Category archives: Book Reviews

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

by Jessica Prol

January 30, 2013

As dedicated fans will know, Pride and Prejudice turned 200 years old on Monday, January 28.

ABC’s Diane Sawyer’s opened her anniversary segment noting that Pride and Prejudice is “book that cracked a vital code—the eternal secret of how a man can be irresistible to a woman.” ABC gives us a brief history of the book and montage of its popular iterations over the past 200 years. But while leading man, Mr. Darcy certainly is “the thinking woman’s heart-throb,” he’s more than a romance icon.

A few years ago, my friend Brian Brown noted some the reasons in a post titled, “Why Men Like Jane Austen.”

This is the Austen hero. Chesterton observed, “When Darcy, in finally confessing his faults, says ‘I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice though not in theory,’ he gets nearer to a complete confession of the intelligent male than ever was even hinted by the Byronic lapses of the Brontes’ heroes or the elaborate exculpations of George Eliot’s.” This kind of self-aware yet self-confident manhood does not impress in the way that a quick wit or a quick sword does. Rather, it inspires respect—something we too often do not know how to gain, because for the Austen hero, “manly” is not something he does, like rescuing a damsel in distress; it is something he is. There is an integrity to him that transcends situation.

Today, such integrity and selflessness still merit respect and admiration. That’s what most (if not all) single ladies hope for in a spouse.

But for anyone who’s not convinced that such Austenesque virtues are timeless, I offer you a brassy and boisterous reminder that marriage “still works.” The recently married young commentator Steven Crowder opined on the topic, over the weekend. His post, “A man’s top 5 reasons to grow up and get married” is worth the read. It’s not aimed towards the marriage-minded single, and could be frustrating for anyone fruitlessly pursuing marriage. But it’s a bold wake-up call aimed at the loafing bachelor who thinks marriage is out-dated.

So, gentlemen, skim Crowder’s “Top 5 Reasons” and then grab a copy of Pride and Prejudice. The cultural milieu has altered. But there are still Mr. Darcy’s and Elizabeth Bennett’s to be matched.

Trials and Tribulations of Girl Land

by Krystle Gabele

January 26, 2012

Caitlin Flanagan recently released a new book, Girl Land, which takes a look at the world of todays adolescent girls and the issues they are facing. Of course, Flanagan has again enraged feminists everywhere with her perspective.

In Girl Land, Flanagan looks at how culture has changed over time and how it has become focused on viewing girls as sexual objects and denying them the privacy, daydreams, and crushes that normal girlhood provides. In other words, they are losing their sense of self.

However, Girl Land is also drawing some criticism from those who might agree with Flanagans point of view. In a recent RealClearBooks op-ed by Heather Wilhelm, Girl Land received some criticism as painting things too broadly. Wilhelm brings up a great point that this book fosters ambiguity toward men, as well as making excuses for the boys will be boys mentality.

On one hand, Flanagan seems to buy into the all men are predators narrative, speaking of the pervy uncle and the drunk father hitting on the babysitter as if they are prototypes, not anomalies. Perhaps this stems from an assault Flanagan endured when she was younger, which she details in the book. But its an odd quirk, particularly in a girl culture better represented by the aggressive, love-struck babysitter in Crazy, Stupid, Love (in the movie, she harasses her charges clueless father, leading to mortifying results) than anything else.

But then, on the other hand, Girl Land exhibits a strange sense of boys will be boys that excuses even the crassest behavior. If I were to learn that my children had engaged in oral sex outside a romantic relationship, and as young adolescents I would be sad, Flanagan writes. But I wouldnt think that they had been damaged by the experience; I wouldnt think I had failed catastrophically as a mother, or that they would need therapy. Because I dont have daughters, I have sons.”

Wilhelm also argues that girls are facing a society that promotes promiscuity over abstinence. Girl Land did not mention anything about respect for this critical moral choice.

Kids need to know how their behaviors will impact them in the long run, and the implications of not making the right choices behaviorally. Shouldn’t Girl Land be focused on holding both sons and daughters to high moral standards? Our society needs these standards now more than ever.

Understanding the GLBT Political Agenda And What You Can Do About It

by Peter Sprigg

January 4, 2012

Book review: A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip Its Been, by Michael L. Brown

Note: Dr. Brown will be giving a policy lecture about his book at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC on Thursday, January 5, 2012. For more information and to register, click here.

Reviewed by Caleb H. Price

In the span of a few short years, American culture has undergone a breath-taking shift in attitudes about homosexuality and transgenderism. Behaviors that were recently viewed by most to be unseemly, if not immoral, are now embraced. What was good is now evil. What was evil is now good.

And while homosexual and transgender activists insist that there is no agenda in play, a closer look shows that this 180-degree turn was no accident.

In his latest book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, Dr. Michael L. Brown documents this cultural sea-change. Here, he takes the reader on an eye-popping account of the strange and bewildering trajectory that gay activists have charted for America.

And he persuasively argues that the trip were on will result in the catastrophic deconstruction of the most basic building blocks of human society biological sex, marriage and family.

The topics covered in this comprehensive work are timely and helpful for understanding the GLBT political agenda. Brown fearlessly engages political correctness on these issues and winsomely encourages concerned citizens to step up the plate and take action before its too late.

Specifically, Brown details how our schools and universities have been strategically targeted by GLBT activists to bring about their revolution in the span of two short generations. Terms like tolerance and diversity now almost exclusively refer to sexual orientation and gender identity. And intellectually honest debate on these issues has been completely stifled in the academic and mental health professions.

In this context, Brown offers a strong rebuttal to the born gay myth and the largely unquestioned view among cultural elites that sexual orientation and gender identity are equivalent to race. And he points out the undeniable and disturbing parallels of this equation to issues like polyamory and pedophilia.

Significantly, A Queer Thing offers an indictment of the one-sided embrace of the GLBT political agenda by media and corporate elites and the mean-spirited attack on those who hold to traditional values on these issues. Here, Brown treats the semantic issues well and shows how GLBT activists have masterfully reframed terms to advance their agenda.

Similarly, Brown provides a helpful understanding of and rebuttal to of the GLBT revisionist theology that has taken root in both the church and secular arenas. Given that Christians are called to offer a winsome answer for their convictions, this section is very helpful in equipping those who feel inept discussing these difficult issues.

At its core, A Queer Thing details the totalitarian nature of the GLBT rights movement. The inevitable conflict between religious liberty and sexual freedom is chillingly presented. Here, those who disagree with Brown will be particularly challenged.

Winsome and witty, well reasoned and meticulously researched, Michael Brown raises the bar with A Queer Thing and calls citizens to take action to turn the tide of the GLBT agenda at the local level. Theres even an accompanying website offering detailed action steps for citizen involvement (www.aqueerthing.com).

Islam in Our Midst - A Review

by Alexander Marcus-New

November 15, 2011

Ancient Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that, A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. It seems to me that this quote greatly exemplifies what is happening in the United States currently in regards to Islam. In his book Islam in our Midst, author Patrick Sookhdeo informs the reader of what is happening within the walls of the United States and its threat to Christianity. Sookhdeo keys in on four different areas that are being affected by Islam: Understanding the Public Square since 9/11, Western and Non-Western Worldviews, and the impact of Islam on Society. By looking at these three areas, it can be seen that this book is a must-read for those concerned with what is happening within the United States in regards to Islam.

First, Sookhdeo looks at the public square since 9/11. Two key areas that I believe are very important that Sookhdeo talks about in his work would be Interfaith Dialogue and the Lack of Self Confidence in the U.S.A. It seems to me that within these two areas, some interesting points are raised. Interfaith dialogue is most certainly an important area to look at, because in the years since the 9/11 attacks, there has been an urging by those in power for those of different religions to find common ground. At the end of this section in his book, Sookhdeo poignantly poses the question (in regards to these interfaith dailogues) Is this merely another aspect of dawa, Islamic mission to bring about Islamic transformation? While the area of interfaith dialogue is certainly an important one, another that is analyzed is the Lack of Self Confidence in the U.S.A. Sookhdeo points to the long delay in apprehending Osama Bin Laden, the limited success in Iraq, problems in Afghanistan, resentment towards Americans from around the world, and the financial crisis as reasons that lead to a lack of self confidence in the United States. One prime example of this would be abundance of criticism of the United States by those in Hollywoodl. For instance, in 2003, actor Johnny Depp threatened to leave the United States unless the political climate changed. Depp called the U.S. a big, dumb puppy…with teeth..that can bite you…and hurt you. Depp currently lives in France while still making his millions thanks to the wallets of American moviegoers.

Another area that Sookhdeo looks at in his book is Western and Non-Western worldviews. Pointing to the cultural views of both Islam and western cultures, Sookhdeo points to key differences. One of these differences is the aspect of diversity. In the second section of the book, the author states The U.S.A. is both a unity and a diversity.. It seems as though the United States is a unity in the fact that the country, for the most part, stands together in times of crisis and depicts itself as the United States of America. However, while unified under the flag, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and other key elements to our countrys success, the U.S. is also one that is very diverse - culturally, religiously, geographically, socially, etc. This diversity has been key in the survival of this nation (it was the Pilgrims that left Europe to escape a state-run religion). While the United States celebrates diversity in these areas, the Islamic worldview is not as open to such views. As Sookhdeo states, The communalism of Islam, as opposed to the individualism of American society, leads to a very different attitude to private space and public space. Another frightening thought that Sookhdeo points to is that For Muslims, divine unity means that there can be only one god-approved law, sharia, andone right poltical model for human society. With views like these, tension between Muslims and the societies in which they have acclimated themselves into within the United States.

Finally, Sookhdeo looks at the impact of Islam on United States society. Throughout this entire chapter, he points to the various ways in which Islam has impacted the United States. While many Muslims come to the United States and try to convert U.S. citizens to the religion of Islam, they seem to get offended when Christians try to convert them, and in many Muslim countries across southwest Asia (the Middle East), Christian mission and evangelism to Muslims is prohibited. Sookhdeo points to an event in 2010 when Christians were arrested and jailed on counts of disorderly conduct for distributing Christian materials outside of an Arab International festival in Dearborn, Michigan. By having a number of small impacts on different areas throughout the country, such as these two, Islam can certainly make quite a large impression throughout the entire societal makeup of the country.

In all, this work is certainly informative for anyone whoi is worried about the Islamification of certain aspects of society in the United States. Sookhdeo shows his knowledge of this area of study and gives examples for the claims he makes. For me, the book is certainly an eye opener as to what is currently happening in regards to Islam and its presence in the U.S, and after reading, only one quote came to mine. While this quote came about in regard to World War II, it certainly has its application here:

Niemoller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

-Martin Niemoller

In our country, many may not want to hear about the dangers of Islam. However, George Orwell once said that Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. We have that right. Speak up. Sookhdeo certainly has.

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