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Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Tonight’s featured weekend book review is a historical nonfiction.

The Devil's Diary Alfred Rosenberg

Robert K Wittman. The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich.  London, UK: William Collins, March 29th, 2016.  416 pp.

A few years ago I read a really good book titled Hitler’s Philosophers by Yvonne Sherratt.  The book mentioned Alfred Rosenberg as one of the Nazi’s influential ideologue and so when I found this book in the library I felt I had to pick it up to know more about this Rosenberg.  The book is about the diary of Rosenberg and I was expecting it to focus mainly on the contents within Rosenberg’s diary.  To be frank I was disappointed with my expectations but I couldn’t totally dismissed the entirety of the book either because it was an interesting subject.

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This work is a classic!

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

Leon Morris. The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, September, 1965. 318 pp.

Many years ago I remember hearing Don Carson mentioned this book in passing during a conference with a local chapter of The Gospel Coalition.  The sermon by Carson really blessed me and I couldn’t forget the book he mentioned since I wondered what treasure I would find if I were to read it myself.  It took me nearly a decade to finally purchased this book but I finally did it: I bought it, read it and was exceptionally blessed by it.

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John Frame Selected Shorter Writings Volume 3

John Frame. Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 3.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, March 31st, 2016. 400 pp.

This is the third volume of John Frame’s selected shorter writings.  Dr. Frame is a Christian systematic theologian, apologist and author who has written extensively on theology, philosophy, Christian epistemology, ethics and worship.  His works have impacted a generation of Calvinistic pastors and teachers. This particular book is a collection of various essays, speeches and articles written by John Frame over the years.  Most of the chapters haven’t been previously published in book form even though some have appeared in theological journals or his website while the remainder appeared in print for the first time. This book is divided into six sections.  The first looks at the nature and method of theology, the second looks at theological issues, then the third looks at epistemology and apologetics, while the fourth focuses on the church, the fifth on ethics and the last part are generally sermons and addresses.  Like the previous two volumes I enjoyed reading this book as a theological devotional daily each morning.  It helps me start thinking theologically as I start the day which warms me up to study other areas of theology or sermon preparation.  Whether you are new to John Frame or want to refresh your studies of some of his insights, I do recommend the book.  The following are the highlights of what I enjoyed and constructive criticisms I have for the book.

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Here’s this weekend book review, a feature I try to post on Fridays because sometimes in ministry Pastors need to read other things besides theology, Bible, commentaries and apologetics.

Band of Giants The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Jack Kelly. Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence.  New York, NY: Saint Martin’s Press, September 9th, 2014. 288 pp.

This book focuses on the military leaders during the American War of Independence.  I appreciate the author’s look at the military leaders that are not as well known today.  Previously I read a book on General Benedict Arnold so I was looking forward to reading this book to get a better idea of what the other leaders were like.  Author Jack Kelly paints a portrait of American military men with their admirable qualities but also their quirks.  It’s amazing to consider how amateur the American side were.  This was contrasted with the British Red Coats who were professional.  I love how the book gave an account towards the end of the book of how an American solider asked a British soldier what his occupation was outside of the military; this was a concept that was foreign to their British professional counterpart and one that the Brits chided the Americans.  In fact throughout the book it was clear that the Brits didn’t think too favorably of the American military leaders either.  British officers saw themselves as gentlemen and aristocrats.  It is no surprised then that the British looked down upon American military officers as craftsmen and merchants mimicking aristocratic officers.  Despite the American vast inexperience it is incredible to consider that the Americans would have won the war.  But as you read the book you also see how the leaders and generals matured.  At the same time war is beyond anyone’s control—and the hands of victory is ultimately determined by God more than generals.

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Sometimes in ministry I have to read other things besides theology, Bible and apologetics.  So here’s two works for fun read that I am reviewing this evening:

The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Ian Edginton. The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes graphic Novel.  New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, July 1st, 2009.128 pp.

This is a graphic novel adaptation of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Doyle wrote this book eight years after he penned the story called “The Final Problem,” in which Holmes has already been killed off but as the forward of this graphic novel stated, Doyle brought back Holmes because he needed “a strong central figure to hold the plot together.”  In the world of Sherlock Holmes, this is a tale that was supposed to have taken place before Holmes’ death.  This is my second graphic novel on Sherlock Holmes and I found it a pleasure to read this book.  The plot was a real suspense and the mystery kept me going.  I also appreciated the drawing and the painting in this graphic novel, especially with its coloring that perfectly sets the mood for its respective panels (dark when it’s dark, bright when it is a pleasant part of the story).  I love the shadows that the illustrator has in the book as it gives that appropriate feel for a mystery especially with the fire side chats, the candles in dark hallways and outside at night.  The details of the rooms in the book is beautiful.  I enjoyed it enough that I’m planning to read the writer and artists’ other work on Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet.

Purchase: Amazon

 

A Study in Scarlet

A study in Scarlet Graphic Novel

Ian Edginton. A Study in Scarlet.  New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, July 11th, 2010. 129 pp.

I picked up this graphic novel after I first read the author’s and artist’s previous Sherlock Holmes work: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes graphic Novel.  I enjoyed the first work and I also enjoyed their second volume!  A Study of Scarlet was actually Arthur Conan Doyle’s first work on Sherlock Holmes.  It is amazing to think Doyle wrote this classic at the age of twenty six something I didn’t know until I read the Preface.  I haven’t read Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid and I have largely forgotten what I read so it was a delight to see this story retold in graphic novel format.  The story was great with twists and turns.  Like the previous graphic novel I enjoyed the beautiful drawing and colors that sets the mood of late 1800s Victorian Era mystery.  I understand there is another graphic novel on Holmes out there by Edington; I wished there was more of these!

Purchase: Amazon

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Zeal Without Burnout Christopher Ash

Christopher Ash. Zeal Without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice.  Purcellville, VA: The Good Book Company, March 1st, 2016. 125 pp.

This is a wonderful little book that ministered to me greatly.  The author Christopher Ash in the beginning of the book did a good job establishing the need of why this book is important in tackling the subject of ministry burnout.  Ash quoted statistics of how some 1,500 people leave pastoral ministry every month for various reasons including burnout and moral failure; even among those that remained many more admit to feeling burnout within five years of starting ministry (18).  This shows how important the book is.

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In light of the upcoming fifth year anniversary of the Bin Laden raid, I review this book for this weekend’s reading recommendation.

SEAL Target Geronimo

Chuck Pfarrer. SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden.  New York, NY: Saint Martin’s Press, November 8th, 2011. 240 pp.

At first I wasn’t sure of whether or not I should read this book, having read other works surrounding the mission that killed Bin Laden especially the work No Easy Day.  I was glad that I read it because this book definitely manage to contribute to the conversation of what happened that day.  What makes this book unique is that this book was written by a former SEAL who interviewed the SEALs operators involved with the Bin Laden raid.  From these interviews the author attempt to synthesize all the accounts from the SEALs (some of which the author admit were conflicting) in order to give a better narrative of what happened that day.

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