New Books–December 2013

New Books–December 2013

Complete New Book List

December 2013

Mozart: A Life, by Paul Johnson. In this new biography, historian Paul Johnson explores Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life and times in rich detail, focusing particularly on the music. Johnson is the author of a number of acclaimed biographies, most recently Churchill.

A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? by Mark Driscoll. The author says that despite some outward signs, we are living in a post-Christian culture—a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus. Only 8 percent of Americans profess and practice evangelical Christian faith, while one in three people under age 30 doesn’t associate with any religion. We are quickly becoming an irreligious country. Yet this is also an opportunity, as God is still working.

Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, by Francis Spufford. Surprisingly, popular philosopher Alain de Botton, a committed atheist, named this defense of Christianity his favorite book of the year.

HISTORICAL NON-FICTION: The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys: Courage, Tragedy, and Justice in WWII, by Gregory A. Freeman. On their first and last mission over Germany, a bomber crew bails out and are captured by German soldiers; as they are being marched to a POW camp, they are assaulted by German citizens and all except two are beaten to death; after the war, this incident results in the first war crimes trial, and is prosecuted by Leon Jaworski (later the Watergate prosecutor); Jaworski’s integrity and Christian faith shine through his prosecution of the case; The Rescue: A True Story of Courage and Survival in WWII, by Steven Trent Smith. In the Philippines, Protestant missionary families flee to the jungles to escape capture by the Japanese, and are protected by the Philippine resistance over a long period of time; the story also includes several American soldiers who escape from a POW camp, and the discovery of a set of secret Japanese battle plans; the plans, missionaries, and escaped POWs are eventually rescued by an American submarine in a riveting true story; Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves, by Gregory A. Freeman. Slavery wasn’t completely ended by the Civil War. It continued on through the illegal but accepted practice of peonage. In 1921, plantation owner John Williams in rural Georgia, in fear of federal investigation for the practice of peonage, ordered his black foreman Clyde Manning to help him murder eleven of his “slaves” who he feared would testify against him. The resulting trial was national news, and marked a turning point in the treatment of black Americans. Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry, the Nazis, and the Road to War, by Ian Kershaw. How one of England’s grandest aristocrats and cousin of Churchill, was ruined by his support for and association with Hitler and the Nazis prior to 1939—a real-life Remains of the Day. Sheds new light on British and German miscalculations that led to war.

Isaac Watts: His Life and Thought, by Graham Beynon. Watts (1674-1748) is one of best-known hymn writers in history, with 700 hymns including “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”. Yet he was also an influential church leader, working for the revival of the faith and engaged in the theological controversies of his day.

Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality, by Jonathan Aitken.New biography of Britain's first female prime minister, serving from 1979-1990, and known as 'the Iron Lady”. A strong-willed conservative, she changed the course of Britain away from liberalism; Thatcher died on April 8, 2013. Aitken has previously written biographies on Charles Colson and John Newton.

Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions, by Timothy Keller. As recorded in the Gospels, Keller shows how Jesus explained himself and his purposes to people he met, and how their lives were changed by his answers to their questions.

Kingdom, Come, by Phil Ryken. Ryken is president of Wheaton College. This book includes reflections on the Christian’s hope—the second coming of Jesus and the consummation of His kingdom.

Beowulf, a new verse rendering by Douglas Wilson. Beowolf, whose authorship is anonymous, is the earliest extant poem in a modern European language reflecting a feudal, newly Christian world of heroes and monsters, blood and victory, life and death. Its beauty, power, and artistry have kept it alive for more than thirteen centuries. English professor Anthony Esolen, says he has long been waiting for a rendering by someone “sensitive to its muscular verse, its profound humanity and its Christian faith”, and he says that Douglas Wilson has fully accomplished that.

Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica L. Thompson. Short advent readings to prepare your family for a genuine Christmas celebration.

How People Change, by Paul David Tripp and Timothy S. Lane.

Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace, by John Piper. The five points of Calvinism are about how Christians come into being and how we are kept forever by God’s grace.

The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate, by Michael J. Kruger. Challenges the common, but unjustified, conclusion that the NT canon was a late creation of the church, imposed on it by external forces. Rather, he shows how it was a historical process, with roots at least as early as the circulation and use of certain texts as Scripture in the early 2nd century.

Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship, by John MacArthur. A strong critique of the charismatic movement, chaotic worship, and prosperity theology.

Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Ordinary Way of Leading Sinners to Christ, by Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley. The focus is on the Puritan understanding of preparatory grace.

Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God, by Brian S. Rosner (New Studies in Biblical Theology).

COMMENTARIES: A Commentary on the Psalms, Vol 2 (42-89), by Allen P. Ross; Galatians, by Douglas J. Moo (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the NT); The Message of Daniel, by Dale Ralph Davis (Bible Speaks Today).


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