Review: The New Ministry of Truth
Review: The New Ministry of Truth

“The New Ministry Of Truth” is a no-holds-barred description of American military advisors’ futility overseas.

Review: Welcome Home
Review: Welcome Home

“Welcome Home” is the fictional story of the intertwined lives of two returning Vietnam veterans. It’s a book about friendship forged in the adversity of war.

Review: The Guarded Gate
Review: The Guarded Gate

Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law that Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America...

Review: Love, Celibacy & Passion
Review: Love, Celibacy & Passion

Evelyn McLean Brady’s words are best, and they are those of a clear-eyed writer with a sense of history.

Review: "Christianity," a second look at a classic
Review: "Christianity," a second look at a classic

Diarmaid MacCulloch, its author, was brought up in a country rectory in East Anglia and is now a fellow of St Cross College, Oxford.

Book review: A Man of Parts
Book review: A Man of Parts

“A Man Of Parts” takes the facts of the life of H.G. Wells and ruminates upon them, creating a novel out of known information - particularly his love life with two wives and many mistresses.

Review: Liberal Arts will rule the digital world
Review: Liberal Arts will rule the digital world

If you majored in humanities or social sciences, you are a fuzzy. If you majored in computer of hard sciences, Hartley says, you are a techie.

Review: The Boat Rocker
Review: The Boat Rocker

Ha Jin’s new novel, “The Boat Rocker”, is about an investigative Chinese reporter working for a Chinese news agency in New York. He’s also applied for his U.S. citizenship.

Review: The Reader's Companion to Ireland
Review: The Reader's Companion to Ireland

There's some fine writing about Ireland by inquisitive visitors - they are curious, ask questions and describe what they've seen.

Review: Latest, best Woolf bio a difficult but rewarding read
Review: Latest, best Woolf bio a difficult but rewarding read

In the last twelve months, three fine biographies of Virginia Woolf have appeared and this latest, Hermione Lee's, is best.

Review: The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh
Review: The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh

The authors' friendship was literary and long-term, both dear and devastating, each feeling alternately prized or pilloried -- and all by post.

Review: Michael Ondaatje's "Warlight"
Review: Michael Ondaatje's "Warlight"

Michael Ondaatje, who shared the Booker Prize in 1992 for “The English Patient”, has a powerful, if at times confusing, new novel in the bookstalls.

Review: Excessive biography bleeds 'Dracula' dry
Review: Excessive biography bleeds 'Dracula' dry

The title of this biography says precisely what's wrong with it.

Review: A Spirituality of Being Human
Review: A Spirituality of Being Human


This is a book of real value, eternal value, if you’re a believer.

A look back at how book reviewing has changed
A look back at how book reviewing has changed

How does one write a review? I can only say what I do.

Review: What Being Catholic Means To Me
Review: What Being Catholic Means To Me

Pope Francis' recent visit to Ireland prompts this book review, slightly updated.

Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

This is a beautiful if complex read, if you've missed it.

Review: Augustine and The Jews
Review: Augustine and The Jews

Augustine of Hipp is remembered as a theologian and philosopher who developed concepts about what comprise a just war and the nature of original sin.

Review: Being Nixon
Review: Being Nixon

Why the interest in Richard Nixon and his decline again?

Review: Reading in the Dark
Review: Reading in the Dark

The novel is in the form of a memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland in the '40s and '50s. It is painfully, beautifully described.

Review: The Thing About Thugs
Review: The Thing About Thugs

The book draws us into the false idea that Caucasians are a superior race who have the obligation to convert the rest of the world to its brand of Christianity.

Review: Mosaic - A Family Memoir Revisited
Review: Mosaic - A Family Memoir Revisited

Michael Holroyd's book, "Mosaic", is a largely successful pruning of the author's family tree.

Review: V.S. Pritchett - A Working Life
Review: V.S. Pritchett - A Working Life

Pritchett's literary achievement is vast: fiction and nonfiction, autobiography, travel writer, critic, letter writer and diarist. His output was immense.

Review: You are not special
Review: You are not special

Teenagers graduating from high school this year are ticked if you tell them they're not special.

Review: Graham Greene - A life in letters has become a lost art
Review: Graham Greene - A life in letters has become a lost art

Because of the Internet, letter writing is has become a lost art.

Review: What England was like when Jane Austen was writing
Review: What England was like when Jane Austen was writing

What Jane Austen's beloved novels don't say much about is the rougher context of English society during her lifetime.

Review: The Lunar Men
Review: The Lunar Men

They were all men of the English midlands, amateur experimenters, far from London, for the most part, far from university life.

Review: The revolution of RFK
Review: The revolution of RFK

This is a good time for a biography of Robert Kennedy: after the 100th anniversary of the birth of his brother John F. Kennedy. It's also worthwhile to have a read about the president's brother because of the Netflix series just released.

Review: 'Greatest scientist of his age' has a lot to say to ours
Review: 'Greatest scientist of his age' has a lot to say to ours

This wonderful book on the life of Alexander von Humboldt, is something you'll prize even if you don't know a weed from a willow.

Review: A Legacy of Spies
Review: A Legacy of Spies

John Le Carre's latest spy novel, "A Legacy Of Spies," is a book whose title is chosen carefully.

Book Review: Maeve Brennan, Homesick at The New Yorker
Book Review: Maeve Brennan, Homesick at The New Yorker

Maeve Brennan, latterly appreciated with the publishing of the short story collection “The Springs of Affection," spent part of her unknown life as a disoriented bag-lady on the streets of New York City.

Review: Bio of "Clockwork Orange" Anthony Burgess
Review: Bio of "Clockwork Orange" Anthony Burgess

Pray, if you ever become famous, that you do not get a biographer like Roger Lewis.

Review: Heaven Lies About Us
Review: Heaven Lies About Us

Don’t read 88-year-old, Irish short story writer Edward McCabe’s reflections about Ireland on a rainy day...

Review: God's Bestseller
Review: God's Bestseller

"God’s Best Seller" is the story of William Tyndale, Thomas More and the writing of the English Bible.

Review: 25 years of Irish-Vietnamese identity
Review: 25 years of Irish-Vietnamese identity

Recently Pope Francis recently spoke about this same overwhelming need for humanity to recognize the needs of the dispossessed and how to help them.

Review: "God's Soldiers"
Review: "God's Soldiers"

If you think about how one might write a history of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1540, there are two choices.

Review: Mencken - sorely needed as a critic of today's America
Review: Mencken - sorely needed as a critic of today's America

H.L. Mencken was a journalist whose plain-speaking today's America could use.

Review: The Teenage Brain
Review: The Teenage Brain

I suppose the reason most parents or grandparents might pick up “Brainstorm” is that they are puzzled by the hormone-hyped behavior of a child or grandchild.

Review: Beautiful Souls
Review: Beautiful Souls

A few years ago, writer Eyall Press examined what made people say ‘No’ in morally compromising situations.

Review: “Birthright: The True Story That Inspired Kidnapped”
Review: “Birthright: The True Story That Inspired Kidnapped”

“Birthright” is great work by Virginia Tech professor, A. Roger Ekirch.

Review: Portrait of a Novel
Review: Portrait of a Novel

"Finding the soul of the book" should be the goal of any reviewer. It is easy enough to do in Michael Gorra’s tale of the life of a book...

Review: The Anatomy Lesson
Review: The Anatomy Lesson

Go back to the 17th century, 1632 in fact, to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, and attend the Surgeons’ Guild...

Review: Culture and the Death of God
Review: Culture and the Death of God

Terry Eagleton investigates in “Culture and the Death of God” how our supposedly faithless age – threatened by religious fundamentalism after 9/11 - searches for a replacement for God.

Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini is arguably one of the best storytellers in English since the British writer, Joseph Conrad, whose first language was Polish.

Review: More greed than ever
Review: More greed than ever

A fairly recent book, "Age of Greed," shows us that while 'money never sleeps,' it doesn’t care much who it sleeps with.

Review: How newspaper work affected the Darnton family
Review: How newspaper work affected the Darnton family

It is estimated that 183,000 American children lost their fathers in World War II. Pulitzer Prize winner John Darnton, of The New York Times, and his brother Robert were two of those children.

Review: An Englishman's View of America
Review: An Englishman's View of America

Think of Terry Eagleton as a tetchy British uncle, appraising your every word.

Review: European radicalism & enlightenment, a pathetic fallacy
Review: European radicalism & enlightenment, a pathetic fallacy

If you think about it, the Enlightenment is one of the major forces that have shaped the modern world.

January 19th, 9:53 AM EST
Review: A book to read if you think the English are weird
Review: A book to read if you think the English are weird

If you wanted to read the best biographer writing in English today, you very likely would choose Michael Holroyd.

January 8th, 1:55 PM EST
Review: A Week in December
Review: A Week in December

The English writer Sebastian Faulks’ novel gives a view of present-day London lives, at sea with real life and pregnant with technology that doesn’t deliver.

January 12th, 1:31 PM EST
Review: Louis Auchincloss, a voice from old New York
Review: Louis Auchincloss, a voice from old New York

Louis Auchincloss' memoir of his youth makes it clear he was raised lovingly in a sheltered environment.

January 8th, 1:59 PM EST
Review: "A Secret Gift" for Christmas
Review: "A Secret Gift" for Christmas

This is a heartwarming story of discovery told by Ted Gup, a former reporter for the Washington Post, and later professor and chair of the Journalism Department at Emerson College.

December 21st, 12:57 PM EST
Review: An ideal book for Christmas
Review: An ideal book for Christmas

We think we know who Jesus is. But what does Jay Parini, a novelist, poet and teacher, mean when he says, 'remythologize Jesus?'

December 19th, 2:46 PM EST
Review: 'The road not taken' in Vietnam
Review: 'The road not taken' in Vietnam

Max Boot begins by asking the right question: “What caused the tragedy of the Vietnam War?” I’m not sure such an answer is susceptible to single causality.

Review: "A Dead Hand" by Paul Theroux
Review: "A Dead Hand" by Paul Theroux

We read Paul Theroux because of his eye. He sees everything, wherever he is, in India, London, Hawaii, or Africa.

December 7th, 12:34 PM EST
Review: Boy in the Twilight
Review: Boy in the Twilight

The stories in this collection were all written between 1993 and 1998. (This may seem like a long time ago, but it’s yesterday in China’s ancient land.)

Review: 'American Romantic' a well-told story
Review: 'American Romantic' a well-told story

Ward Just’s eighteenth novel, American Romantic, is about Harry Sanders, who serves as a Foreign Service Officer in 1960s Indochina.

Review: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God
Review: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God

"36 Arguments" takes advantage of the worldwide debate heating up over the merits of faith and reason. The book has its charms, but it is a mixed effort.

November 20th, 1:09 PM EST
Review: A Dog Named Cowboy
Review: A Dog Named Cowboy

This is a great book for Thanksgiving and Christmas giving!  But beware!  It’s not just for animal lovers.

November 10th, 4:45 PM EST
A late Autumn harvest of reading you may have missed
A late Autumn harvest of reading you may have missed

The phrase 'a harvest of books' reminds me of the old American Protestant gospel music verse 'Bringing in the Sheaves,' written in 1874 by Knowles Shaw and inspired by Psalm 126:6. The phrase means 'reaping what you sow.'

Review: "God - A human history"
Review: "God - A human history"

A human history of God? What other kind could there be, unless God decided to write his own biography?

Review: "An Odyssey"
Review: "An Odyssey"

"An Odyssey" is, all at once, a beautiful personal narrative and literary interpretation by Daniel Mendelsohn, a classicist at Bard College.

Review: "Smile"
Review: "Smile"

“Smile” is Roddy Doyle’s 11th novel.  It’s been a long time since he’s had hits like “The Commitments” and “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”, which won the Booker Prize.

Review: "How To Plan A Crusade"
Review: "How To Plan A Crusade"

Christopher Tyerman, professor of history of the Crusades at Oxford, explores the role of reason in medieval wars in this must-read book for history buffs. 

Review: A Legacy of Spies
Review: A Legacy of Spies

John Le Carré's latest spy novel, "A Legacy Of Spies," is a book whose title is chosen carefully.

Review: The Great Shift - Encountering God In Biblical Times
Review: The Great Shift - Encountering God In Biblical Times

James L. Kugel, an orthodox Jewish Biblical scholar and the Starr Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, raises perhaps the essential question in "The Great Shift" for those who study and revere the Bible. 

September 29th, 3:08 PM EDT

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