A new and urgent reading of Christian Tribulation Scripture.


This Side of the Whirlwind

A debut book provides a comprehensive analysis of the Christian doctrine of the end times.

Harrel’s wide-ranging and ambitious work takes on a familiar topic in Christian theology: the schema by which God will bring about the end of the world, the end of time, and the kingdom of heaven. The rough outline of this schema has been laid out in countless works of theology, beginning with the emergence of Israel as a nation, moving to the Tribulation, then the rapture, then the opening of great seals and the Battle of Armageddon, then the dawning of the millennium and the thousand-year reign of Christ on Earth, eventually ushering the faithful into heaven. Arguments and various calculations about the precise nature and timing of these events, grounded in differing readings of the Old and New Testaments and the book of Revelation, have filled countless volumes. Harrel buttresses his own with two assertions: first, that all Christians have failed to determine the timing of Christ’s return (whether through erroneous scriptural analysis or because God has made the truth unknowable), and second, that God has made everything clear to the author through direct personal revelation. To non-Christians this may seem like the ultimate example of game-rigging, but the main strength of Harrel’s highly readable, searching book is its tremendously engaging textual analysis, not its opening claim of personal prophecy. He leads his readers through a painstakingly thorough, historical, and line-by-line analysis of Revelation-relevant Old Testament books, such as Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah, and he steadily builds some real-world warnings into his narrative. He cautions that mistaken readings of Revelation can have serious consequences if the faithful are led astray by their own pastors. And since Harrel examines the highest of stakes, his book’s closing chapters, dealing with the end of the world, are appropriately forbidding. But the research and cleareyed exegesis in these pages should fascinate all students of end times lore.

A new and urgent reading of Christian Tribulation Scripture.

Pub Date: April 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-3406-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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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 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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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