Religion Book Reviews (page 178)

Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"It's a keeper."
Rosenberg, who's made a career from controversial translations of biblical materials (The Book of J, 1990; Job Speaks, 1977, etc.), now claims to have ``restored'' a pre-Genesis account of the Garden of Eden. Read full book review >
BLACK ELK by Michael F. Steltenkamp
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A real step forward in American Indian religious studies."
Based on conversations with Black Elk's surviving friends and relatives, especially his daughter Lucy Looks Twice: a reassessment of the Lakota holy man's religious vocation. Read full book review >

Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Provocative and intriguing—but not without flaws."
A forceful study of the relationship between Jews and the state. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Levy does a service in pointing out that prosecutions of people on religious grounds aren't unthinkable—and indeed sometimes still occur."
In an eloquent, monumental study that retraces some of the ground covered in his Treason Against God (1981), Levy (Humanities/Claremont Graduate School; Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution, 1988) recounts the often shameful history in the West of ``the suppression of freedom of expression in the field of religious belief and experience.'' Although Levy focuses on the development of the concept, plus the common law, of blasphemy in the Anglo-American tradition, he covers the evolution of the offense everywhere in Judeo-Christian thought through the Reformation (Christian thinkers, he says, expanded the technical ancient Jewish understanding of blasphemy to encompass idolatry, heresy, sacrilege, and related offenses of nonconformist thinking). Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 28, 1993

"Eck, in the best ecumenical style, tries to reconcile contradictory beliefs by reducing them to their lowest common denominator- -seemingly without realizing that this robs them of imaginative force."
Cut-and-dried comparisons of the world's great religions. Read full book review >

Released: Aug. 25, 1993

"Too cluttered, and blemished by sly jibes at Judaism and Christianity, but still memorable as travelogue and Islamic apologetic."
A rare firsthand account, by an American writer and recent Muslim convert, of a journey to the geographical heart of ``the least understood of the world's great religions.'' Wolfe postpones his trip to Mecca until the second half of his narrative, preceding it with a colorful but meandering description of his sojourn in Morocco. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 18, 1993

"Extensive notes and bibliography add to the value of this study for the student of religion, but it lacks the punchy thesis needed for more popular appeal."
A thoughtful but short-sighted study of a precariously splintered American Jewry. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 2, 1993

A compelling, multidimensional look at Judaism and Spain—a land infamous for its medieval anti-Semitism but as yet unheralded as a haven from Hitler. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Grof's two-selves model of human nature is as old as the myth of the Fall; but her application of it to addiction is inspired, well argued (though more case histories would have enlivened the text), and alight with hope and promise."
A provocative reevaluation of addictive behavior that considers it not within the prevalent ``disease model,'' as California-based therapist Grof puts it, but within the context of a universal need for spiritual satisfaction. Read full book review >
Released: July 31, 1993

"A disappointing scrapbook seemingly designed more for the author than the reader."
An uneven—and even self-indulgent—mÇlange of autobiography and reportage from a Jewish writer with deep southern roots. Read full book review >
Released: July 14, 1993

"A balanced yet heartrending contribution to Holocaust literature."
In a vividly narrated reexamination of the historical record, Zuccotti (History/Barnard; Italians and the Holocaust, 1987) tells the horrifying story of the fate of French Jews at the hands of the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators. Read full book review >
Released: July 7, 1993

"One can't blame Blatty for sleazing up Robbie's plight, but it's good to have Allen's levelheaded account, which allows the apparent facts of this influential case to speak for their own—and compelling—selves."
The 1949 exorcism that inspired William Blatty to write The Exorcist, recounted in admirably restrained and documented fashion by an unlikely source: military-expert Allen (Merchants of Treason, 1988, etc.). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jason Gay
November 17, 2015

In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >