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An insightful examination of one way that religious beliefs are shaping American families.

A story of raising children in two religions.

Like interracial families, interfaith families, in which two different religions are practiced in the same household, are becoming more common. Former Newsweek and New Scientist writer Miller examines the experiences of her childhood, during which she was raised by a Jewish father and Protestant mother. Since Judaism is matrilineal, Miller was not always accepted as a Jew in more orthodox circles, but she still considered herself Jewish. When she fell in love with a Protestant, “[m]any of our friends and relatives experienced our wedding as a symbol of hope for peace between world religions, a sign that love can overcome differences, and an education for those from both sides of the aisle." Consequently, when they had children, it was only logical to raise them to take part in both religious worlds. Part memoir and part how-to for families facing questions of faith, Miller provides answers to the sometimes-overwhelming dilemma of choosing between faiths or choosing both faiths. By finding supportive religious leaders and other families in similar situations, a couple can incorporate the best of both religions, providing a richer, varied faith-based experience for children. Miller addresses such topics as circumcision, baptism, coming-of-age ceremonies and education. Using stories from other families who practice two faiths, the author generates a well-rounded take on how they have handled this complex scenario and how interfaith children continue to follow (or not) once they come of age. Most interfaith families are Jewish and Christian, but Miller points out that Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus are just as likely to intermarry with Christians and others, and she provides sound advice for these complex relationships as well.

An insightful examination of one way that religious beliefs are shaping American families.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8070-1319-9

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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