Religion Book Reviews

WHY I AM A SALAFI by Michael Muhammad Knight
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"A vigorous treatment of how the sacred, in all its multifarious forms, continues to exercise power, even if sometimes it just feels like 'we're arguing over what the mystery god intended to say in his address to a mystic in a cave some fifteen centuries ago.'"
Knight (Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing, 2013, etc.) traverses the scenic highways of Islamic history, seeking paths that connect him to Muhammad. Read full book review >
THE GRAMMAR OF GOD by Aviya Kushner
RELIGION
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"A paean, in a way, to the rigors and frustrations—and ultimate joys—of trying to comprehend the unfathomable."
A freelancer debuts with a memoir/disquisition about the Hebrew Bible and the difficulties—linguistic and personal—that translators into English have faced. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"An incisive sociological lens on a religion in flux, which, though centuries distant, continues to hold relevance for the present day."
How evangelical missionaries, dispatched from New England to the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century, failed spectacularly to convert the Muslim masses but had a lasting impact on the face of American Christianity. 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 >
RELIGION
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"While Thavis makes no attempt to verify or disprove the authenticity of the phenomena he covers, his book is an engaging introduction to the subject for lay readers—though it may prove dull for those expecting the drama of The Da Vinci Code."
From angelic apparitions to demonic possessions, the realm of the supernatural makes its presence felt in Catholic communities around the world—but the Vatican often maintains a certain distance. 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 >
CHURCH OF SPIES by Mark Riebling
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Not only a dramatic disclosure of the Vatican's covert actions, but also an absorbing, polished story for all readers of World War II history."
Riebling (Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA, 1994), an expert on secret intelligence, compellingly explores the papacy's involvement in espionage during World War II.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 >
ISLAM AND THE FUTURE OF TOLERANCE by Sam Harris
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"A wider range of viewpoints might have made this discussion even more valuable, but readers with a knee-jerk opinion of Islam will learn a lot."
Can an American atheist who has said that "the West is at war with Islam" and a secular, former Islamist Muslim find common ground? Read full book review >
BETWEEN GODS by Alison Pick
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A poignant and powerful memoir of family, religion, love, and healing."
An award-winning Canadian writer's account of how learning a family secret led her to embark on a journey of spiritual transformation and religious conversion. Read full book review >
WITCHES OF AMERICA by Alex Mar
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"An enchanting and addictive report shedding much-needed light on a spiritualistic community obfuscated by historical misinterpretation and pop-culture derision."
A self-avowed skeptic investigates the shadowy world of modern witchcraft. Read full book review >
THE GIVENNESS OF THINGS by Marilynne Robinson
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Deeply thoughtful essays on troubling and divisive cultural—and spiritual—issues."
A sober, passionate defense of Christian faith. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >