Archives For Review

 

An Immersive Chronicle
of Ungentlemanly Warfare

A review of

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II

Sarah Rose

Hardback: Crown, 2019
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Reviewed by Emily Joy Stroble
 
 
“Dear Madam,” begins the letter received by Mrs. Odette Sansom in Sarah Rose’s thrilling and detailed account of female spies who laid the groundwork for the allied invasion of France in World War II.

The letter continues: “your name has been passed to me with the suggestion that you have qualifications and information which may be of value in this stage of the war effort.” In other words, Odette Sansom, the French wife of a British soldier and mother of two had what might be called, “a particular skill set.”

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A Lifelong Patience and Courage

A Feature Review of

The Time Is Now:
A Call to Uncommon Courage

Joan Chittister

Hardcover: Convergent Books, 2019
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Reviewed by Erin F. Wasinger

Joan Chittister is en fuego.

The Benedictine sister and social justice advocate has just released The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage—and it’s what the impatient among us need right now. We’re living in the days when “dumpster fire” has been used so often in the media that Oxford added it to its dictionary. Government’s broken; violence at schools is terrifying. Wars, famine, border controversies … on and on. Everything seems to be toxic. Everything.

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Laughing My Way to Wisdom

A Review of

Congratulations, Who Are You Again?:
A Memoir
Harrison Scott Key

Paperback: Harper Perennial, 2018.
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Reviewed by Geoffrey Sheehy
 
 
I’ve always admired humorists. In high school I’d open our Sunday newspaper directly to the Lifestyle section, forsaking Sports and Comics long enough to read Dave Barry. In an attempt to spread the joy I would read him aloud, but every time I did my eyes would spot the funny lines before my voice could say them, and I’d break into high pitch squeaks and tears. My listeners would laugh too, but not at Barry. They’d laugh at me, out of fear, because I appeared to be having a seizure.

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Masterfully Elucidating
the Context of Torah

 
A Feature Review of
 

The Lost World of the Torah:
Law as Covenant and Wisdom in Ancient Context
John H. Walton, J. Harvey Walton

 
Paperback: IVP Books, 2019
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Hearts & Minds Books ]  
 
Reviewed by Joel Wentz
 
I have vivid memories of devouring The Lost World of Genesis One, a slim paperback from an Old Testament scholar I had no previous exposure to. It felt like every page packed major insight into the nuances of Hebrew language and literary genres, the cultural context of the ancient world, and comparisons to other religious literature of the Near East. I remember repeatedly thinking, “Why hasn’t anyone ever explained this to me before?!”

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Singing and Dancing and
Living with Deep Delight
 
A Review of

Trinity:
A Story of Deep Delight

Anne Marie Mongoven, O.P.

Paperback: Columba Press, 2018
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Reviewed by Mary Paynter, O.P.
 
 
Long ago, St. Augustine wrote a long and ponderous theological study entitled De Trinitate (On the Trinity). Down the centuries ever since, other theologians have tried their hands at trying to explain what belief in the Trinity means—often in theological jargon, over the heads of most Christians. Karl Rahner, S.J., the influential twentieth-century theologian, once wryly recognized that “Christians are, in their practical lives, almost mere ‘monotheists.’”

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The Teacher of the Human Spirit
 
A Review of

The River: A Novel
Peter Heller

Hardback: Alfred A. Knopf, 2019
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Reviewed by Al Brooke
 

The sun sets in the cold without friends
      Without reproaches after all it has done for us
It goes down believing in nothing
       When it has gone I hear the stream running after it
              It has brought its flute it is a long way.
– W. S. Merwin, “Dusk in Winter”

 
 
Peter Heller’s fourth novel starts with smoke.

From the first pages we are introduced to each of the elements which will dog the two friends — Wynn and Jack — as they canoe in the Canadian wilderness: a forest fire, two drunks on land, and a pair of arguing voices in the fog. The river itself seems no problem to them, as they feel prepared for that.

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A more comprehensive,
intellectually honest, dialogue

A Review of 

Atheist Overreach:
What Atheism Can’t Deliver

Christian Smith

 
Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018
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Reviewed by Mark A. Jenkins
 
 
In his new book, Atheist Overreach: What Atheism Can’t Deliver, Christian Smith identifies “a broad audience—particularly college students and the reading public.” (130) If he is to be believed, this book is not an apologetic. He does not intend to refute atheism or to defend theists. Rather, he offers a critical response to certain sweeping claims made by some atheists. Such claims constitute the “overreach” cited in his title.

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A Flourishing Tree
 
A Feature Review of

Placemaker:
Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace
Christie Purifoy

Paperback: Zondervan, 2019.
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Reviewed by Tamara Hill Murphy
 
 
Annie Dillard, in The Writing Life, encourages writers to remember Thoreau’s salient recommendation: “Circle round and round your life… Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” If it’s possible to gnaw a bone elegantly, Christie Purifoy does just that in her newly-released second book, Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace. Like her debut, Roots & Sky, Purifoy continues to circle round and round the subject of finding, losing, and making home.

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A Christian Heart Beating for Health Equity

A Review of

How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick:
Restoring Health and Wellness to our Communities
Veronica Squires / Breanna Lathrop

Paperback: IVP Books, 2019
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Reviewed by Kendra Stanton Lee
 
A nurse practitioner and a non-profit development professional seem an unusual author pairing unless your go-to book is a public health manual. How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick: Restoring Health and Wellness to our Communities is not a manual, per se, though it does offer a variety of definitions and diagnoses for the state of public health in America.

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“All creatures of our God and King”
 
A review of
 
Never Home Alone:
From Microbes to Millipedes,
Camel Crickets, and Honeybees,
the Natural History of Where We Live
 
Rob Dunn
 
 
Hardback: Basic Books, 2018
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Reviewed by Scot F. Martin
 
How easy it is to go through our daily routines giving nary a thought to the abundance of life around us. You don’t live near any charismatic megafauna, you say? Perhaps…but are you aware of the vibrant biodiversity in your neighborhood, your backyard, and even the interior of your home? The songbirds and amphibians, the rodents and opossums, the riot of insect life all within your vision and hearing? What about the myriad creatures living inside with you? The ones you’d rather not think about?

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