A very human Paul, brought to life by an experienced teacher and pastor—an excellent introduction for general readers.

PAUL

A BIOGRAPHY

Wright (New Testament and Early Christianity/University of St. Andrews; The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion, 2016, etc.) draws from a lifetime of study on the figure of Paul to construct this useful biography of the early Christian missionary.

Though there is no shortage of extant material about Paul, who helped establish Christianity as a growing religion in the Mediterranean basin, the author is nevertheless able to provide a much-needed fresh voice to the body of Pauline studies. Blending solid scholarship and analysis with a respect for and, indeed, belief in the text, Wright provides a solid introduction to Paul written not for the skeptic but for the believer. He is a fluid writer whose work is accessible and engrossing. Throughout, Wright attempts to discover “what made Paul tick.” What he discovers is a man driven from his youth by zeal and inspired by a passion for his scriptural antecedents. Once confronted with the new reality of Jesus Christ, revealed to him in a vision on the road to Damascus, Paul was forced to reassess his belief system and, ultimately, his life’s course. Instead of getting bogged down in inconsistencies with Paul’s timeline, as do many scholars, Wright takes these elements in stride and looks to the realities of what Paul must have been dealing with, wherever and with whomever being of secondary importance. Paul realized that Jesus represented not a new religion but a fulfillment of his Jewish beliefs; with that understanding firmly in his mind, he set out to share it with the world. Along the way, he suffered greatly, in ways that Wright brilliantly exposes by drawing forth from the text the tapestry of anxieties, broken relationships, beatings, imprisonments, and other crises that dogged his life and ministry.

A very human Paul, brought to life by an experienced teacher and pastor—an excellent introduction for general readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-173058-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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