American Evangelicals. The Great Awakening, tent revivals, Holy Rollers, slave preachers, millennialists, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals. Dwight MoodAmerican Evangelicals. The Great Awakening, tent revivals, Holy Rollers, slave preachers, millennialists, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals. Dwight Moody, Oral Roberts, Father Divine, Aimee Semple McPherson, Bob Jones, Billy Graham, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Billy Sunday, Peter Marshall, Sweet Daddy Grace. Heck, even George Whitefield was a thought-provoking guy. What a lively book this should be.
Well, of course I got my evangelicals confused with my evangelists to start with, but still, there should be plenty to work with in the history of conservative preachers, fundamentalism, and evangelicals in this country. And indeed, they are all mentioned in Frances Fitzgerald's history. Along with many of those mentioned above, there are Jonathan Edwards, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren, James Dobson. I heard Robert Schuller preach at the Chrystal Cathedral years ago and I thought I would read the story of him and his church.
Unfortunately, I only made it to page 11 of this 740-page book. I spent another hour and a half looking up and reading about some people and places and movements I was interested in and I found myself asking why this author should have wasted so much time writing this book. Deeply researched, widely ranging, filled with dates and numbers and details, the tome reads like the US Social Security Act.
It is seldom a good idea to write a book about a person or subject that you hold in great disdain unless you are prepared to be actively disdainful, sarcastic, mocking, witty. And clearly Fitzgerald holds fundamentalists and evangelicals, protestants, Christians, indeed believers of any sort in disdain. But she presents this history as if she were simply giving the reader the true and balanced story, no opinions here, straightforward narrative, nothing jaundiced or hostile. Just the facts.
Hoping for a balanced discussion nowadays of these admittedly controversial people and religious movements, I was distressed to find this well-researched book (71 pages of end notes) by a respected historian so entirely negative towards its subject. Everything she discusses she approaches unfavorably. It's as if no one ever found his life changed by a tent revival, no one was consoled by Billy Graham's words, no one got a good education at Bob Jones University.
As with seemingly every new book I read lately, the author ends warning of the dangers of the election of Donald Trump. ...more
Ralph McInerny was a highly regarded philosopher at Notre Dame. In his spare time he wrote a series of mysteries featuring Father Roger Dowling, onceRalph McInerny was a highly regarded philosopher at Notre Dame. In his spare time he wrote a series of mysteries featuring Father Roger Dowling, once an ambitious young priest expected to become a cardinal some day. Then alcohol caught up to him and after rehab he is assigned to a dying parish in Fox River, a fictional western suburb of Chicago. And there he finds the life he was meant for, as a parish priest.
And a part-time detective. His best friend is Phil Keegan, the town's head of detectives, a widower who spends a lot of time with at the rectory watching the Cubs and the Bears and playing checkers. Father Dowling has a doctorate in canon law from Catholic University in DC. (He was there at the same time I was.) He often learns much that he cannot share with the cop but his well-trained mind often points Keegan in the right direction and makes connections the layman does not see.
With a character like this and an author like that the literary references are delightful, wide-ranging and worth looking into. Father Dowling is particularly fond of the novels of Anthony Trollope but his favorite writers are Dante and St Thomas Aquinas.
This is the 10th book in the series and it is the only less than first-rate mystery I've encountered. The problem in this book is too many characters who are (or are not) involved in the politics of a Colombia-like South American country which is the source of cocaine being moved into Fox River by a small charter airline. But Father Dowling figures out the complexities and goes back to reading Fulton Sheen....more
Writing well matters more than you might think. One ambiguous word or phrase and an insurance policy, an auto recall statement, or the Social SecurityWriting well matters more than you might think. One ambiguous word or phrase and an insurance policy, an auto recall statement, or the Social Security law can change lives. Evans demonstrates how.
The author, a former editor of the London Times, is impassioned about clear, readable writing and he tells us ways to keep our prose crisp. Keep sentences to 40 words or shorter. Avoid "junk." (I wrote "some ways" in the previous sentence but went back and deleted "some", for example.) Use the active voice. Do away with adverbs.
I disliked Evans' constant use of examples of bad writing that are anti-Republican, anti-conservative, anti-Trump, pro abortion, pro belief in global warming, pro other progressive fads. I read this book because I wanted to learn about good writing. I resent political lectures in purportedly non-political books.
And one thing I liked was a chapter of examples of good prose by two of my favorite writers, Roger Angell and Robert D Kaplan, and others....more
Ah, the ever-surprising Camille Paglia. She is perhaps the most independent progressive I know. She is a libertarian and a feminist and she is unafraiAh, the ever-surprising Camille Paglia. She is perhaps the most independent progressive I know. She is a libertarian and a feminist and she is unafraid. Given her way she would close down all of the gender programs in American colleges and make all women study military history and she has well founded and often convincing reasons for the seemingly outrageous positions she takes. Her essays are guaranteed to infuriate ideologues on both ends of the spectrum....more
In the late 1840s James Fenimore Cooper, he of the Leatherstocking Tales, became increasingly upset at the corruption in politics and the law in the sIn the late 1840s James Fenimore Cooper, he of the Leatherstocking Tales, became increasingly upset at the corruption in politics and the law in the state of New York. And the new state laws and legal code made things so much worse!
For example, it became clear to him that public opinion was of great importance to the outcome of a trial, because both prosecutors and judges were elected and had their ear to the ground all the time. This was made worse by the routine bribing of jurors.
But equally upsetting to poor Cooper were the laws that allowed for bankruptcy rather than jail for debtors. And most infuriating was the loosening of divorce and the legal rights of a woman to control her own money.
The major character in this, Cooper's last (and I might say least) novel, in a woman trying to escape her husband, who married her for her money, of which she has a great deal. When she is charged with murder she can afford to buy a set of keys to the jail, decorate her cell with carpets and antique furniture and a harp, keep a large and luxurious carriage, and let herself out at night to visit New York City.
The last quarter of the book is her trial and at this point the novel veers off into fantasy with the defendant breaking into her lawyer's cross examinations to ask her own questions. Even more unreal is a scene out of Erle Garner. After the jury has found her guilty and the judge has sentenced her to death by hanging, a surprise witness appears who overturns the decision.
I had fun with the book, but as with the rest of Cooper's work, it's not something I would ask anybody else to plow through. Well, perhaps a 12 year old boy might like The Spy and The Pilot and the adventures of Natty Bumpo. And we will not forget soon the Last of the Mohicans. But the last word on the once wildly popular author is that of Mark Twain in Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses: http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/project......more
Douglas Murray's book is a frank new analysis of political conditions in Europe, especially the conditions created by the millions of Muslim immigrantDouglas Murray's book is a frank new analysis of political conditions in Europe, especially the conditions created by the millions of Muslim immigrants that have flooded into the EU over the past decade and in some countries are still arriving in the tens of thousands each day. This is a topic that is difficult to talk about in Europe. The denial of the political and intellectual elites is almost complete. They insist "immigration" is good for Europe and to deny this or even to question how much immigration is enough is to be . . . pick your accusation: Nazi, Fascist, Islamophobe. Everything but sexist as about 70% of the arrivals are young and male.
"Over the whole discussion the allure of this 'get with the beat' attitude prevailed. Perhaps the temptation to 'go with the flow' is so strong in this argument because the price for stepping outside the consensus is so uniquely high. Get a studio discussion about the budget wrong and you might be accused of financial ignorance or poor interpretation of the public mood. But nod to the overwhelming public mood, let alone speak for it, on immigration and reputations, careers and livelihoods are on the line."
In Europe the enormous influx of what are said to be mostly Syrians looking for political asylum but are primarily economic refugees from all over Africa and the Middle East are almost entirely Muslim. Their presence has brought dramatic and shocking change to Europe. And in polls over the last 20 years the percentage of the public who want it stopped has steadily risen: 47%, 56%, 73%.
"The upsides of migration have become easy to talk about: to simply nod to them is to express values of openness, tolerance, and broad-mindedness. Yet to not to, let alone express, the downsides of immigration is to invite accusations of closed-mindedness and intolerance, xenophobia and barely-disguised racism. All of which leaves the attitude of the majority of the public almost impossible to express."
Europe is losing its culture. Western civilization took millennia to build but can be lost very quickly. Edmund Burke made the central conservative insight that a culture and a society are not things run for the convenience of the people who happen to be here right now, but a deep pact between the dead,, the living and those yet to be born." The enormous changes the elite politicians of Europe are forcing on the people are not just a temporary thing and they are not looking at the consequences in generations to come and the increasing influence of an alien culture that stones women who have been raped and murders homosexuals, that denies women equality and feels free to exert violence on those who are not of their religion. ...more