New and Notable Books (September 2013)
One perk of being a book reviewer is that publishers regularly send emails, catalogs, and a steady stream of advanced review copies.
I try to review as many as I can, but I can't get to them all. So each month I highlight a few new and upcoming books that I'm particularly excited about.
(The descriptions below are either from the publisher or from Amazon.)
by Joseph Pearce
Saint Benedict Press, 264 pages, hardcover
Released on September 5, 2013
Before he was the world s foremost Catholic biographer, Joseph Pearce was a leader of the National Front, a British-nationalist, white-supremacist group. Before he published books highlighting and celebrating the great Catholic cultural tradition, he disseminated literature extolling the virtues of the white race, and calling for the banishment of all non-white from Britain.
Pearce and his cohorts were at the center of the racial and nationalist tensions—often violent—that swirled around London in the late-1970s and early 80s. Eventually Pearce became a top member of the National Front, and the editor of its newspaper, The Bulldog. He was a full-time revolutionary.
In 1982 he was imprisoned for six months for hate speech, but he came out with more anger, and more resolve. Several years later, he was imprisoned again, this time for a year and it spurred a sea change in his life.
In Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love, Pearce himself takes the reader through his journey from racist revolutionary to Christian, including:
- The youthful influences that lead him to embrace the National Front and their racist platform
- His dark, angry, exhilarating but ultimately empty days as a revolutionary on the front lines
- His imprisonment and subsequent dark night of the soul
- The role that Catholic luminaries such as G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and C.S. Lewis played in his conversion from racist radical to joyful Christian
- And his eventual reception in the Catholic Church
Race with the Devil is one man s incredible journey to Christ, but it also much more. It is a testament to God s hand active among us and the infinite grace that Christ pours out on his people, showing that we can all turn—or return—to Christ and his Church.
by Ralph Martin
Our Sunday Visitor, 128 pages, paperback
Releases on October 2, 2013
With the encouragement of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, discover a renewed urgency and growing enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel with those in your life, both non-believers and those who are no longer practicing their faith.
In The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call, Ralph Martin explains:
- It's not just a churchy buzzword
- It's not just for priests and missionaries to carry out
- YOU and every individual Catholic play a role
- It is literally a matter of life or death for everyone in your life
- And… it's not as hard as you think
by Edward Sri
Image, 176 pages, hardcover
Releases on September 10, 2013
Mary appears only a few times in the Bible, but those few passages come at crucial moments. Catholics believe that Mary is the ever-virgin Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. But she also was a human being--a woman who made a journey of faith through various trials and uncertainties and endured her share of suffering. Even with her unique graces and vocation, Mary remains a woman we can relate to and from whom we have much to learn.
In Walking with Mary, Edward Sri looks at the crucial passages in the Bible concerning Mary and offers insight about the Blessed Mother's faith and devotion that we can apply in our daily lives. We follow her step-by-step through the New Testament account of her life, reflecting on what the Scriptures tell us about how she responded to the dramatic events unfolding around her.
“This book is the fruit of my personal journey of studying Mary through the Scriptures, from her initial calling in Nazareth to her painful experience at the cross,” writes Edward Sri. “It is intended to be a highly readable, accessible work that draws on wisdom from the Catholic tradition, recent popes, and biblical scholars of a variety of perspectives and traditions. With the riches of these insights, we will ponder what her journey of faith may have been like in order to draw out spiritual lessons for our own walk with God. It is my hope, therefore, that whether you are Catholic, Protestant, or of another faith background, this book may help you to know, understand, and love Mary more, and that it may inspire you to walk in her footsteps as a faithful disciple of the Lord in your own pilgrimage of faith."
Edited by Alejandro Bermudez
Ignatius Press, 176 pages, hardcover
Releases on October 16, 2013
Before becoming Pope Francis, Fr. Jorge Bergoglio, as a Jesuit priest in Argentina, served the Jesuit order and the Church in a variety of functions: professor, spiritual director, master of novices, provincial, and eventually Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
This fascinating new look at Pope Francis presents the personal insights of ten Jesuits, many who have known him since his first days as a Jesuit, and were interviewed for this book shortly after he was elected the Pope. Some were his professors, some his peers, and some younger Jesuits who were his students. Also interviewed for this book are non-Jesuits, including an Argentine senator, a prominent rabbi, a priest working in the slums of Buenos Aires that Bergoglio often visited.
Their remarks are focused on different aspects of the man, including his family background, his abilities, and his personality as administrator, as friend, as teacher, as a guide, etc. Some of the predominant aspects of his personality to emerge are his longstanding simplicity and authentic spirituality; his concern for the individual and the poor; his desire for the Church to go out to the street to meet the needs of the people. More controversial issues discussed include his dealing with the issue of "Liberation Theology" and his relationship with the military regime in Argentina.
These interviews essentially transmit a mosaic that reveals little-known insights of the pontiff's personality, of his interior world, his human abilities, his work habits, his devotions, his concerns, and his friendships. Thus, they open a fascinating door to a better understanding of the man whom the Holy Spirit has elected to lead the Church at this time.
Edited by Philip Lawler
Crossroad, 232 pages, paperback
Releases on November 1, 2013
Reporting on several grass-roots projects undertaken in America, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America—and other regions where “faith” is a new word—journalist Philip F. Lawler offers a realistic report on the strategies and techniques used by activists to deliver the Catholic message.
Reporting on both the failures and successes across a vast array of evangelist organizations—including schools, parishes, pro-life groups, and home schools—Lawler ultimately creates a portrait of a solid, active, and inspiring segment of fervent believers who walk the path of the apostles to speak the word of God.
by Emily Stimpson
Emmaus Road, 184 pages, paperback
Released on September 9, 2013
It was Blessed John Paul II's greatest gift to the Church: The theology of the body. A window into who we are, the theology of the body is a theology for the rooms where we make love. But it s also a theology for the rooms where we work, where we eat, where we laugh, and where we pray.
These Beautiful Bones takes you on a walk through those rooms. With both humor and practical wisdom, it sheds light on what the theology of the body has to say about life beyond the bedroom, about the everyday moments of life, helping you discover how to let grace enter into those moments and make of them something extraordinary.
What new and notable books are you looking forward to?