffered a series of catastrophic losses, his neighbors abandoned him, and his friends felt that he deserved punishment for shady business practices that preyed upon the poor. Job, the author asserts, seemed more concerned with defending his reputation, arrogantly proposing a “cosmic Calculus” in which he earned his prosperity and future salvation. Vander Weele’s thesis in this book is as challenging as it is rigorous. Her painstaking interrogation of the biblical text is delightfully unrelenting. It also provides a philosophically sound lesson involving the dangers of pride and the eternal goodness not of Job, but of God. The author also furnishes an engaging account of Satan’s role in all this and the way in which he was essentially duped by God. Throughout, her prose is unfailingly clear and free of academic jargon, and her analytical results read like a true-crime mystery: dramatic, accessible, and full of profound, moral meaning.

A brief but captivating look at an ancient story. 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7322408-1-0

Page Count: 138

Publisher: Sagerity Press, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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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 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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