Religion Book Reviews

IF THE OCEANS WERE INK by Carla Power
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"Intelligent and exceptionally informative."
An award-winning journalist's account of the year she spent probing the meaning of the Quran with a conservative Muslim religious scholar. 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 >

ORDINARY LIGHT by Tracy K. Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 2, 2015

"Guilt and regret pervade Smith's recollection of her mother's illness and death, darkening the edges of this light-filled memoir."
A daughter's journey to claim her identity. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: March 31, 2015

"Contains a wealth of information for secular or mixed-religion families preparing for the God talk with kids."
Written for secular parents from a nonreligious perspective, this guide explores methods of teaching youngsters about God, religion, and spirituality. 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 >

BEWILDERMENTS by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
RELIGION
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A powerful, important textual deconstruction of the mystical fourth book of the Old Testament."
An exploration of the book of Numbers, the penultimate of the Hebrew Bible, a strange and edifying story of the passing of an entire generation while the Israelites wandered toward the Promised Land. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"In a mix of engaging scholarship and gripping storytelling, Gibson and McKinley offer a page-turner for a wide audience."
Balanced examination of famed and infamous relics connected to the life of Jesus. Read full book review >
RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS by Randy Boyagoda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"A useful, provocative spotlight on one of the leading lights of the 20th century."
The many sides of Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009). Read full book review >
LIVING THE SECULAR LIFE by Phil Zuckerman
RELIGION
Released: Dec. 4, 2014

"As Zuckerman makes clear, without resorting to smugness, secularity is not nothing but rather a way of living that enhances moral virtues and promotes human decency."
Zuckerman (Sociology and Secular Studies/Pitzer Coll.; Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion, 2011, etc.) seeks to sever the association of secularity with nothingness.Read full book review >
Myth and Ideology : Creating History in the Bible by Stuart A. West
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 16, 2014

"A bitter pill for ultra-Orthodox Jews; others will find the intellectual adventure quite thrilling."
A highly detailed textual analysis of the Old Testament. Read full book review >
THE SHADOW OF THE SWORDS by Chenar Med
RELIGION
Released: Nov. 14, 2014

"Earnest, passionate, and sure to ignite controversy, though it does so with a range of Islamic sources."
From debut author Med, fiery polemic criticizing the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad, and the rise of Islam. 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 >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >