Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Biblical Interpretation of the Middle East Conflict

This book presents a very readable perspective on the Middle East conflict from a biblical point of view. I have always been fascinated by the origins of the conflict. Bryant leads the reader through the Bible story of Abraham's family and relates how the original conflict began. I found the explanation of Sarah's use of her handmaiden, Hagar, to help God fulfill his prophecy particularly interesting. Bryant makes an excellent point that God will fulfill his prophecies in his own time. Helping him the way Sarah tried to leads to more problems than it solves. It's a very cogent argument for having faith that God will do what he says if we believe.

The book doesn't rely completely on the past. Bryant also discusses the history of the formation of Israel from lands the Arabs believed had been given to them by God. I learned a great deal from this discussion. I found the second part of the book particularly interesting. Bryant presents a series of chapters giving us the perspective of the players in the Middle East conflict. It was helpful to see how each group firmly believes it is in the right. Unfortunately, this is not a good omen for resolution of the conflict.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the roots of the Middle East Conflict.

I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze Program

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Very Uneven Novel

The most positive thing you can say about The Wake of Forgiveness is that the author has a very descriptive writing style that transports you into the time and place. Unfortunately, the author hasn't mastered the creation of suspense. The story skips back and forth between time periods. This ruins the most suspenseful scenes and keeps the reader wondering where he is in the story. This is a good bad example of the problems with extensive flashbacks.

The book is primarily a character study. I believe it was competently done, but the characters were so cruel and their motivations so selfish that I had a hard time getting interested in their problems. Perhaps the author was trying to say that the harsh land forms harsh characters.

One reason I cannot recommend this story is the amount of animal cruelty. I found the scenes where animals were being hurt repugnant. This might not bother some people, but animal lovers need to be warned about the graphic nature of the scenes where horses are abused.

I read the book as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look Program. I was very glad to have an opportunity to read the book and particularly to discuss it with other readers. It's not a book I would have chosen to read, but I learned something. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Brief Look at an American Hero

Although I've read may other books about the Civil War, this one make General Lee come to life. I found the details of his early life, particularly his life with his wife and family fascinating. Somehow, other books failed to make Lee, the husband and father, come alive. In fact, I thought that he didn't like spending time with his wife and family. Being a military man, he spent a great deal of time apart from them, but the brief glimpses of his letters to Mary and his children changed my mind.

This book is not a comprehensive biography, but rather a glimpse of Lee, not only as a fighting man, but as a very human person. Before reading this book, I had never really thought about his religious beliefs. Now I understand what a strong impact his belief in God had on his actions both as a man and a general.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about General Lee. It's not a comprehensive biography, but in a few pages it gives an excellent feel for the man and his times, not just the Civil War hero, but his early life and how important his allegiance to Virginia was to him.

I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson bloggers program.