Religion Book Reviews (page 178)

Released: Jan. 18, 1994

"With its very clear reverence to Allah, this may not be an unbiased account of Islam; still, it's a good place to start in trying to understand the world's fastest growing religion."
American Muslims run the gamut from fanatical minister Louis Farrakhan to Mother Theresa-like AIDS activist Tarajee Abdurj-Rahim in this provocative study by New York Times journalist and practicing Muslim Steven Barboza. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1994

It's exactly 40 years since Watson and Crick published their landmark double-helix papers in Nature, setting biology on a revolutionary course. Read full book review >

Released: Jan. 1, 1994

"The most reliable—read: cautious—guide to the historical Jesus remains John P. Meier's massive, on-going project, A Marginal Jew (1991- )."
Revisionist ``biography'' of Jesus, by New Testament scholar Crossan (Biblical Studies/DePaul University; Raid on the Articulate, 1976). Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1994

From prolific historian Smith (Killing the Spirit, 1990; Redeeming the Time, 1986, etc.): a genealogy of democracy that rejects Max Weber's ``Protestant ethic''—which equates democracy, Christianity, and capitalism—and instead places the democratic impulse squarely in the Christian communalist tradition. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 15, 1993

"Learned and lucid: an important piece of sociohistorical research."
In a vigorous historical analysis, Meeks (Biblical Studies/Yale; The First Urban Christians, 1983) offers new perspectives on the early days of Christian morality. Read full book review >

Released: Dec. 6, 1993

"Though couched in well-mannered, even cautious, prose, Murphy's linkages offer a provocative new interpretation of the black American religious experience—one that's likely to inspire Afrocentrics even as it wrinkles the collars of conservative clerics and theologians."
Murphy's Santer°a (1988) was a dramatic firsthand, if scholarly, account of that African-Cuban religion. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1993

"Here again, as in too much writing on the Middle East, sincerity has replaced balanced analysis."
A critical and largely one-sided view of modern Zionism and the history of Israel. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 19, 1993

"Those with a serious interest in Maya myth, symbol, and art, though, can excavate much of value here. (Illustrations—250, including 24 pages color)"
How elements of the Maya creation myth can be found in ancient Maya art as well as in today's Maya folk culture. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

A comprehensive and balanced history of conservative Catholic social thought during the cold war era. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"Not hagiographic—Schneider emphasizes that Dorsey remained mercurial until the end—but, still, angels weep as the abbot, his body ravaged but his dignity aglow, breathes his final breath. (Eight pages of photographs—some seen)"
Religious history rings with tales of converted libertines- -Saul, St. Read full book review >
THE HISTORY OF HELL by Alice K. Turner
Released: Oct. 28, 1993

"Sleek but shallow—and doesn't hold a candle to its counterpart, Colleen McDannell and Bernhard Lang's Heaven: A History (1988). (Illustrations: 32 pages color, 30 b&w)"
Just in time for Halloween: a pop guide to the hells of the Western world. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 25, 1993

"An assertive, odd, reductive reading of a familiar and complex cultural phenomenon that the Greeks identified as eros and thanatos."
A vivid but quirky survey of what Osborne (Paris Dreambook, 1991; Ania Malina, 1987) calls ``sexual pessimism''—the association between sexual pleasure and death—which he traces to the Gnostics, the pre-Christian sect that gave creative power to evil and held carnal pleasure in contempt. 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 >