Religion Book Reviews (page 175)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 1, 1994

"Although there is much of interest here and the pieces appear to be in the words of those interviewed, the fact that Johnson says nothing about her methods in gathering and recording the stories should make readers wary."
An amateur ethnographer's attempt at recording the life stories of various aged Native Americans. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 1, 1994

"Ignoring the fact that the peoples with which she is dealing are involved in complex cultural and religious systems from which isolated elements cannot be plucked, McLuhan finds a kind of false unity while sometimes steamrolling the beautiful, rich diversity."
This examination of how different cultures and religions view nature tends to flatten differences among various traditions into a kind of spiritual pancake. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1994

"This poignant and provocative book goes beyond its historical setting to get to the heart of why people do or don't identify with ethnic, national, or religious groups."
A dramatic exploration of varying degrees of Jewish identity espoused, concealed, or denied by 15 Holocaust survivors during and after the war. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1994

"The real alchemy here is the magical way academics can turn a simple thesis into a 587-page book and a gold mine of research grants."
A long and quirky look at 1,800 years of minimal Jewish involvement with a pseudoscience, adding little of use either to Jewish history or to the history of science. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1994

"For an academic study of the Middle Ages, remarkably accessible and timely."
A thorough comparative study of the conditions of medieval Jewish life in Christian and Muslim lands. Read full book review >

RELIGION
Released: May 17, 1994

"Kenny provides a well-researched and readable biography of a man who helped democratize religion and in the process created a truly American Christianity."
An in-depth look at a little-known American religious radical. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: May 10, 1994

"Profound ideas, superficially treated. (Author tour)"
Controversial author and TV personality Huffington (Picasso: Creator and Destroyer, 1988) calls on society to acknowledge the drive towards transcendence and wholeness that alone can transform our lives. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: May 10, 1994

"Rservations aside, a beautifully written and personal story that grapples with questions of identity and tradition that affect us all."
This autobiography vividly describes the author's loss and rediscovery of his cultural and religious heritage. Read full book review >
THE KINGDOM OF MATTHIAS by Paul E. Johnson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 1994

"A chilling study in social psychology, this volume explores the dark energies behind leaders such as Jim Jones and David Koresh and the needs they exploit."
Combining rare narrative skills and historical detail, Johnson (History/Univ. of Utah) and Wilentz (History/Princeton) recreate the fascinating tale of a false prophet and his misguided followers in New York in the 1820s and '30s. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: May 1, 1994

"Though primarily of interest to religious scholars, there is enough here to entertain interested lay readers as well."
Meyer (The Secret Teachings of Jesus, 1984) and Smith (The Nag Hamadi Library, not reviewed) provide literate and entertaining translations of a variety of early Christian magical incantations. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 1, 1994

"A good read that sheds light not just on US ties with a particular country, but on the personal and even idiosyncratic ways in which US foreign policy is sometimes made."
CBS correspondent Dan Raviv and Israeli journalist Yossi Melman (Every Spy a Prince, 1990) explore the special but often troubled relationship between Israel and the US. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: May 1, 1994

"On balance, this is a substantial contribution to the disciplines of Jewish studies, history, and historiography."
These 26 essays and two short reviews display the considerable erudition of one of this century's leading scholars of ancient history, Momigliano (1908-87) taught at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, as well as at the University of London and the University of Chicago, and these essays show his impressive scholarly range not only in history, but in such related disciplines as philology and sociology. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >