An informative book that leaves the author exposed throughout as the center of attention, as opposed to God.

COSTLY GRACE

AN EVANGELICAL MINISTER’S REDISCOVERY OF FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE

Christian activist and minister Schenck provides a provocative autobiography centered on the evolution of his life as a person of faith.

Born into a nominally Jewish family, the author and his identical twin brother, Paul, shocked their parents by converting to Christianity as teenagers and, soon thereafter, jumping headlong into evangelical ministry. While still rather young, the brothers moved wholeheartedly into the nascent anti-abortion movement of the late 1980s. From the rise of Operation Rescue, Schenck describes in page-turning detail his life at the heart of the abortion controversy. The author seems to have been at almost every important event and turning point as evangelical Christianity reached its zenith of political influence in the George W. Bush years—and as it began a slide into confusion, infighting, and muddled morality over the past decade. Having set himself up in Washington, D.C., targeting politicians and others of influence, Schenck became a well-known face of the religious right, often conferring with members of Congress and being interviewed by the press. But years of fame, travel, legal troubles, and near zealotry took their toll on the author and his family. Early in the Barack Obama era, an encounter with the works of German writer Dietrich Bonhoeffer caused Schenck to re-evaluate his ministry and his priorities, including his involvement with “the politicized religion that had infected me and millions of others back in the eighties, when American evangelicals entered into their Faustian pact with Ronald Reagan’s party.” The author’s seemingly sudden change from a card-carrying fundamentalist to a moderate on almost all controversial issues may be difficult to grasp, but some readers may be most startled by what Schenck put his wife and children through during three decades of unabated activism.

An informative book that leaves the author exposed throughout as the center of attention, as opposed to God.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268793-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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