Wonderful gift from a fellow dog lover.
Wonderful gift from a fellow dog lover.
Richard Lloyd Dewey recounts the compelling true story of Helmuth Hubener - the brilliant and bold teenager who daringly formed the youngest resistance group to face the Nazis. This is a mesmerizing account of the entire group and its operations, and how they exposed the Third Reich, which thought hundreds of British agents were involved when they were actually just a band of determined German teenagers. Hubener and his friends sacrificed all for the truth.
Terrific concept. Well executed. Very good read.
This from Vanessa Bush's review for Booklist: "On May 21, 1927, when Charles Lindbergh set off to be the first man to cross the Atlantic alone in an airplane, he profoundly changed the culture and commerce of America and its image abroad. Add to that Babe Ruth’s efforts to break the home-run record he set, Henry Ford’s retooling of the Model T into the Model A, the execution of accused anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, and Al Jolson appearing in the first talkie, and 1927 became the pivot point when the U.S. began to dominate the world in virtually everything—military, culture, commerce, and technology. Bryson’s inimitable wit and exuberance are on full display in this wide-ranging look at the major events in an exciting summer in America. Bryson makes fascinating interconnections: a quirky Chicago judge and Prohibition defender leaves the bench to become baseball commissioner following the White Sox scandal, likely leaving Chicago open for gangster Al Capone; the thrill-hungry tabloids and a growing cult of celebrity watchers dog Lindbergh’s every move and chronicle Ruth’s every peccadillo. Among the other events in a frenzied summer: record flooding of the Mississippi River and the ominous beginnings of the Great Depression. Bryson offers delicious detail and breathtaking suspense about events whose outcomes are already known."
Not quite as good as Woodger's biography of David O. McKay but still a worthwhile read. George Albert Smith was the great grandnephew of Joseph Smith. George Albert served as the eighth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He gave his all for the cause of building up the Church and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. A gentle giant of a man.
Tedious. After so many stories of bank heists and robberies I became more than a little bored.
A gift from a friend while on a recent visit to Colorado. Filled with beautiful photographs.
What is a simple life?
Chances are you don't really understand the concept of simplicity because unecessary complexities intrude upon your consciousness many ways. Complexity is everywhere--from the securities market to your computer. Most people are anchored to the ball-and-chain concept of "more, more, more"--more money, more possessions, more time. But too often, the quest for more leaves us feeling less satisfied.
Seiwart and Kustenmacher have assembled here a recipe for simplifying your life. Each chapter tackles a different facet of your life, such as managing clutter, taming finances and establishing goals. The practical tips from each chapter are easy to digest and implement. More important is the easy to remember framework, a pyramid, for simplifying your life. The first level or base of the pyramid begins with your possessions and proceeds through succeeding levels--finances, time management, health, relationships, spouses/ partners--until reaching the apex, you.
Although the text is fun to read, the authors skip around and circle back to different subjects in each chapter. Tighter organization would have made the book's counsel easier to track. And each chapter begins with an unneccesary, somewhat annoying, "dream of simplicity." Skip all that and dive right into each chapter. Also, check out the excellent reading list in the back of the book.
Fun for Bond fans. Filled with great insights, anecdotes and pictures.
More essay than biography, which left me wanting much more. Still, a worthwhile read.
When Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Barack Obama would win the 2008 election, Haygood thought he'd highlight the moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. Haygood struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who served eight presidents in the White House, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Oh, the stories Allen could tell.
Terrific. One of the best books I have read this year.
Inspiring. Someone worthy of emulation.
In 1951, David O. McKay was sustained as ninth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For nineteen years he led the Church through a time of unprecedented growth and worldwide expansion. When he passed away at the age of 96, two of every three members of the Church had known no other Church president than McKay.
The latest “real Jesus” offering. Read critically.
As of today, Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth has been on The New York Times' list of bestselling nonfiction books for 11 weeks. Aslan purports to shed “new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters” by “balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources.”
There is little “new light” here. Aslan merely repackages much of the "real Jesus" scholarship that has been produced in prodigious amounts over the past twenty years. To borrow a critical summary provided by—of all sources!—the Jewish Review of Books, “The core thesis of Zealot is that the ‘real’ Jesus of Nazareth was an illiterate peasant from the Galilee who zealously, indeed monomaniacally, aspired to depose the Roman governor of Palestine and become the King of Israel. Aslan’s essentially political portrayal of Jesus thus hardly, if at all, resembles the depiction of the spiritual giant, indeed God incarnate, found in the Gospels and the letters of Paul. While Aslan spills much ink arguing his thesis, nothing he has to say is at all new or original. The scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, or the ‘Jewish Jesus,’ has been engaged by hundreds of academics for the past quarter millennium and has produced a mountain of books and a vast body of serious scholarly debate. The only novelty in Aslan’s book is his relentlessly reductionist, simplistic, one-sided and often harshly polemical portrayal of Jesus as a radical, zealously nationalistic, and purely political figure. Anything beyond this that is reported by his apostles is, according to Aslan, Christological mythology, not history.”
Aslan’s starting point—that the “bedrock of evangelical Christianity” i.e., the inerrancy of the New Testament text is “patently and irrefutably false”—is understandable. Few honest readers of the New Testament believe it to be error free. But what is not understandable is Aslan’s selective and biased reading of the text and extra-scriptural historical sources. Aslan cherry picks from his sources for the single-minded purpose of supporting the thesis he undoubtedly developed prior to stitching his research together. As a consequence, his “history” is more polemical than historical.
Undermining his own work, Aslan frequent and sometimes bizarrely makes assertions utterly lacking in proof, analysis or reasoning. For example, when recounting the story of John the Baptist’s execution Aslan argues, “[a]las, the gospel account is not to be believed. As deliciously scandalous as the story of John’s execution may be, it is riddled with errors and historical inaccuracies.” The inaccuracies? Apparently only two, which in truth have little bearing on whether John’s execution in fact occurred: “the evangelists mistakenly identify Herodias’ first husband as Philip, and they seem to confuse the place of John’s execution.” On this basis alone, Aslan writes: “[t]he entire gospel story reads like a fanciful folktale.” Huh?
This is typical for Aslan’s approach. Borrowing again from the Jewish Review of Books, “[t]o address the obvious problem that the Jesus depicted in Christian Scriptures is the antithesis of a zealously political, let alone ignorant and illiterate, peasant rebel and bandit, Aslan deploys a rich arsenal of insults to dismiss any New Testament narrative that runs counter to his image of Jesus as a guerilla leader, who gathered and led a ‘corps’ of fellow ‘bandits’ through the back roads of the Galilee on their way to mount a surprise insurrection against Rome and its Priestly lackeys in Jerusalem. Any Gospel verse that might complicate, let alone undermine, Aslan’s amazing account, he insolently dismisses as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘absurd,’ ‘preposterous,’ ‘fanciful,’ ‘fictional,’ ‘fabulous concoction,’ or just ‘patently impossible.'"
Zealot is not serious scholarship. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. Aslan’s credentials for scholarship in this area are not without controversy, some of which has been of his own making. For me though, the most vexing aspect of Aslan’s work is his assertion that “after two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity” his reimagined Jesus of history has made him “a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than [he] ever was of Jesus Christ.” I find this very hard to believe. There is little of the Jesus presented here in Zealot that stirs any feelings of devotion, faith or even admiration.
Proceed with caution.
I have found that there is little middle ground when it comes to Joseph Smith. Either you revere him as a modern-day prophet of God, like I do, or you consider him a fantastic fraud. To the casual observer or student, Joseph's story and experience might seem so incredible that belief is unjustified. I get that. That is why I am particularly wary of books about Joseph written by LDS authors who take liberties with the historical record for the sake of promoting faith. Especially books for children.
According to the authors, Stories from the Life of Joseph Smith is a "biography of the Prophet for young readers and others who enjoy a simple but dramatic presentation of events. The book closely follows genuine historical sources, filling in gaps where they exist and at times simplifying or creating dialogue to hold the reader's interest. Some quotations have also been simplified. Where ambiguity exists in the historical sources, we have simply made choices in order to keep the narrative moving." [emphasis added] Not good.
In matters of faith it is sometimes hard enough to believe the truth. Why make it more difficult by embellishing the facts with fiction?
Mildly funny. Gaffigan's better medium is clearly the stage.
Second time around for one of my favorite books. Richard L. Bushman has produced what I think is the most fair and objective biography of the American Prophet.
Founder of the largest indigenous Christian church in American history, Joseph Smith published the 584-page Book of Mormon when he was twenty-three and went on to organize a church, found cities, and attract thousands of followers before his violent murder at age thirty-eight. Richard Bushman, an esteemed cultural historian and a practicing Mormon, moves beyond the popular stereotype of Smith as a colorful fraud to explore his personality, his relationships with others, and how he received revelations. An arresting narrative of the birth of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling also brilliantly evaluates the prophet’s bold contributions to Christian theology and his cultural place in the modern world.
The definitive biography of Himmler, Hitler's executioner. Far exceeds Roger Manvell's contribution--previously reviewed here-- in both breadth and depth.
Fascinating. Should be required reading for every student of U.S. history.
"Cotton obsessed, Negro obsessed," Rupert Vance called it in 1935. "Nowhere but in the Mississippi Delta," he said, "are antebellum conditions so nearly preserved." This crescent of bottomlands between Memphis and Vicksburg, lined by the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, remains in some ways what it was in 1860: a land of rich soil, wealthy planters, and desperate poverty--the blackest and poorest counties in all the South. And yet it is a cultural treasure house as well--the home of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Charley Pride, Walker Percy, Elizabeth Spencer, and Shelby Foote.
The Most Southern Place on Earth is a fascinating portrait of the development and survival of the Mississippi Delta, a society and economy that is often seen as the most extreme in all the South. Cobb offers a comprehensive history of the Delta, from its first white settlement in the 1820s to the present. Exploring the rich black culture of the Delta, Cobb explains how it survived and evolved in the midst of poverty and oppression, beginning with the first settlers in the overgrown, disease-ridden Delta before the Civil War to the bitter battles and incomplete triumphs of the civil rights era. In this comprehensive account, Cobb offers new insight into "the most southern place on earth," untangling the enigma of grindingly poor but prolifically creative Mississippi Delta.
If you ever watched Dallas or Dynasty, you’ll love Bryan Burrough’s The Big Rich. Burrough chronicles the rise and fall of one of the great economic and political powerhouses in the twentieth century—Texas oil. By weaving together the multigenerational stories of the state’s four wealthiest oilmen—Roy Cullen, H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson—The Big Rich is a fascinating and gossipy tale of money, family and power.
Several weeks ago, my wife introduced me to a new restaurant in town that specializes in gourmet/ high-end salads. Who knew there was such a thing, right? I dutifully ordered one of the signature salads and enjoyed it to the last bite. Only problem was I was still hungry after I finished. It didn’t quite fill me up.
So it was with Molly Walling’s Death in the Delta. Walling’s book proceeds from a fascinating starting point but sputters to the finish. Shortly after the death of her uncle in 2006, Walling discovered that her uncle and her father were involved in the deaths of two black men in the Mississippi delta in December 1946. Her father and uncle were never prosecuted for their involvement. This revelation forms the basis for what is at once a fascinating personal memoir and a frustrating, dead end investigation into her father’s role in the incident. Although Death in the Delta is a compelling reminder of the scars of racism which the U.S., particularly the Southern U.S. and, in this case, the Mississippi delta, still bear, it provides no real answers to the basic questions that prompted its writing.
Excellent treatment of current issues in corporate governance. Larcker and Tayan are two of my favorites in this space. (See my review of their earlier work Corporate Governance Matters).
Covered here are issues such as board leadership and structure, accounting and internal controls, CEO succession planning, compensation, etc. As always Larcker's amd Tayan's views are informed primarily by empirical data and case studies—something that can’t always be said for many governance activists and so-called “experts.”
This from the preface, which sets the tone for the rest of the book: “In the course of our study, we have noticed certain tendencies among the most vocal ‘experts’ in corporate governance today. These include the tendencies to simplify decisions that are inherently complex, to prescribe uniform solutions to problems that are anything but uniform, and to be confident that their recommendations are correct when the evidence is anything but conclusive. We wrote this book, in part, to correct these tendencies.”
The American Bar Association (ABA) Journal recently published its list of the 25 greatest law novels ever. Number 25 on the list was Jane Gardam's Old Filth. Had the ABA's list been the 25 worst law novels ever I might have understood selecting it. Fantastically boring.
Gardam's novel examines the life of Sir Edward Feathers, a desiccated barrister known to colleagues and friends as Old Filth (the nickname stands for "Failed in London Try Hong Kong"). After a lucrative career in Asia, Filth settles into retirement in Dorset. With mindnumbing precision, Gardam reveals that, contrary to appearances, Sir Edward's life is seething with incident: a "raj orphan," whose mother died when he was born and whose father took no notice of him, he was shipped from Malaysia to Wales (cheaper than England) and entrusted to a foster mother who was cruel to him. What happened in the years before he settled into school, and was casually adopted by his best friend's kindly English country family, haunts, corrodes, and quickens Filth's heart.
Mayer argues that corporations have immense potential for good, but that, in the face of repeated instances of fraud, environmental disasters, collapsing industries and financial meltdowns, corporations must find a way to reinvent themselves. Mayer explains how he believes corporations can once again become powerful wealth-creating forces for social benefit. I thought Mayer did a good job identifying and examining the problems involved but I was not convinced his proposed solutions were entirely practicable.
The war against Japan lasted from December 1941 to August 1945. It ranged over vast areas of the globe. It involved the development of some of the greatest armies and fleets in history. Hundreds of volumes have been written about the huge conflict. The spectacular rise and fall of the Japanese fortunes continue to grip the imagination. But for some reason the commanders of the Japanese armies remain shadowy figures so far as the west is concerned, or are unknown altogether. Yet they were considered soldiers whether in victory or defeat and men of outstanding personalities. Without some knowledge of them, of the political and military backgrounds against which they were developed, and the samurai code in which their conduct and belief were rooted, no real understanding of their campaigns can be obtained.
Here in Four Samurai, Arthur Swinson examines four Japanese generals: Masaharu Homma,who captured the Philippines from MacArthur; Renya Mataguchi, who led the march on Delhi; Masaki Honda, who fought the British, Americans and Chinese in Burma; and Tomoyuki Yamashita, the conqueror of Malaya and Singapore and who later surrendered the Philippines when MacArthur returned. Swinson probes their early careers, their political involvements, their private lives and shows them in action. Finally, as he demonstrates, the samurai caste and the code which motivated it are by no means dead.
English essayist Walter Bagehot once cautioned the British monarchy that it is dangerous to “let daylight in upon the magic.” Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and his small, loyal band of executives applied this concept with a vengeance. But in the wake of Jobs’s death, more of Apple’s business methods are coming to light – and they’re the polar opposite of what you’d learn in management school.
Contrary to current business trends toward transparency and flatter hierarchies, Apple has fiercely encouraged secretiveness, silos and a start-up mentality, even though it is among the most profitable companies on Earth. Fortune senior editor Adam Lashinsky explains how it all works. After reading Lashinsky's book, you’ll probably still want to buy Apple products, but you may not want to work there.
Even if you’re not fascinated by the machinations of the corporate world, you’ll find this page-turner highly entertaining. It will leave you wondering how the world’s leading device maker will fare, now that its legendary creator has left it to its – well, to its own devices.
Like reuniting with an old friend.
On a recent business trip to north Texas, I toured the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum. I was captivated by a collection of paintings by Tom Lovell, commissioned to capture the early days of the oil industry in Texas. The paintings are striking for their realism and attention to detail. They are the kind of art I can relate to and enjoy.
Lovell's early career was as an illustrator of pulp fiction magazines but in later years he developed an extensive following for his paintings of historical figures and subjects.
Another worthwhile read for any student of the U.S. Supreme Court.
A worthwhile read for any student of the U.S. Supreme Court. Well written.
Interesting in concept, but uninteresting in detail.
Based on the rare and until now overlooked journal of a Renaissance-era executioner, the noted historian Joel F. Harrington’s The Faithful Executioner explores the world of Meister Frantz Schmidt of Nuremberg, who, during forty-five years as a professional executioner, personally put to death 394 individuals and tortured, flogged, or disfigured many hundreds more.
My older boys (strange to say that at this point in my life) are avid watchers of Duck Dynasty, A&E's wildly popular reality television series about Phil Robertson and his family and their business Duck Commander, maker and purveyor of duck calls. The Robertson males' trademark beards and in-your-face redneckedness undoubtedly drive much of the popularity of Duck Dynasty but underneath all that is a man and family devoted to each other and their values. In the world of reality television that is dominated by some really messed-up people, the Robertsons are a breath of fresh air.
Here, in Happy, Happy, Happy, Phil Robertson tells his story and the story of his improbable journey from hard poverty to comfortable but understated wealth. Duck calls, though the source of his livelihood, are not what makes Phil Robertson the man he is today. As explained here in Happy, Happy, Happy, what matters most in Phil's life are faith, family, and ducks--in that order.
Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana. There were seven children in his family, so money was scarce, and very early on hunting became an important part of Phil's life. In college, Phil played football ahead of Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech. After receiving his bachelor's and master's degree's he spent several years teaching. Never satisfied with the duck calls on the market, Phil began to experiment with making a call that would produce the exact sound of a duck. And so, in 1972 , the first Duck Commander call was made. In the mid-seventies, after struggling with alcohol, drugs and wild living, Phil found God and chose to follow another path. He is now invited to speak to hundreds of churches and organizations every year. Duck Commander is still a family business, with all four of Phil's sons and their wives working for the company.
This is an excellent book, especially for anyone new to management. All too often management primers are overly complicated and lacking in specifics. Co-authored by Harvard professor of business administration Linda A. Hill and business writer Kent Lineback, Being the Boss is the most cogent blend of theory and practice that I have found.
According to Hill and Lineback, the core task of managing and leading is to influence others. Becoming a fully effective leader--learning to exercise influence--is so difficult it requires work, a lot of work. There are three key levers of influence, what Hill and Lineback call the "three imperatives of becoming a great leader": (1) managing yourself, i.e., building relationships that are based on trust rather than authority, trust in people's confidence in your competence and character as a boss; (2) managing your team, i.e., making your people a true team, a group that is committed to a common purpose and to each other in pursuit of that purpose; and (3) managing your network, i.e., learning to influence those you don't control by building relationships for mutual advantage with everyone you and your team need to succeed.
I lost interest.
A bit dated but still a good treatment of role of the "modern" board of directors. Charan addresses many of the issues that face boards in a post-Sarbanes-Oxley world.
Recommended to me by a colleague at work. I found Buckingham's suggested approach interesting in theory but difficult in practice.
The central premise of Go Put Your Strengths to Work is that focusing on fixing mistakes or improving weaknesses is inefficient and counterproductive; real personal and professional growth comes from focusing on and emphasizing our strengths. Fair enough, but how do we do this in the workplace--the focus of Buckingham's book? According to Buckingham, the process of engaging our strengths more fully has six steps: (1) understanding the myths about personal growth (e.g., we have the greatest room for growth in areas where we are weakest); (2) identifying our unique strengths (i.e., talents, skills and knowledge); (3) making our strengths more prominent in our work; (4) stop doing tasks and activities that we dislike; (5) building a team around us that allows us to emphasize our strengths; and (6) building strong habits that will make our strengths last. The problem is that Buckingham envisions a certain degree of control over what's on our plate at work that is often at odds with reality. Not all of us have the luxury at work to stop doing tasks and activities that we might dislike or are not our strengths.
This from the review that appeared in The New Yorker:
"On April 14, 1935, the biggest dust storm on record descended over five states, from the Dakotas to Amarillo, Texas. People standing a few feet apart could not see each other; if they touched, they risked being knocked over by the static electricity that the dust created in the air. The Dust Bowl was the product of reckless, market-driven farming that had so abused the land that, when dry weather came, the wind lifted up millions of acres of topsoil and whipped it around in 'black blizzards,' which blew as far east as New York. This ecological disaster rapidly disfigured whole communities. Egan's portraits of the families who stayed behind are sobering and far less familiar than those of the 'exodusters' who staggered out of the High Plains. He tells of towns depopulated to this day, a mother who watched her baby die of 'dust pneumonia,' and farmers who gathered tumbleweed as food for their cattle and, eventually, for their children."
Fascinating story, terrifically told. All the more enjoyable because I grew up in Idaho where most of the events described took place.
When Theodore Roosevelt vacated the Oval Office, he left a vast legacy of public lands under the stewardship of the newly created Forest Service. Immediately, political enemies of the nascent conservation movement chipped away at the foundations of the untested agency, lobbying for a return of the land to private interests and development. Then, in 1910, several small wildfires in the Pacific Northwest merged into one massive, swift, and unstoppable blaze, and the Forest Service is pressed into a futile effort to douse the flames. Over 100 firefighters died heroically, galvanizing public opinion in favor of the forests--with unexpected ramifications exposed in today's proliferation of destructive fires. The Big Burn vividly recreates disaster through the eyes of the men and women who experienced it (though this time without the benefit of first-hand accounts).
Excellent companion volume to the superb documentary by Ken Burns.
Terrific and intimate biography of a guy who lived life to the fullest.
Robert Ruark is my father's favorite writer, Ruark's Old Man and the Boy (reviewed previously here: http://rabidreader.typepad.com/the-rabid-reader/2011/01/the-old-man-and-the-boy-robert-ruark-henry-holt-and-company-1957-303-pages.html) being his favorite piece of work. Ruark was also the author of several blockbuster novels, an immensely popular newspaper columnist, a satirist of considerable skill, and a tireless bon vivant. Fame and the ability to crunch out a prodigious amount of first-rate prose on his battered portable typewriter brought him considerable fortune. His skill and work ethic were legendary.
Ruark Remembered was almost never published. Recently discovered, the text was written more than forty years ago by Alan Ritchie, who faithfully served as Ruark's personal secretary and advisor for the last fourteen years of his life. The book starts out with a wonderful foreword by legendary African professional hunter Harry Selby who guided Ruark on a number of his safaris. It also features
a number of photographs of Ruark that have never before appeared in any book. My favorite parts of the book cover Ruark's many trips to Africa and his home life in Spain.
I think this is the third time I have read this book. It is one of my all-time favorites. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are among my favorite historical figures. Meacham's facility with his subjects is superb. This is much more than a biography--it is a finely written essay that weaves in a healthy dose of priceless sources and anecdotes. One of the finest examples of the historians craft that I know of.
The first 80 percent of this book is worthwhile reading but the balance is sadly more than record of Elder Nelson's travels in connection with his service as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was hoping for much more. The book lacks the same spirit that suffuses much of Elder Nelson's public discourses and sermons.
Not intended to be an exhaustive history of the Court, rather a collection of--as the title implies--stories of the Court's history and the men and women who have served it. Justice O'Connor touches on her favorite moments in the Court's history and some of its more famous personalities. Easy to read and very approachable. Non-lawyers and lawyers alike will enjoy.
I heard Michael Abrashoff speak at a recent conference I attended. I was impressed enough to pick up a copy of his book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's Your Ship is an account of Abrashoff's two-year tenure as captain of the U.S.S. Benfold, during which time he took and underperforming crew and ship and turned them into top performers. Here he describes the secrets to his success.
A bit dated, but an excellent history of law school in the United States.
This is the first of what is to be a two volume treatment of the life of L. Tom Perry, currently a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Perry became a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles in 1974. Currently, he is the third most senior and oldest living apostle of the Church. He is one of my favorite speakers at the Church's semiannual general conferences. I love his optimism and cheer.
Volume one of this biography, written by Perry's son and namesake, is interesting but uninspiring. Subtitled Years of Preparation it chronicles Perry's life from birth until his joining the Council of Twelve Apostles. Regrettably, the younger Perry fails to shed much light on the spiritual preparation and leadership that undoubtedly led to the elder Perry's joining the highest level of leadership in the Church. In this respect, the biography falls considerably short of what I consider to the gold-standard of Mormon biography: Marion G. Romney: His Life and Faith (F. Burton Howard, 1988, Bookcraft, 273 pages) or Spencer W. Kimball (Edward L Kimball and Andrew E Kimball, Bookcraft Inc., 1979, 438 pages). At times the book is little more than a chronology of the elder Perry's career and homes--do we really need to know the street address of each home the Perry family lived in? Candidly, this biography struck me as having been written as a private family history first and then later turned into a commercial product that will no doubt be purchased by a mass of Church members like myself.
Predecessor volume to Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon and companion volume to the superb documentary. Filled with some of the most well-known and unique photos of Lincoln, the illustrations provide both a definitive visual record of Lincoln's life and a compelling view of the Civil War from the president's perspective. Most of the 900 illustrations are drawn from the Frederick Hill Meserve private family collection, a 19th-century photo archive that specializes in Lincoln material.
Second time around for this book.
Think you know the New Testament? Think again. Jesus, Interrupted is Bart Ehrman's follow-up to his best selling and fascinating Misquoting Jesus. Ehrman is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has spent much of his career studying the history of the transmission and translation of the books comprising the New Testament and has brought to a mass audience the historical-critical method of New Testament manuscript studies. As Ehrman himself is quick to point out, much of what he writes about is not unknown to most Bible scholars. However, most of what he writes about has not been well communicated to the lay Bible reading public. Jesus, Interrupted is Ehrman's attempt to explain why. Ehrman writes: "The Bible is the most widely purchased, extensively read, and deeply revered book in the history of Western Civilization. Arguably, it is also the most thoroughly misunderstood, especially by the lay reading public."
Covered here in Jesus, Interrupted are some of the most well-known and some of the lesser-known discrepancies in the Gospels ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Ehrman explores what many Biblical scholars have come to accept--that many of the books of the New Testament were pseudipigraphic, that is, written by persons other than the stated authors. Also covered are the many accretions to the Biblical record introduced by scribes (unintentionally and sometimes intentionally) over centuries of manuscript copying and transmission (the famous story of the woman taken in adultery or Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus being examples).
Despite the thorough treatment, Ehrman’s own background and style strongly suggest his purpose is not to undermine traditional Christian faith (although clearly his writings cast strong doubt on the fundamentalist doctrine of the inerrancy of scripture); rather, it is “to stress that scholars and students who question [the texts of the Bible] are not questioning God himself. They are questioning what the Bible has to say about God.”
Published in honor of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, this is an extensively researched and lavishly illustrated tribute. A sequel to the enormously successful Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography, Looking for Lincoln picks up where the previous book left off, examining how our sixteenth president’s legend came into being.
The "weightier matters" of the law.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. (19 July 1876 – 2 July 1972) was the tenth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from from 1970 until his death in 1972. He was the son of Joseph F. Smith, who was the sixth president of the LDS Church. His grandfather was Hyrum Smith, brother of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith, Jr.