Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

If someone we trust suggests a good book for us to read, we are more inclined to do so. On the other hand, if someone we trust tells us not to bother reading this or that book, we usually heed their advice.  Book reviews provide that service.  The reviewers that contribute to our website are excellent critics. So far, all of our book reviews, except one, have been commendatory.  Brian Kelly’s review of Deepak Chopra’s The Third Jesus was condemnatory.

Positive book reviews that appear in good Catholic media outlets would not be there if the books were not of great value. Earnest reviewers would not bother to push mediocrity.  Their mission is to whet the appetites of potential readers. They want to share their own enthusiasm for another’s written work in order to benefit the readers of their own columns. It is actually an act of charity. A potential reader has to be motivated. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out: “There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.”

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The Saint as a Counterrevolutionary: Some Depictions in the Historical Novel Stephana Schwertner by Enrica von Handel-Mazzetti

In the last few weeks, the Catholic Church has been faced with some grave assaults on the moral teaching of the Her Incarnate Divine Founder, Jesus Christ, as was in part disclosed in the public documents of the Synod of Bishops in Rome (5-19 October 2014). Each Catholic is now confronted with the question of how he should more deeply contribute to the defense of … More →

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Review of Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything

Review of Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything. Robert Reilly. Ignatius Press, 2014. Robert Reilly has tackled head-on the drastic change in our society ongoing for the past several years; in fact, one could say that he has collided with this issue by exposing the rationale of its leaders in collusion with the current national administration, pushing the “gay” agenda to … More →

Posted in Articles, Book Reviews, Culture Wars, Heresies and Errors, Morals | 1 Comment

Lessons from the Charterhouse

Due to the kindness of a benefactor, the Brothers recently came into possession of the book, The Prayer of Love and Silence, which Father David Phillipson had recommended from our pulpit some weeks previously. Its author is “A Carthusian,” so named due to a custom of the Carthusian Order1 that guards the monks’ hiddenness and silence. The volume is a translation of two works that originally appeared … More →

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Review of The Church Ascending by Dr. Diane Moczar

A New Title for a First Book: Review of The Church Ascending by Dr. Diane Moczar. Sophia Press, 2014 This is not a new book by this talented author, but a reprint of her first book, What Every Catholic Wants to Know, originally published in 2006. That work, under the old title, is now out of print. The Church Ascending is Dr. Moczar’s first effort … More →

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Catholic Faith and Morals Lambasted in New Father Serra Book

I cite Jeff Mirus’ book review on Catholic Culture only because I have not myself read Gregory Orfalea’s book Journey to the Sun, offered by Ignatius Press. From what Mirus’ provides I would be far less commendatory than he. The reviewer tries too hard not to be overly critical; but critical he is, and rightly so.  I can only surmise, after reading this overview, that this book is … More →

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A Review of ‘The Church Under Attack’

My favorite popular Catholic historian has done it again! How does she do it? Dr. Diane Moczar seems to have a gift not only for digging up and remembering thousands of details of Catholic history throughout the ages, but she writes with a flair that grabs our interest from the very first words of her book, The Church Under Attack: Five Hundred Years That Split … More →

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The Journey of Joseph Pearce

Review of Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love, by Joseph Pearce. Saint Benedict Press, 2013 Captivated by Joseph Pearce’s spiritual biography of the great Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and knowing that he has recently become writer-in-residence at New Hampshire’s Thomas More College, I was eager to read the biographer’s own story of conversion from militant racism and atheism to … More →

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Simian Antinomianism

The heresy of antinomianism received its name from Martin Luther, who, wrote against the more “extreme” doctrines of Johannes Agricola, the enfant terrible of Luther’s own novel doctrine of Justification by faith only. In brief, antinomianism — coming from anti + nomos (Gk: “law”) — is the contention that Christians are absolved from adherence to the moral law. That Luther would object to Agricola was … More →

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Neither Communism Nor Capitalism — a Christian Society

Review of Solzhenitzyn, A Soul in Exile, by Joseph Pearce. Ignatius Press, 2012. Having recently been in a Russian kind of mood after my review of Dr. Warren Carroll’s 1917, Red Banners, White Mantle, when I saw this book in my favorite bookstore (at Saint Benedict Center, naturally), I eagerly picked it up and quickly became absorbed in it. Considering the fact that in between … More →

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Ignatius: The Life Of Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei

Finally, we have a biography of one of the greatest confessors of the Faith of the twentieth century — the dry martyr, Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei. The author, Monsignor Stephen M. DiGiovanni, had been assigned in 2010 by William E. Lori, then Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut (the diocese in which Cardinal Kung died), to compile biographical information of Cardinal Kung and keep a record of … More →

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Modern Noise and Man’s Ingrained Inattentiveness

This brief essay proposes to consider how two eloquent Catholic authors, Hilaire Belloc and Evelyn Waugh, describe and deal with the phenomenon of noise, an unmistakable mark of the intrusive modern world even in times of putative peace. The first account is from 1925 and deals with a famous city upon the water in northeastern Italy, Venice; and the second account is from 1938, some … More →

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Maurice Baring’s Memorable Perceptions of War

After considering several varied, but representative, insights from Maurice Baring’s 1905 book, With the Russians in Manchuria, we shall be even more grateful to reflect upon the admonitory conclusions he draws from his trenchant depiction of modern war, which he so diversely experienced in several foreign cultures before the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Moreover, his piercing and humane warning about the nature … More →

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A Convergence of World-Shaking Events

Review of 1917: Red Banners, White Mantle by Warren H. Carroll (1981) Christendom Press. Every once in awhile a book will come into one’s hands that is impossible to put down, ends too soon, and begs to be read again and again. This little book, at 131 pages (although the print is rather small) is such a one. It is well footnoted and a riveting … More →

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Seven Charming and Sweet Stories of Saint Luke

Review of Seven Stories for Christmas (e-book) by Henry von Blumenthal. Being a retired librarian of a “certain” age, I have resisted e-books because I love the feel of a real book in my hands. Here I reveal, however, that I am happy to have been persuaded to read this lovely and charming little e-book available from for $2.99. It is only fifty-seven pages … More →

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‘And You Cannot Build Upon a Lie’

In 1920, ten years after Hilaire Belloc had stepped down from his four maturing years of publicly elected service in the House of Commons, he published a lucid book-length essay, entitled, The House of Commons and Monarchy. It is a forthright and equitably proportioned work with a clearly stated thesis; and the development of Belloc’s presented evidence and argumentation will help us still better understand … More →

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