Friday, July 31, 2009

Eric Liddell

Janet & Geoff Benge

Another volume in the Christian Heroes series, this book presents the life of the Scottish missionary kid who won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics and then headed back to China to continue the family line of work. It's an inspiring story of endurance and faithfulness.

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

by Martin Luther

This is an abridged translation of Luther's Commentary of Galatians. All I can say is that the original must be a pretty hefty tome, because Dr. Luther does seem to carry on. But that's not so bad, because he's also interesting to read. (I suppose that's one reason his words have lasted all these centuries.) As a history buff, it was interesting to see how Dr. Luther drew parallels between the Judaizers troubling the 1st Century church in Galatia and his own opponents in the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, how those passages apply to me in the 21st Century is something I'll have to ponder on my own. But there's still many useful insights that apply to every age and make the book worth reading.

Going to keep it on my shelf.
LibraryThing link


Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas

Okay, this year I got around to reading the real Monte Cristo. Last year, you may recall, I had picked up an abridged version and was well over halfway through before I discovered my error. I finished the book and at the next library sale, I made sure to pick up the full version in all its massive wordiness. It was just as enjoyable the second time through, though knowing the plot, I was able to give more attention to M. Dumas' craft. It really is a melodramatic tome. A big, fat, honkin' melodrama that really doesn't offer deep insights into the human condition. But, oh, what fun!

This one stays on my shelf.
LibraryThing link

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

When I Was Eight

by John Jaech

This is another of those family publications that you'll never get to read unless you come over to my house and pull it off my shelf. (And maybe not even then, if my sister-in-law lays claim to it.) What Uncle John has done, in his spare time, is to pull news headlines from 1937 and intersperse them with his own comments and recollections. It yields an interesting peak into community and family history. It almost makes me want to peruse back issues of The Chicago Tribune from the mid-seventies and start work on my own book.

LibraryThing link


Monday, July 06, 2009

Millard Fillmore

by Robert J. Scarry

Who would have expected a book about Millard Fillmore to have an agenda? I mean, you can expect a book about Lincoln or FDR to take sides in a controversy. But A bio of Millard Fillmore? How could there even be a controversy about him? Isn't it common knowledge that he's one of those dull one-termers who merely kept the presidential chair warm until Lincoln got elected? Well, that's the stereotype that Mr. Scarry hoped to dispel with his book. Rather than a weak, ineffectual leader, Mr. Scarry makes the case for Fillmore as a principaled man who made the hard choices to put aside his own popularity and preferences on slavery to preserve the Union and obey the Constitution. While his accomplishments were overshadowed by the Civil War, Mr. Scarry maintains that Fillmore truly made an impact on the course of American history. For me, the book revealed a generational shift in American politics. Millard Fillmore appeared to be at the tail of the the Clay-Calhoun-Webster generation, who were willing to maintain the nation's slave-free compromise for the greater "good". After 1850 that system crumbled as younger politicians started pushing for their ideals. All in all, Mr. Scarry did a good job of presenting Fillmore's life and times. His writing is a bit uneven at times--the flow of Fillmore's story is now and then broken up with paragraphs of simple facts. But really, that's the only complaint I have with the book.

Do check it out.
LibraryThing link

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