Religion Book Reviews

BATTLING THE GODS by Tim Whitmarsh
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 13, 2015

"Though not for those seeking a light read, this is a seminal work on the subject, to be studied, reread, and referenced."
Whitmarsh (Greek Culture/Univ. of Cambridge; Beyond the Second Sophistic: Adventures in Greek Postclassicism, 2013, etc.) explores the evolution of atheism from Homer to the Roman Empire.Read full book review >
THE 613 by Archie Rand
Kirkus Star
by Archie Rand, illustrated by Archie Rand
RELIGION
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"As a book, it stands on its own rather than merely evoking a larger wall display, reaching a much wider audience in the process."
A monumental art project is transformed into wildly ambitious graphic literature. Read full book review >

NOT IN GOD'S NAME by Jonathan Sacks
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"A humane, literate, and sincere book, one with something truly new to say."
A remarkable exploration of the reasons behind religious violence and solutions for stopping it. Read full book review >
BLACK FLAGS by Joby Warrick
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Warrick stops short of offering policy solutions, but he provides a valuable, readable introduction to a pressing international security threat."
Crisply written, chilling account of the personalities behind the emergence of the Islamic State, or ISIS. Read full book review >
A STREET DIVIDED by Dion Nissenbaum
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A must-read for anyone interested in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian drama."
The revealing story of a street "at the epicenter of one of the world's most intractable conflicts." Read full book review >

Faith, Doubt, Mystery by James J. Tracy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 3, 2015

"A sympathetic but unflinchingly honest testament of indoctrination and embattled faith."
An affecting account of one man's experiences with the Catholic faith. Read full book review >
POPE FRANCIS by Paul Vallely
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Discovering a pope with a controversial past and a revolutionary style of leadership in the present, Vallely provides a highly worthwhile resource for Catholics and non-Catholics alike."
An exhaustive look at the newest pope. Read full book review >
ONE NATION UNDER GOD by Kevin K. Kruse
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 7, 2015

"In a book for readers from both parties, Kruse ably demonstrates how the simple ornamental mottoes 'under God' and 'In God We Trust,' as well as the fight to define America as Christian, were parts of a clever business plan."
Kruse (History/Princeton Univ.; White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, 2007, etc.) explains the links between capitalism and Christianity.Read full book review >
THE FUTURE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITH POPE FRANCIS by Garry Wills
RELIGION
Released: March 10, 2015

"A welcome, thoughtful menu for the new pope on how to proceed with reform."
Beautifully conceived and wrought essays that systematically address the wrongheadedness of the Catholic Church over centuries—and the space therein for Francis' long-needed reforms. Read full book review >
FIELDS OF BLOOD by Karen Armstrong
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 30, 2014

"An intriguing read, useful resource and definitive voice in defense of the divine in human culture."
Comparative religions expert Armstrong (Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, 2010, etc.) provides a comprehensive and erudite study of the history of violence in relation to religion. Read full book review >
AMERICA'S PASTOR by Grant Wacker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 29, 2014

"Some readers may tire of the uniform patterns of the chapters and the author's dispassionate voice, but vast research composes the foundation of a very sturdy structure."
A scholarly, analytical and sympathetic biography of the evangelist Billy Graham (b. 1918), who for decades was what the title proclaims. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 1, 2014

"In affording a fresh perspective on the difficult but exhilarating birth of this country, Stewart shows that the often superficially misunderstood words of the Declaration of Independence are even more profound than they appear."
Stewart (The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong, 2009, etc.) delivers a penetrating history of an American Revolution not yet finished and a stirring reassertion of the power of ideas unbound by the shackles of superstition. 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 >