A singularly eloquent account of unusual visitations.

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GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN

DREAM VISITATIONS FROM THE AFTERLIFE—AND A VISIT TO ETERNITY

A journalist recounts stories involving the afterlife.

“Someday,” writes Hardesty in his nonfiction debut, “it will be our turn to experience the most mysterious, the most feared and the least understood aspect of human existence”—death itself. Hardesty, a sports journalist for 30 years, writes that he was fond of talking about life, death, and the meaning of it all with his father. When his dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack, Hardesty might have thought those conversations were over. But on the day that he made the funeral arrangements, he says, he began to receive what he calls “visitations” from his father’s ghost; these eventually led to his father giving him a tour of Heaven in his dreams, he says. “While my sleeping body lay peacefully in bed in Stow, Ohio, my soul traveled to Heaven with my dad,” Hardesty writes. “Of this I am sure.” The bulk of the book consists of the author’s descriptions of these and other encounters that he had with the spirits of deceased friends and family members. Thanks to his clear, powerful prose, these stories are uniformly engaging and even moving. He creates surprising emotional moments, as when he realizes how working in the corporate environment of a large tire company took a toll on his father, who started his career as a teacher. Hardesty admits early on that he can’t prove that these visitations happened, and that “naysayers and non-believers will…insist my Christian bent has steered my conscious mind in a biased direction”; he also makes a straw-man argument about scientists “dismissing out of hand the possibility of a Creator simply because they don’t believe in one.” Even so, the author’s colorful evocations of ghostly encounters in his lifetime remain engaging, including vivid moments involving beloved pets.

A singularly eloquent account of unusual visitations.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-6483-8

Page Count: 230

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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