Archives For Slavery


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”081225001X” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”232″]The Roots of Slaveholder Religion.
A Review of

Christian Slavery:
Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World

Katharine Gerbner

Hardback: U of PA Press, 2018
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”081225001X” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07BXDSQ2H” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ] 
Reviewed by Joseph Johnson


Katharine Gerbner’s Christian Slavery is a meticulously researched, insightful, and at times haunting read—haunting because it feels like the past is always with us. First and foremost, this is an academic work of religious history, but as Gerbner goes into the historical roots of, to use Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s phrase, “slaveholder religion,” the book’s significance doesn’t seem confined to the past. Throughout its pages, Gerbner endeavors to trouble accounts of this historical period that overly-focus on searching for possible early precedents of the 19th century antislavery movement. She argues that it’s significant to acknowledge and recognize that the history of early Protestant missionary efforts unfortunately includes both ideological accommodation to slavery as well as struggle against it (3-4).

Continue Reading…


Today is the birthday of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Here are four books that together give a rich introduction to her work
(Three of which are available as FREE Kindle ebooks)

Although she is best known for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she wrote over 30 books.

HT: Rachel Marie Stone for urging us to take a deeper look at Stowe’s work in her Writers on the Classics post for us earlier this year.

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B0084B1OUM” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”333″ alt=”Harriet Beecher Stowe”] > > > >
Next Book

[easyazon-link asin=”B0084B1OUM” locale=”us”]Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Novel[/easyazon-link]

FREE for Kindle

Of course, you should start with her classic novel on slavery, if you haven’t read it already.


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0802853862″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”254″ alt=”I lay my stitches down”]A thoughtful, textured, and sophisticated treatment of American slavery

A Review of

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery,

By Cynthia Grady

Illustrated by Michele Wood

Hardback: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2012
Buy now: [ [easyazon-link asin=”0802853862″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]


Reviewed by Susan R. Adams.


In early February, the Butler University community was privileged to meet and hear local Indianapolis artist and author, Michele Wood, speak about her collaboration with writer, Cynthia Grady, in the beautiful poetry book, I Lay My Stitches Down. Michele Wood’s earlier publications have earned prestigious awards, including the American Book Award for Going Back Home and the Coretta Scott King Award for I See the Rhythm. (To learn more about Michele Wood and to see examples of her work, please visit her website.) I feel so fortunate to have the privilege of hearing Michele Wood speak and watching her move through the book page by page, generously explaining her approach as the illustrator for each of Cynthia Grady’s poems.

Continue Reading…


“Probing the Depths of Our Cruelty

A review of
Less than Human:

Why we Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others.
by David Livingstone Smith.

Review by Eric Judge.

LESS THAN HUMAN - David Livingstone SmithLess than Human:
Why we Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others.
David Livingstone Smith.
Hardback: St. Martins, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Hardback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Have you ever wondered if you could kill another person? In the right circumstances I always thought that I probably could. I assumed that my act of violence would be in defense of the life of someone that I loved, something heroic. However, David Livingston Smith’s new book Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others invites readers to look inside their own minds to examine the ways in which humans think their way into violence that is much less than heroic.  Once on a high school sports trip, I overheard my coach and another adult discussing child molesters. One of them suggested that someone who sexually abuses a child should be taken out back and shot in the head. I felt he suggested this solution not only because of the heinous nature of the crime but because of the perverted nature of the offender.  It was assumed that a child molester is a different kind of person than the rest of us and therefore needed to be put down, as you would a rabid dog.  I can not remember what, if any, names were used to describe this hypothetical child molester, but it left me with the distinct impression this person was an animal. This memory connects quite vividly to the concept of dehumanization that Smith seeks to understand and elucidate in this well written, challenging, and accessible book.

Continue Reading…


The ERB will take a break for summer vacation next week and will return with our next issue on Friday August 13…

We  have recently made a slight change to our format and the reviews, excerpts, poems, etc. of our Midweek update will be posted to “pages” on the ERB website, and announced via social media.  If you’re a “first-to-know” sort of person, you can get these updates when they first come out in one of two ways:

In our continuing effort to fund the publication and free distribution of The Englewood Review, we are going to be collaborating more intentionally with Christian Book Distributors. Primarily, we will be offering you the opportunity to buy bargain books from CBD that we think of are interest. Buying books this way is a win / win / win proposition. You get great books for a great price, CBD gets the sale and we get an excellent referral fee from CBD.

This week’s Bargains:

25800X: More Than Chains and Toil: A Christian Work Ethic of Enslaved Women More Than Chains and Toil: A Christian Work Ethic of Enslaved Women

By Joan M. Martin / Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

Martin explores the experiences of enslaved women and the realities of their social world to uncover the inter-relationships, in the context of that environment , among moral agency, work, and human meaning. She then reflects ethically on the implications such a distinct perspective on labor might have for women in contemporary African-American communities and for broader discussions about the meaning of work in American society.

636317: Religion and Empire: People, Power, and the Life of the Spirit Religion and Empire: People, Power, and the Life of the Spirit

By Richard A. Horsley / Augsburg Fortress

$1.29 – Save 87%!!!

How has the interaction between religion, rhetoric, and politics shaped people’s lives over the centuries? Examining the relationship between religious discourse and empire-building, Horsley describes how religion is constructed by the power elite; the role it plays in resistance movements among subjugated people; and how it is used to legitimize empire. 151 pages, softcover from Fortress.

431191: Anxious About Empire: Theological Essays on the New Global Realities Anxious About Empire: Theological Essays on the New Global Realities

By Edited by Wes Avram / Baker

$1.99 – Save 90%!!!

In response to the 2002 foreign policy directive that changed America’s national security strategy, a denominationally diverse group (Mennonite, Catholic, Congregational, Catholic) of theologians, theorists, scholars, and pastors addresses the transnational nature of the church, loving neighbors in a globalized world, the use of Scripture in imperial rhetoric, and more. 218 pages, softcover from Brazos.

227694: The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea

By David Dark / Westminster John Knox Press

$3.99 – Save 73%!!!

Under a broad pop-culture umbrella, using icons from music, literature, film, the media, and politics, David Dark hopes to provide fodder for lively conversation about what it means to be Christian and American in this “weird moment” in which we live. It is a moment when we are increasingly polarized along political and religious lines, a moment when we are too busy forming our response to listen to the one who is speaking. And yet we claim more than ever to be one nation, under God. What does this mean? The end result, he hopes, will be a better understanding that “there is a reality more important, more lasting, and more infinite than the cultures to which we belong,” the reality of the kingdom of God.”This well-read interpreter of popular culture probes the spiritual resonances of American culture from Hawthorne and Melville to Bob Dylan and David Lynch. Nearly every page has something to make readers pause, laugh, think, or pray,”—Publishers Weekly

745296: Red-Letter Christians: A Citizen"s Guide to Faith & Politics Red-Letter Christians: A Citizen’s Guide to Faith & Politics

By Tony Campolo / Regal Books

$4.99 – Save 75%!!!

A new kind of politically concerned evangelical is emerging, somewhere between hard-right Republicans and far-left Democrats. “Red-Letter Christians” seek to live out Jesus’ words—the ones printed in red in many New Testaments. Examining the hot-button issues facing believers today, Campolo calls us to transcend partisan squabbles—and bring Christ’s radical message to our civic commitments. 224 pages, hardcover from Regal.


Food Fraud and Bees
BOOKFORUM reviews two new books
on the Food Crisis

Rowan Jacobsen monitors another distressing side effect of agribusiness consolidation in Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis. Jacobsen, a US food writer who has contributed to the New York Times and Saveur, examines colony collapse disorder (CCD), which hit the United States’ beekeeping industry in 2006. The syndrome affected half of the nation’s commercial bee operations, wiping out about thirty billion bees.

The most puzzling thing about the CCD outbreak was the abundance of possible triggers. Commercial bee operations were overrun with mites and viruses, and bees were kept on the go—fed corn syrup to stay alive between gigs pollinating monocrop farms. Meanwhile, the crops we have Apis mellifera pollinating are awash in pesticides; in some cases, plants are even genetically modified to produce the chemicals themselves. What’s more, monocrop farming is not conducive to bee health—all pollen is not created equal, and some types offer greater nutritional value than others. Bees need a mixture of pollen sources to sustain their health.

Read the full review:

Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud.
Bee Wilson.
Hardcover: Princeton UP, 2008.
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $21 ] [ Amazon ]

Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee
and the Coming Agricultural Crisis.

Rowen Jacobsen.
Hardcover: Bloomsbury, 2008.
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]

Ron Sider reviews

Many have lamented the meager giving of American Christians. Others have questioned the data on which this criticism was based or pointed out that American Christians give more than those in most other nations. Now we have a careful, scholarly analysis of how much—i.e., how little—American Christians give, plus a sophisticated sociological analysis of why.

Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money is a powerful study about the pitifully small charitable donations of the richest Christians in history. In spite of the fact that most Christian denominations support tithing (see Appendix A), only a tiny fraction of American Christians actually tithe. Christian Smith, Michael O. Emerson, and Patricia Snell set out to discover why. Using a number of the best currently available data sets plus a survey and personal interviews of their own, the authors offer the best available information on what American Christians actually give to charitable causes and then try to figure out why such rich Christians give so little.

Read the full review:

Passing the Plate: Why American Christians
Don’t Give Away More Money
Smith / Emerson / Snell.
Hardcover: Oxford UP, 2008.
Buy now  [ Amazon ]

The NY TIMES review of Toni Morrison’s
newest novel A MERCY

A horrifying act stood at the center of Toni Morrison’s 1987 masterwork, “Beloved”: a runaway slave, caught in her effort to escape, cuts the throat of her baby daughter with a handsaw, determined to spare the girl the fate she herself has suffered as a slave. A similarly indelible act stands at the center of Ms. Morrison’s remarkable new novella, “A Mercy,” a small, plangent gem of a story that is, at once, a kind of prelude to “Beloved” and a variation on that earlier book’s exploration of the personal costs of slavery — a system that moves men and women and children around “like checkers” and casts a looming shadow over both parental and romantic love.

Set some 200 years before “Beloved,” “A Mercy” conjures up the beautiful, untamed, lawless world that was America in the 17th century with the same sort of lyrical, verdant prose that distinguished that earlier novel. Gone are the didactic language and schematic architecture that hobbled the author’s 1998 novel, “Paradise”; gone are the cartoonish characters that marred her 2003 novel, “Love.” Instead Ms. Morrison has rediscovered an urgent, poetic voice that enables her to move back and forth with immediacy and ease between the worlds of history and myth, between ordinary daily life and the realm of fable.

All the central characters in this story are orphans, cast off by their parents or swept away from their families by acts of God or nature or human cruelty — literal or figurative exiles susceptible to the centrifugal forces of history. There is Jacob, an Anglo-Dutch trader, whose memories of his own parentless years on the streets “stealing food and cadging gratuities for errands” have left him with a “pulse of pity for orphans and strays.” There is his wife, Rebekka, who as a girl of 16 was sent abroad to America by her father, who, happy to have one less mouth to feed, readily accepted Jacob’s offer of “ ‘reimbursement’ for clothing, expenses and a few supplies” in exchange for a “healthy, chaste wife willing to travel abroad.” And there is Florens, whose mother sees the kindness in Jacob’s heart and begs him to take her young daughter (as payment for a debt owed by their domineering owner) in the hopes that the trader will give her a better life and the possibility of a future as a free woman, not a slave.

Read the full review:

Toni Morrison.
Hardcover: Knopf, 2008.
Buy now [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]