Archive for February, 2010

5 Cities that Ruled the World by Dougles Wilson

February 1, 2010

5 Cities that Ruled the World, by Douglas Wilson

5 Cities that Ruled the World is an overview description of how the cities of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York ruled the world. Douglas Wilson is a theologian and teaches college level ethics and logic. He is also editor of a cultural journal best known for its humor and satire, which Wilson fails to successfully interject throughout the book.

Wilson wants his readers to be reminded of liberty and the blessings liberty brings. He does this by devoting a short chapter for each city; Jerusalem represents the soul set free, stating it is a great and standing metaphor for spiritual liberty.  Athens established the ideal of free inquiry, where we are grateful not for every idea to come out of Athens, but for the freedom to reject ideas.  Rome passed on liberty under law, and gave us understanding of civic liberties and equitable laws. London set free our literary imagination, where extraordinary literature was made available for ordinary people. New York has shown us the freedom to trade, this city being the world’s financial center.

I think Wilson should have justified his choice of the 5 cities. The subtitle reads ‘Global History’; however, there are no eastern hemisphere cities. I see this book as a springboard for more in depth research, not only for cities that ruled the world, but for the biblical references. I would recommend 5 Cities that Ruled the World as a quick read listed as a young adult book.

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s book reviewer blogger program.

http://brb.thomasnelson.com/

Book Review by Mary Crocco

The White Horse King, the Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin Merkle

February 1, 2010

The White Horse King, the Life of Alfred the Great, by Benjamin Merkle

The White Horse King is a biography of King Alfred the Great. The inscription on the statue of King Alfred says it all;  Alfred found learning dead and he restored it, education neglected and he revived it, the laws powerless and he gave them force, the church debased and he raised it, the land ravaged by a fearful enemy from which he delivered it.

Being Alfred’s birth order was the 5th son, not much was expected of him. Certainly it was unforeseen he would be king. Merkle describes King Alfred’s victorious combat with the fierce and ruthless Vikings, who plundered and pillaged the English coastlands and countryside throughout the book. There is one chapter called, Alfred the Wise, which gives the reader a wonderful view of Alfred the person. This is where we learn about Alfred’s lifelong love of learning that he incorporates in his religion and the law.

I found the book, The White Horse King, to be a quick, informative read into the history of AD 878 where England was being occupied by the notorious Vikings. I would have liked more information about Alfred the scholar, poet, law-giver, and architect vs. the seasoned warrior. However, this book entices me to read further and I would recommend The White Horse King as an enjoyable biography of a great king.

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s book reviewer blogger program.

http://brb.thomasnelson.com/

Book Review by Mary Crocco

The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

February 1, 2010

The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

After seeing Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot on Bill Moyer’s Journal on PBS, I was anxious to read what words of wisdom Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot had to offer in her book, The Third Chapter; Passion, Risk, and Adventures in the 25 years After 50. I was disappointed to receive no additional pearls in her book.

            To be fair to Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, she did say who the forty people were that she interviewed for her book. She did disclose the fact that her subjects were not ordinary people of middle class, but rather from the highly educated and privileged upper class with extraordinary wealth. However, I did think I would learn a thing or two by reading the book, but this was not the case.

            Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is an educational sociologist who spent two years interviewing both men and women living in the third chapter of their lives; their fifties, sixties, and seventies. She wants us to realize this significant time in life where we may want to seek new meaning and greater challenges. The forty people Sara interviewed were lucky enough to be able to take risks and actually seek their new meanings and fulfill their challenges in their third chapter in life.  They had the means to change their lives dramatically. Each has a different story and circumstances that precipitated the change they made.

            The Introduction to the book shared the most insight and learning tools than did the stories from the forty people. After finishing the book, I had wished there were more revelations from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot than from the people she interviewed. The stories were a quick read, knowing how most ordinary people could not even begin to relate to achieving these third chapter life changes of the elite.

            This is a self-help book the reader will have to modify, as most people living in their third chapter of life do want to seek changes and challenges.  However, besides the Introduction, there isn’t much for the average person to learn. This is one time where the TV interview was more informative than the book. 

Book Review by Mary Crocco

Green by Ted Dekker

February 1, 2010

Title: Saving Cicadas

Author:  Nicole A. Seitz

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publisher Address: Nashville, Tennessee

ISBN: 1595545034                            

Saving Cicadas is an extraordinary story about powerful family memories we all carry with us. But, are these really memories or former past selves that we have to deal with and learn from? If we do not acknowledge these pasts, do we remain stuck living past lives?  In this story, God uses a child to speak to us. It is a mystery of God that reminds us that life is truly a miracle.

This is a difficult review to write without giving away the story. It is suspenseful and thought provoking. It has conflicting story elements which played havoc with my emotions. I cried with feelings of happiness and sadness at the same time. I can tell you the characters were developed in such detail you will feel their emotions as strongly as they do. The dialogue is so powerful at times I had to put the book down to digest. The overall message in this story was more than inspiring.

I absolutely recommend this wonderful novel, Saving Cicadas, to readers of every age. It is a quick read and you will not want to put it down until the end.

Book Review by Mary Crocco

m.crocco@yahoo.com

The King and Dr. Nick by George Nichopoulos

February 1, 2010

Title: The King and Dr. Nick

Author:  George Nichopoulos

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publisher Address: Nashville, Tennessee

ISBN: 978-1-59555-171-9

Is this the way it was?

In today’s media frenzy about celebrities, we all know there is more than one story uncovered in every celebrity death. The question the public is still obsessed over is; did Elvis Presley die of a drug overdose?

Dr. Nick, George Nichopoulos, describes to his readers the intimate role he played as Elvis’s personal physician. He takes his readers to Elvis’s home and on tour to explain the reasons he prescribed the variety of drugs he gave to the King, from 1967 – 1977.  Dr. Nick feels compassion for the King, as he suffered from ailments such as:  insomnia, gastroenteritis, anxiety, panic disorders; the list is endless. He takes us through his numerous court cases to validate the drugs he prescribed as necessary vs. desired. Discrepancies regarding the two autopsies are brought to light for his readers.

I think the book itself contains an abundant amount of information about Elvis and Dr. Nick. It may fill the void for some Elvis fans; however, I feel it was more of a catharsis for Dr. Nick. George Nichopoulos writes his well – intentioned book to set the record straight, but I think it is just one more book about Elvis where readers should ask themselves, is this the way it was?

Book review by Mary Crocco

m.crocco@yahoo.com


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