A moving and informative account of an African mission trip.

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CALLED TO FOLLOW

A husband-and-wife team fights doubts and heartbreaking conditions to provide medical care in the slums of Uganda.

“The opening minutes of the clinic reminded me of going to the symphony,” writes McDonald in his debut memoir. “When the orchestra first shows up and tunes their instruments, everything is chaotic and discordant.” The turmoil came from the hectic traffic of Kampala and the haphazard conditions of the health clinics the author and his wife, Stephanie, were sent to work in. But they both were anticipating something magical from their brief mission trip to Uganda. The pair met while working as nurses. For her, using these skills to help disadvantaged people in a place like Africa was a lifelong dream, and for McDonald, who had recently renewed his Christian faith, any opportunity to better serve was unmissable. So when their friend Bishop Beall proposed a mission trip through the Sports Outreach Institute/Ministry, they jumped at the chance. In the slums of Kampala and in an area north of the Nile, they and their team spent long days dressing wounds, appreciating the country’s majestic beauty, and observing the lasting effects of Joseph Kony’s guerrilla army and the rampant sexual abuse he inflicted on entire populations. McDonald uses the relatively short visit to his advantage, making the most of every detail and conflicting emotion he experienced throughout such exhausting days, especially related to Uganda’s history and his own trepidations about ministering to people. He eventually overcame his fears during a particularly stirring foot-washing session taken straight from the Gospels. The author largely relies on the same elements found throughout contemporary Christian nonfiction: the importance of sacrifice, the difficulty of trusting in God, and the resistance to “spiritual attack.” But he also deftly touches on more profound issues when tackling his own wife’s discomfort with religion and the way Ugandans seem to unquestioningly accept the story of Christ. With more time spent developing and ruminating on these ideas, McDonald could have created a deeper reflection on the many facets of missionary work—but he still offers Christian readers a clear view of a fascinating country.

A moving and informative account of an African mission trip.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973601-64-7

Page Count: 130

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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