A spirited and invitingly even-keeled series of meditations on various aspects of Christianity.

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SAFE PASSAGE

A debut guide focuses on finding Christian inspiration.

McGee conceives his book as an encouraging conversation, a means for his Christian readers to save their souls and find the path to Jesus. The principal instrument in achieving this goal is of course the wisdom of the Bible, but as the author readily admits, the holy book is very long and verbose. In his brief series of spiritual and biblical meditations, McGee provides concise thoughts and scriptural quotations on a number of key Christian concepts. “No matter how hard or how easy your life has been here on earth, no matter how badly you think you may have failed God,” McGee tells his readers, “the Bible says that you can be safe at death.” And in the course of his work, the author examines some of the mysteries and reassurances of the Bible and key points of lore, such as prayer, wisdom, and authority (“All final authority rests with God”). McGee wonders what happens after death, including to non-Christians (“Where are all the souls of the cavemen and lost tribes?”). And he’s frank about his own trials with faith, including his questions about prayer: “Is God listening? Will my prayers be heard, much less granted? Will they be ignored?” This note of approachable humanity compensates for some of the author’s controversial statements (“It is God alone who keeps people and animals alive and the planets in orbit”; “men and women did not evolve from apes”) and lends the whole book a memorable tone of personal confession in the nature of traditional faith narratives. This universe does not offer people a peaceful transition to heaven, McGee writes: “We experience many personal trials here on this earth, and Christians are but a small army in a largely pagan world.”  While this is an odd claim considering the fact that Christianity is by far the globe’s largest religion, it serves to deftly underscore the author’s warning to his readers not to take forgiveness or salvation for granted.

A spirited and invitingly even-keeled series of meditations on various aspects of Christianity.

Pub Date: July 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5127-9893-7

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2019

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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 MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

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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