Book Reviews: Other Topics
Anna’s Bear: 5 Days of Moral Conflict and Pursuit, Nazi Germany, 1939
O. W. Shumaker (©2014); Rating: 5
Historical fiction normally doesn’t interest me, but this one I didn’t want to stop reading. The author develops his characters and historical context well, so you understand the culture and its inherent tensions. With all of the detail the author provides, the story line seems very plausible and it wasn’t surprising to see the depth of his research in his bibliography. It’s a captivating and excellent story.
The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic
Michael Medved (©2016); Rating: 5
It’s popular today to agonize over America’s exceptional history and express shame over our national faults. Author Medved states this “confuses the reality of American exceptionalism with fantasies about American perfectionism. To argue that a higher power directed the United States to a unique and valuable role in the world isn’t the same as insisting that our national saga unfolded without flaw, folly, or failure.” As the author explains, the founders and builders of our nation believed deeply in heavenly favor for their efforts and he provides excellent insight to critical moments in our history and how people’s strengths and weaknesses impacted the results. This is an excellent book for those who believe in a loving God who guides imperfect people to accomplish his will despite their limitations and failures. I’m not normally interested in history, but this book was so compelling I could hardly put it down.
Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting
Chris Martenson, Adam Taggart (©2015); Rating: 4
There are major trends in the world that likely will shape our way of life over the next several decades. With that in mind, if you’re uncomfortable with the assumption that “they” will take care of what’s important, then this book is for you. The authors present a case for individual resilience – having the right mindset and performing the right actions to prepare yourself and family by knowing how to “do some useful things, keep a deep pantry, know your neighbors, and help when you can.” The book examines eight forms of capital each of us have and how we can develop them. Even if the authors are entirely wrong about the future, everything they recommend is still worth doing.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Susan Cain (©2012); Rating: 4
I’ve known for years I’m an introvert and lived accordingly, feeling comfortable and confident in that identity. “Quiet” was a fascinating read with its research and stories of very successful introverts. I believe the entire world would benefit from the insight in this book, especially Chapter 11 – “On Cobblers and Generals: How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them.”
The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment
Christ Martenson (©2011); Rating: 4
The author identifies major economic, energy and environmental trends that are shaping our lives, then describes realistic ways we can respond as individuals and a society. This is a comprehensive, well-documented study; definitely not light reading but worth the effort for those who are concerned and want answers. “Part VII: What Should I Do?” contains the good news – we already have what we need to correct the harmful trends. We simply need the desire and motivation to make the necessary changes a priority. As individuals, we can decide which ones are best suited to our abilities and needs. This is a lengthy book, but it definitely will help you reset your priorities and come to terms with the inevitable changes that face us.