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Archive for the ‘NPJ Book Review’ Category

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1794, 1795 Parts 1 & 2) Written during the era that was characterized by scientific and philosophical enlightenment, war and revolution and moral, political, cultural, social and theological shifts, Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense along with other pamphlets wrote in the voice of the common person. There […]

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 The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt (1958) Hannah Arendt is an acquired taste. I periodically reread books that I’ve read in the past to see if I read something different in a work the second time around. Arendt’s writings in my opinion are provocative from a political, philosophical and sociological perspective but once acquired one […]

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Critical Reflections on the Paranormal, Eds, Michael Stoeber and Hugo Meynell (1996) Gathering dust on my shelf I decided to reread this slender scholarly work. Though studied by academics since the late 1800s with the founding of the Society for Psychical Research in London in 1882 and in the United States in 1885, the critical […]

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The Argument Culture, Moving from Debate to Dialogue by Deborah Tannen (1998) Written almost twenty years ago the author sought to tackle in an original voice,  “the pervasive warlike atmosphere that makes us approach public dialogue, and just about anything we accomplish, as if it were a fight.” The author maintained, “…in the argument culture, […]

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The Money Cult, Capitalism, Christianity and the Unmaking of the American Dream by Chris Lehman Much has written about the interweave of Christianity (especially Protestantism, capitalism, the industrial revolution and the American Dream). Several historians have tackled the subject such as John Kenneth Galbraith though few theologians have perused the subject in-depth without apology though […]

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My Life and Times by Henry Miller, (1971).  Having read the Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer at a younger age, along with Erica Jong on Henry Miller, The Devil at Large, I thought I had pretty good insight into this remarkable and brilliant author’s mind. I purchased this book at a small bookshop on […]

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Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It) by Elizabeth Anderson (2017) This is a book that’s been long overdue. Anderson offers a scholarly and thought-provoking study of how corporate America is a form of private government. She discusses how the average employee in the private sector acts as if […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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