A thoughtful account of the divide between faith and science coupled with shopworn self-help counsel.




A practical guidebook for scientists interested in reconciling their spiritual lives with a modern conception of reason.

Debut author Hamer says that he’s experienced the tension between science and religion in a deeply personal way. After finishing a graduate degree in electrical engineering, he says, he confronted the fact that his technical training inadequately prepared him for how to live a meaningful life, particularly as a husband and father. He concedes that science and spirituality aren’t perfectly compatible—they’re not only driven by different methods of investigation, but also use different language and conceptual architecture—but he asserts that they do share common ground. Most crucially, he says, both spring from the experience of wonder and awe at the vast universe—and even the magic of its inscrutability: “Science and spirituality can share a common quest for a deeper experience of mystery.” In this book, Hamer provides an accessible, synoptic history of the modern scientific revolution and argues that the turf war between religion and science isn’t an essential part of it; along the way he offers an especially intriguing account of Galileo’s conflict with religious authorities. Nevertheless, he insists that modern science can’t capture the fullness of human life—love, beauty, the profound experience of transcendence, and purposeful meaning. The author recommends that readers find a spiritual practice and provides practical, largely nonsectarian advice about how to find one. This book’s orientation is predominately pragmatic; Hamer ends some chapters with relevant exercises, as a workbook would. His prose is refreshingly clear and never burdened with gratuitous jargon, and he displays deep respect for the claims of both science and religion. That said, this isn’t an exceedingly rigorous contribution to the debate—although, in the author’s defense, he does warn readers that he won’t detail the “minute, intricate nuances of an issue.” Also, the discussion of spirituality in practice can be vague, and the exercises often seem similar to those in a 12-step program; for example, the value of repeating “I am loved” remains unclear.

A thoughtful account of the divide between faith and science coupled with shopworn self-help counsel.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-92192-0

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Logos Today

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?