Posts tagged ‘book review’

May 2, 2010

Book review – In Harm’s Way

by thoughtfulconservative

In Harm’s Way (full name: In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors) is Doug Stanton’s telling of the last voyage of the USS Indianapolis and the aftermath of the torpedo hit she took.

Beginning with the suicide of the unjustly condemned captain, the book takes us back to that final voyage; the loading of the atomic bomb and it’s delivery, the return voyage, the torpedoing and sinking, and the stories of the survivors.

It was the stories of the survivors that took up the bulk of the book and was the most riveting.

Of the nearly 1200 men that set sail on the Indianapolis, only 317 survived. Two hundred alone were lost to shark attacks that came at morning and evening. The suffering from the sun, the water and their wounds are unimaginable.

Captain McVay received a court-martial because of the incident. He later committed suicide. His men fought for his conviction to be overturned and, although the Navy exonerated him, his record has not yet been expunged [Ed. Note–As noted by Captain Toti in the comments, this last statement was incorrect. In the “Afterword 2001” Mr. Stanton notes that on July 13, 2001 the court martial was removed from Captain McVay’s record. My apologies for this oversight and my thanks to Mr. Toti for pointing it out.]

September 17, 2009

“The Abortionist” a review

by thoughtfulconservative

I figured the least I could do for my friend Michael would be to buy and read his book, “The Abortionist.”

It was well worth it.

The story is about Elliot Stearns, a former policeman who took up writing after a bullet left him paralyzed from the waist down. As a free lance writer and crime columnist Elliot writes on his blog From Where I Sit and for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Michael explains all this on his blog.

In the book, a psychopath is killing women using techniques an abortion provider would use. Elliot along with his friends on the police force are attempting to find the very clever killer.

Things are complicated by the fact that Elliot has again come in contact with his ex-fiance, Caroline. Things come to a head when their relationship brings danger to Caroline.

I liked the book. It was a mystery, albeit with few possible suspects. The story moved along and there were enough surprises to keep you guessing.

Knowing I am a Christian, Michael asked me if the fact that the killer seemed to have religious reasons for doing his killing bothered me. It does, but that was mitigated by several things. One, so many killers in books, movies and TV are portrayed as “religious nuts” that one becomes used to the whole thing. Two, sadly, we hear too often on the news that someone very much like “The Abortionist” has done some gruesome killing using religion as justification. Three, Michael dealt very well with the subject in the Epilogue by saying that the guy wanted to kill and wrapped in religiosity to justify his evil, much like suicide bombers wrapping themselves in a few words from the Koran and missing the message of the rest of the book.

For my like-minded readers (evangelical Christians), the murders were recounted with perhaps too much gruesome detail. There are a couple of sex scenes and one or two of the victims were described as being unclothed. There is swearing throughout the book.

Technically, a couple of minor spelling and grammatical lapses were noticed.

None of these, however, took away from the story line and the underlying debate about abortion. Caughill has done a good job of being fair to both sides of the abortion debate and looking at the human drama underneath. This he has wrapped up in a gripping story that is worth the read.

Don’t get bogged down in trying to analyze the beliefs of the various characters. Enjoy the story. The Abortionist is worth your time.

March 29, 2008

Bible and government by Dr. John Cobin – a review – part 3

by thoughtfulconservative

In this post, I hope to finish the rest of the book that I started with this post and this post.

In chapters 3 and 4 Dr. Cobin gives us his view of popular Biblical views of government. His key premise is that,

With few exceptions over the course of human civilization, civil government has been relatively evil insofar as mankind’s temporal well being is concerned. Furthermore, in an individualistic sense, civil government is always evil to someone. Certainly, Uriah would not have thought King David’s treatment of him to be a nice or a good thing (II Sam. 11:4, 15).

Wow. Quite a statement for a Christian to assimilate.

But wait there’s more.

Popular thinking that government is always a lesser evil than the extreme case of political anarchy is mistaken. Proponents of such thinking fail to reckon with the brutal record of civil government.

Bet that got your attention.

He gives an example of

those who have faced extermination at the hands of communists might not agree that the tyrannical government that dominated and oppressed them was better than anarchy.

Perhaps, but that wouldn’t mean that all civil government is evil all the time. Even the communists might have done something good.

He may be correct that “the existence of anarchy does not imply that society has neither rules nor order” but that does not mean it would work in this day and age. He believes the market would provide order, but that is too much to hope for that anyone but the most fervent believer in free markets to accept.

There is a danger of power which is why we must be vigilant.

We see an example in Revelation, where government is used by Satan to persecute the faithful remaining on the earth.

But wait there’s more. Joseph, an Old Testament hero seen as a picture of Christ, is criticized by Cobin for

bad, proactive economic policies where people were effectively swindled out of their land by the state (Gen 41:33-44). The state profited handsomely by the craftiness of Joseph.

Whew. This will be more than most Bible believing Christians can accept completely.

His solution? Christians should not actively participate in government.

The Appendix to Chapter 3 purportedly lists all policies of governments in the Bible and classifies them as good ambiguous or evil.

Chapter 4 continues looking at the Bible and government, looking at three key passages, Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17 and Titus 3:1-2. Let’s just say that he practically reverses the commonly held view and does so unconvincingly.

Dr. Cobin believes that good government is the exception rather than the rule. He also feels that Christians are under no compulsion to obey every law. He spends most of Chapter 5 dealing with that. I would agree as long as the Christian is prepared to face the consequences, something Dr. Cobin appears unwilling to do.

Chapter 6 gives a policy analysis of the Christian and American public school. Suffice it to say that he believes

The public school has at once been both the greatest, most pernicious threat to liberty and American Christianity.

Few conservatives would disagree, hence the popularity of parochial and home schools.

The final chapter sums it up and gives a table of issues and how Christians should react.

I’ll have one more post on the book, or more correctly, on the author and my reaction.