Okay, time to post a few book reviews and the list of some of what I have read recently . . .
Office and Ordination in Luther and Melanchthon by Hellmut Lieburg
I am currently reading this book, slowly, as there is so much in it. It is a very well-researched book with copious footnotes, and very well-written and translated. Lieburg shows how Luther's theology of the Office of the Holy Ministry grows out of His understanding and necessity of the Word, and how it is grounded both in the congregation and in the institution of the Office by God. The book is divided into two parts: the first on Luther and the second on Melanchthon. I have not gotten to Melanchthon's section yet. But thus far, I highly recommend, though it is not an easy read.
Toward a More Perfect Union
by Timothy Goeglein
Goeglein is well-known in Lutheran circles and works as Vice President for External and Government Relations at Focus on the Family. In this book he chronicles the decay of our public education system, what our children are being taught and why, and why parents ought to care. It is an eye-opener for all parents who need to consider where their children should be educated. It is very well-written and an easy, though disturbing, read.
Biking Across America by Paul Stutzman
Given my penchant for cycling, my older daughter got me this for Christmas. The book records the 5,000 mile journey of the author from the northwest corner of the US to Key West and the interesting people he met along the way. It was very enjoyable to read and a quick read and provides some interesting insights into human nature. The only problem with reading this book is that now I want to do a ride like this! Maybe not 5,000 miles (!), but a week or two out on the road sounds interesting . . .
Man Up! The Quest for Masculinity
by Jeffrey Hemmer
It is no secret that many men don't know what it means to be a man in our world today. There are many confusing signals being received from all kinds of media. The author explains what manhood is, how it is so very much needed in the world today, and how to go about being the man God intended you to be - neither a Neanderthal nor a pushover. The title is a ply on words, for the "man up" who shows us what true manhood looks like is Jesus - the man up on the cross. Because of Him, we can be men in His image. Lots of good food for thought in this book.
The Robe by Lloyd Douglas
One of my parishioners gave me this book to read. It is an historical novel about what happened to Jesus' tunic after the soldiers cast lots for it when He was crucified. The first chapter was a bit slow and a little confusing, setting the characters for the story, but slog through it and get to the good part - the story that Douglas weaves about the tunic, its travels, and its impact on people. He ably uses the events of the Bible to tell the tale and it is an enjoyable read. There are a couple of squirrelly parts (like, the feeding of the 5,000 was because people shared what they brought), but otherwise it is pretty on the mark. It's out of print, so you'll have to get a used copy.
The Day the American Revolution Began by William Hallahan.
This book first presents what happened at Lexington and Concord, but the focus is on how word of that event spread throughout the colonies. We live in a world of instant communication and sometimes forget that's not how it was back then! In the eighteenth century, it took some two weeks for the word to get to all the colonies. This book present that story and so is interesting in broadening the history of this story that used to be well-known (see the Goeglein book above!) and putting it into a greater context.
A Magnificent Catastrophe by Edward Larson
Sticking with the Revolutionary history era, Larson tells the story of what could be called the first modern-day presidential election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This is a must read for those who are interested in our elections today. Larson explains how two opposing political parties developed and how the campaign was waged by them. If you didn't know this happened some 200 years ago, you would think this is a story about elections and campaigns today.
The Pioneers by David McCullough
David McCullough is one of the most well-known historians of our day - if you haven't read any of his books, you should! This account is about the founding of "the west" after the American Revolution - "the west" meaning Ohio, for that was the west at that point in American history! These are years usually leapt over by history books to get to bigger things like the Louisiana Purchase and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. But McCullough tells the tale of the hardships faced by these pioneers as American began is westward expansion. It is not as long or dense as some of McCullough's other books (which can be quite long!), so it is accessible and an easy read.
Nothing Like It in the World by Stephen Ambrose
Ambrose is another highly regarded historian who in this book tells the story of the transcontinental railroad. He tells the tale from the perspective of both ends, both the rails that started in the west and went east (over the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains) and the rail that started in the east and built west (across the great plains). The political machinations, the difficulties and obstacles, the money required, how the route was selected - Ambrose tells it all and gives quite a comprehensive picture of this monumental accomplishment. Very interesting and highly recommend.
The Big Burn by Timothy Egan
This book tells the story of the biggest wildfire ever in the United States. But it is not only that, but also tells the story of how Teddy Roosevelt began setting apart lands for National Parks, and the politics, battles, and controversies behind that and the establishment of the National Park Service. A very interesting read, maybe more so to me since I think Teddy Roosevelt is a very interesting figure in American history.
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
I picked up this book at the used book store simply because I wanted to read a classic, and it was cheap! :-) Not what I expected! I thought it would be more of a novel along the lines of Huck Finn, but it really is more the story of the riverboat era and how that both rose up and declined. But though not what I expected, an enjoyable read anyway.
So those are the books I've read recently. (I read a lot while I'm riding my bike on the trainer in my basement - makes the time pass more quickly.) Got any suggestions or recommendations for me?