Churchill for President

Review of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume Three: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, by William Manchester and Paul ReidThe three volumes of William Manchester and Paul Reid’s biography of Winston Churchill run to several thousand pages. The trilogy defines words like “magisterial” and “epic,” encompassing the two greatest wars in history, the decline and fall of the British Empire, the dawn of the Cold War, the birth of the airplane, submarine, tank, and nuclear bomb, and much … [Read more...]

The Tyranny of Tolerance

Review of The Intolerance of Tolerance, by D.A. Carson In 2008 Brendan Eich donated $1,000 to the campaign for California’s Proposition 8, a measure to ban same-sex marriage in that state. Six years later he was promoted to CEO of Mozilla, an internet company he helped found. Pro-gay-marriage activists called for a boycott of the company, successfully provoking a social-media furor over Eich’s supposed intolerance. Under intense pressure, Eich resigned.The widely-noted incident would fit … [Read more...]

Sex and Violence in the Bible

Review of Sex and Violence in the Bible: A Survey of Explicit Content in the Holy Book by Joseph W. Smith, IIIJoseph Smith relates in his introduction to this book that he arranged for a screening of The Artist at his church. The 2011 film is a charming black and white comedy about a silent movie star in 1920s Hollywood struggling to cope with the transition to talkies. It won the Oscar for Best Picture.Smith relates that a church member complained because they felt the movie was … [Read more...]

Looking Into the Abyss, and Finding a Way Toward Hope

Review of My Bright Abyss by Christian WimanMy Bright Abyss, the spiritual memoir of Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman, has received the highest praise from literary critics and many of Wiman’s fellow poets. Written after Wiman was diagnosed with incurable cancer, My Bright Abyss is, indeed, a new classic, but what is its spiritual perspective? How does it adhere to, or depart from, orthodox Christian belief?First, if you’re looking for traditional language about God and theological … [Read more...]

Gates Unhinged

Review of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. GatesAccording to the rules of an old Washington parlor game, there is only one thing to do upon the release of a memoir by a former high-profile official: search the text for the most salacious, damning, or quotable put-downs of other officials and shout them over Twitter at your political opponents. Thus, if you have heard anything about former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, you k … [Read more...]

Christian Realism and Democracy

The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, by Reinhold Niebuhrby Paul D. MillerIn 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama famously said Reinhold Niebuhr was “one of my favorite philosophers.” Niebuhr, Obama explained, believed that “there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction.” In Niebuhr’s view, Christians should be neither utopian no … [Read more...]

Best Audiobooks 2013

“You read a lot,” a friend tells me. She follows me on Facebook, where my profile is linked to my GoodReads accounts. Every time I log a new book at GoodReads—and I often update books as “want to read” or, after completion, “read”—the update posts to my Facebook account.My GoodReads profile tells me I read 44 books in 2013.Yet the stack of books on my end table seems only to grow. If I (finally) knock out a hardback or paperback, the effect on that stack of books is hard to notice: The stack … [Read more...]

‘Death at the Movies’ is a lively read

Review of Death at the Movies by Lyn and Tom Davis GenelliA confession: I know little about Buddhism. Other than Death at the Movies, the only other Buddhist texts I've read are the Dhammapada (reviewed here) and a number of decidedly non-religious books by Buddhist scholar Irving Babbitt. So if I miss anything, get something wrong, or fail to do proper justice to a tenet of Buddhism, kindly drop me a note in the comments section—I'm happy to be corrected.With that caveat out of the way, … [Read more...]

The Boys in the Boat

Review of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James BrownBy JONATHAN KEIMThe 1936 Berlin Olympics foreshadowed the coming European war. Because no shots had been fired, however, the soon-to-be antagonists looked for symbols and propaganda victories. The Nazis, for instance, co-opted the Olympic heritage to reinforce the notion that the world had come to pay homage to the greatness of the Third Reich, and made every … [Read more...]

Feeling ‘Restless’? There’s an App for That

Review of Restless: Because You Were Made for More by Jennie AllenEver feel like something's missing? Like maybe, just maybe you were made for more? If so, you're not alone. Jennie Allen knows how you feel, and she wrote Restless to address those feelings. In the first section, Allen extols the merits of following your dreams (though she is quick to point out that first and foremost our dream should be to bring glory to God's name, and that only when we are 'all in' with Him can we dream … [Read more...]