History’s most notorious criminals compel a certain fascination, though we are well-advised not to become too enthralled.
St. Paul encouraged us to dwell on the true, just and lovely, a discipline no doubt meant to keep us from being enticed by the trappings of evil, the power it sometimes imbues (however briefly), or from forgetting that except for divine grace tyrants like Adolf Hitler might exist as the rule rather than the exception.
Then again, speaking the truth is always a defense against malevolence. And few have unveiled the utter depravity of Hitler’s regime in as meticulous detail as historian Richard J. Evans.
It may have been the dust jacket design that threw me off. The title is set in ornate lettering and illuminated with a medieval-style vine-and-serpent motif, which led me to think this was a book about the ancient origins of the Bible and how it emerged in its present form.
Instead, The Book That Made Your World examines a much more familiar theme—how the Bible influenced and accommodated the rise of Western civilization. But what makes it different, and unusually potent, is that its thesis is propounded by an Easterner who sees this historical influence as a good thing.
When I picked up A Coffin for Dimitrios, I was expecting a light alternative to the nonfiction I had been plodding through.
Having seen the 1940s movie version, and being a fan of between-the-wars detective thrillers, I was all set for author Eric Ambler to sate my palate with an easily consumed tale of trench-coated protagonists tracking down international rogues and bringing them to justice.
These are sad days in America. It’s gotten so that I can’t enjoy watching one group of overpaid athletes outplaying, outthinking, and generally pulverizing another group without the whole thing devolving into a political controversy.