A thoughtfully themed guided tour through Christian Scripture, a kind of keyword search executed with compassionate...


In this debut book, a selection of favorite Bible verses sheds light on various emotions, problems, and periods of life.

Ratcliff’s work is the outgrowth of something many Christians have experienced: the hours and hours spent paging through the Bible searching for a particular verse or passage or hunting for sections on a specific topic or theme. This volume is the author’s own version of an answer to this: It’s essentially a commonplace book of biblical passages arranged by subject and lightly dusted with personal commentary. The topic headings are concepts that will be familiar to most Christians. They frequently have about them the feel of an old-time prayer book, and they don’t shy away from the more exacting aspects of Christianity. Examining “suffering,” for instance, Ratcliff prefaces her assortment of quotations with ruminations on the subject. “Since Jesus suffered for us, we should also be patient and suffer so that we won’t fail to please God,” she writes. “For if we have suffered in the flesh, then we have quit sinning on purpose and we have stopped pleasing ourselves and the world, and we live to please the Lord.” This same stern, pre–Vatican II tone is struck in her introduction to the grouping of quotes under “Fear of the Lord”: “God’s word is His rule book and there are a lot of benefits to obeying it. The fear of the Lord means to reverence Him, to worship Him, and to be in awe of Him.” Likewise, there are assembled verses warning against backsliding, cursing, drinking, boasting, slandering, and so on. But Ratcliff is careful to balance these with more positive, affirming excerpts about heavenly love, forgiveness, and support, and the lasting impression of her own reflections is one of the restorative power of faith—and the inspiring influence of Scripture. Christian readers and prayer groups should find this collection an invaluable aid, as will believers who are a bit tired of looking for that one crucial passage.

A thoughtfully themed guided tour through Christian Scripture, a kind of keyword search executed with compassionate elaboration.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-973614-87-6

Page Count: 504

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: May 29, 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 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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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