A vivid, if uneven, faith account by a charismatic preacher.

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CHRIST IS LIFE

A passionate exhortation of fundamentalist Christianity from a teenage evangelist.

In this nonfiction debut, Wilkerson (with co-author Clower) provides readers with a collection of stirring homilies and speeches of the sort that have earned him a large following on social media. His message, stated in the three-word title, is simplicity itself. Christians seeking salvation, he asserts, must surrender themselves entirely to Jesus and his teachings. Wilkerson admits no shades of gray in this interpretation: “The devil has a will for your life and if you are doing his will then you are not doing God’s will,” he says. “There is no middle ground.” The rhetoric he uses in this book is equal measures urgent and incantatory, with some exaggerated statements that may be familiar to attendees of big-tent revivals. For instance, Wilkerson regularly makes allowance for clerical donations; God, he writes, “beckons those who He has blessed with monetary wealth to abandon our right to it and be willing to use it to assist those who are going into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature.” (The New Testament makes no specific mention of providing money for itinerant preachers.) He also characterizes Jesus as doing something that had never been done before—“He would defy the laws of man to proclaim the laws of God”—when Old Testament prophets did this, as well. Still, Wilkerson’s account rings with his clear dedication to spreading the Gospel overseas: “While the only risk most of us take is the possibility of being pulled over for speeding to get to church on time,” he notes, “there are thousands who risk their occupations, reputations, and even lives for the sake of Christ.” Christian readers will likely be touched by this young author’s zeal.

A vivid, if uneven, faith account by a charismatic preacher.

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-9577-6

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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