A wide-ranging, thought-provoking look at faith and the nature of reality.

BEYOND EXTREMISM, HATRED, AND VIOLENCE

TOWARD A MORE PEACEFUL WORLD

A call for a broader, more compassionate version of spirituality.

Despite the fact that his nonfiction debut contains a vague chart of fundamentalist Christian vintage (with “God, Heaven, Angels” on the top, for instance, and “Demons, Hell, Satan” on the bottom), Markham delves into a far more ecumenical and broad-based spiritual schema. He characterizes God as “the mysterious, underlying source of all existence” and asserts that underneath the “blitz” of the modern world—exemplified by advertisements, politics, and the nonstop news cycle—there’s a deeper level of reality, a spiritual level to which everybody is connected, whether they realize it or not: “is it not reasonable to accept the possibility that reality has a dimension that is an impenetrable void inaccessible to sense and intellect?” he asks. This mysterious level, he says, can be a help to people during times of loss or despair: “knowingly or not, they draw upon a deep reservoir of spirit that enables them to comprehend their situation in a larger perspective.” Secular readers will naturally object to being implicated in such an explicitly religious worldview, but Markham’s clear, easygoing prose emphasizes that commonality is more important than doctrine: “Realizing that we’re all in this together on this speck of dust can help us have compassion for one another even when we disagree.” While referencing a wide array of sources, such as Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God and Crane Brinton’s The Shaping of Modern Thought, Markham effectively offers a path out of what he sees as social conditioning: “we must find a way to short-circuit business as usual,” he writes. Overall, he presents a liberal, inclusive reading of the Judeo-Christian tradition as a way forward, but readers of other faiths will also find plenty of substance in these pages.

A wide-ranging, thought-provoking look at faith and the nature of reality.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 82

Publisher: Shires Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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