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A brief but captivating look at an ancient story.

Awards & Accolades

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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 wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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