New Books Network

Reza Aslan, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” (Random House, 2013)
Christians in the United States and around the world have varying images of Jesus, from one who turns the other cheek to one who brings the sword. Reza Aslan, in his highly popular and beautifully written new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013),... Read More
A. Glenn Crothers, “Quakers Living in the Lion’s Mouth” (University Press of Florida, 2012)
Deservedly or not, the members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) are often portrayed as one of history’s Good Guys. The Society was the first organized religious group to condemn slavery on moral and religious grounds. In Quakers Living in the Lion’s Mouth: The Society of Friends in Northern Virginia, 1730-1865... Read More
Scott Sowerby, “Making Toleration: The Repealers and the Glorious Revolution” (Harvard UP, 2013)
We all know that the “victors” generally write history. The “losers,” then, often get a bum rap. Such was the case with King James II. He’s got a pretty poor reputation, largely due to the purveyors of the “Whig Interpretation of History.” They claimed that James II was a tyrant... Read More
Michael D. Bailey, “Fearful Spirits, Reasoned Follies: The Boundaries of Superstition in Late Medieval Europe” (Cornell University Press, 2013)
Superstitions flourish in our world–think of the elaborate rituals of baseball players, or knocking wood to avoid tempting fate, or that bit of happiness (or relief) we might experience from finding a lucky (heads up only!) penny. Yet it is part of the mythology of modernity that ours is a... Read More
Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey, “The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America” (UNC Press, 2012)
Jesus has inspired millions of people to both strive for social justice and commit horrific acts of violence. In the United States, Jesus has remained central in the construction of American identities and debates about Jesus have frequently revolved around his skin color and bodily appearance. In The Color of... Read More
James K. Wellman, Jr.,  “Rob Bell and A New American Christianity” (Abingdon Press, 2012)
As one of Time Magazine‘s “100 Most Influential People in the World” Rob Bell is a name that is now known well beyond the confines of his megachurch in Grandville, Michigan or within evangelical circles. Bell has been at the forefront of contemporary Christian movements in America and is situated... Read More
Linford Fisher, “The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America” (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Just east of the Norwich-New London Turnpike in Uncasville, Connecticut, stands the Mohegan Congregational Church. By most accounts, it’s little different than the thousands of white-steepled structures dotting the New England landscape: the same high-backed wooden chairs, high ceilings, images of lordly white men. To the careful observer, there is... Read More
Ilan Stavans and Steve Sheinkin, “El Iluminado: A Graphic Novel” (Basic Books, 2012)
Are you looking for a good Hanukkah gift? A good Christmas gift? Heck, any gift? Or maybe you just want to read a terrific book? Well I’ve got just the ticket: Ilan Stavans and Steve Sheinkin‘s, El Iluminado: A Graphic Novel (Basic Books, 2012). Stavans and Scheinkin team up to... Read More
Mary Johnson, “An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service and an Authentic Life” (Spiegel & Grau, 2011)
In December of 1975, Agnes Bojaxhiu, also known as Mother Teresa, appeared on the cover of TIME magazine with a caption that read: “Living Saints.” Mary Johnson, a teenage girl at the time, saw this cover and was drawn in by what she saw as a wonderful life of meaning,... Read More