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Archive for the ‘NPJ Book Review’ Category

Forbidden Knowledge, From Prometheus to Pornography by Roger Shattuck (1996) My perspective: Seeking moral clarity can be an unsettling journey. This interestingly written 1990’s study is an acquired taste. Who decides what is forbidden, on whose behalf and upon what authority? This is a provocative work though at times feels intellectually disjointed and on the […]

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The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution, Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic by Ganesh Sitaraman (2017) Sitaraman makes a good case that the number one threat to the America’s constitutional government is the collapse of the middle class. He argues that unlike warfare constitutions that the U.S. Constitution was shaped and designed by relative economic […]

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Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis by Anne Jacobsen (2017) Jacobsen has written some excellent investigative works, including last year’s The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency now offers in her most recent book, Phenomena, a study about overlapping nature of top-secret […]

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NPJ Book Review – Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (2017)  My take: Homo Deus or “Man of God” is a studied and knowledgeable work; as a humanist and existentialist I find myself at intellectual odds with the author’s description of classical liberal, humanism and free will. It’s a bit too stereotypical. That said, Harari […]

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NPJ Book Review – Erotic Art of the East by Philip Rawson

Erotic Art of the East by Philip Rawson (1968) Primitive and otherwise ancient cultures, not being as technology diverse as today (read 1960’s) and even more so in the 21st century, relied on a more culturally direct and poignant translation of the sensual in life. In these explicit photos of sculpture and paintings from Ancient […]

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NPJ Book Review – Reason for Being, A Meditation on Ecclesiastes by Jacques Ellul

Reason for Being, A Meditation on Ecclesiastes by Jacques Ellul (1990) When I first read Ellul’s work, I felt as an existentialist I was in an existential conversation about the meaning of life rather than being engaged in the plethora of “touchy feely” as well as sensitive and “solemn” interpretations from various theological perspectives. I reread […]

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NPJ Book Review – The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby (2008) Prescient in style and substance Jacoby exposes the rise of irrationality and unreason in public affairs. The author as other intellectual historians have noted distinguishes the difference between the remarkable characteristics of the “Founding Fathers” in which there were a disproportionate number of learned men that […]

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NPJ Book Review – Forbidden Rites, A Necromancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century by Richard Kieckhefer

Forbidden Rites, A Necromancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century by Richard Kieckhefer (1997) “Possessing” a rather thick medieval collection of books this one may be considered the most insightful in terms of practice. This is part of a History of Magic series. (For a general overview of magic in early Europe, The Rise of Magic in […]

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NPJ Book Review – The Temple in the House, Finding the Sacred in Everyday Architecture by Anthony Lawlor, AIA

The Temple in the House, Finding the Sacred in Everyday Architecture, Anthony Lawlor, AIA (1994) “Each room contains a mythic universe.” Robert Sardello. This is one quote among dozens in the margins of this fascinating work on “finding sacredness in common places.” Among the books piled on my shelves from years past is this is a […]

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NPJ Book Review – Martin Heidegger, Between Good and Evil by Rudiger Safranski

Martin Heidegger, Between Good and Evil by Rudiger Safranski (1998) Martin Heidegger had a primordial mind. He was a thinker in the more provocative sense of the word. I purchased this book when it first came out and have on occasion returned to it for a fresh understanding of this extraordinary intellect. As a reader that […]

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NPJ Book Review – I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone

I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone (1992) Periodically a life has jazz written into its genetic code before the artist emerges years later. The rhythms are not discernible except to the artist. They are at times steeped in human suffering. As an amateur listener of jazz on FM radio I […]

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NPJ Book Review – Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom

Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom. (1980) This is the work of a prominent thinker that inspires and provokes. I read this work in the mid-1980’and still use it as a reference. It seems to be more relevant with each passing year. Irvin Yalom, a psychiatrist, writes in sensitive and scholarly terms and offers provocative insights […]

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NPJ Book Review – Questions Are Forever, James Bond and Philosophy, Ed. James B. South and Jacob M. Held

Questions Are Forever, James Bond and Philosophy, Ed. James B. South and Jacob M. Held. (2006) Philosophical essays about James Bond. Life is not forever nor is James Bond. And life is not a James Bond movie or novel. Still the philosophical insights offered here causes the reader to pause and think about the life we […]

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NPJ Book review – The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach

The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone by Steven Sloman, Philip Fernbach (2017) Officially this work doesn’t hit the marketplace until the next week or so. And my opinion expressed here is just that – an opinion. Thinking is a complicated business. In “What is Called Thinking,” Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher once asked in a […]

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NPJ Book Review – Laughter at the Foot of the Cross by M.A. Screech

Laughter at the Foot of the Cross by M.A. Screech (1997). My take: A metaphorical gem in the literary theological rough. It’s a work that offers literary insights into humor as it relates to the darkness of what was known as the hanging tree or cross. In ancient Judea the hanging tree was considered one of the […]

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