A useful daily primer for Christian couples.

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LOVE THROUGH ALL SEASONS

GROWING CLOSER TOGETHER IN 31 DAYS FOR A LIFETIME

A month of Christian meditations aimed at structuring and strengthening romantic relationships.

Bergmann’s slim nonfiction debut, aimed squarely at fellow Christians, takes readers through 31 days of reflections on all aspects of relationships between men and women, reminding readers that “the first step is to look for someone whose heart is after God’s.” This idea is key to every aspect of the book; indeed, this is much less a study of how two people can perfect a relationship with each other and more a study of how, in the author’s view, a healthy relationship contours to three participants: a man, a woman, and God: “Everything we have, every opportunity given to us,” Bergmann writes, “is by His hand.” (Bergmann opens with a note asserting that the book will also appeal to single people by giving them a kind of relationship blueprint, but the book is clearly designed for married couples.) Readers are also continually warned by the author that Satan always lurks to do harm and pull people apart: “Satan enslaves us. Christ frees us,” he says. “Satan destroys our lives. Christ saves.” Many meditations, though, simply concentrate on the basics of any relationship, applicable to people of any faith: honesty, clear and enthusiastic communication, common courtesy. Couples are urged to control their tempers, not to be careless with words, and to curtail pointless, trust-sapping complaining. Bergmann uses a clear, sparse prose style throughout in elaborating these points, and each chapter is lavishly supplied with quotes from Scripture at every step. The author has many useful things to say about the dangers of egotism and anger, but the book’s main point is evangelical: The highest goal of every relationship, it says, is to make that relationship pleasing to God. Religious couples will likely find each of these meditations instructive.

A useful daily primer for Christian couples.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973607-38-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: March 29, 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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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