Home » Books
  • History of papacy needs to be read with critical eye

    "Absolute Power: How the Pope Became the Most Influential Man in the World" by Paul Collins. PublicAffairs (New York, 2018). 367 pp, $28. Early in "Absolute Power," Paul Collins says 1799 "was probably the lowest point in the history of the papacy." What follows is a look at Catholic history as shaped by world affairs, the institution of the papacy and its power, and how the successors of St. Peter from the early 19th century through Pope Francis have used that power.

    Read more
  • Sociologists refute stereotypes about religious views toward science

    "Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think" by Elaine Howard Ecklund & Christopher P. Scheitle. Oxford University Press (New York, 2018). 224 pp., $29.95. If you think religion and science are mortal enemies in the United States, this book might change your mind. Based on extensive research across a wide swath of religious perspectives, it shows that the relationship between religion and science is much friendlier -- and also more complex -- than one might have imagined.

    Read more
  • Larger-than-life, humbler figures offer glimpses of Irish lives

    "Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America" by John Loughery. Cornell University Press (Ithaca, New York, 2018). 407 pp., $32.95. "My Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love and Die" by Kevin Toolis. Da Capo Press (New York, 2018). 275 pp., $26.

    Read more
  • Book offers fresh ideas, church's teachings as guide to decluttering

    "Making Room for God: Decluttering and the Spiritual Life" by Mary Elizabeth Sperry. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2018). 112 pp., $14.95. Organizing and decluttering are big business these days. Thanks in part to mass consumption of largely unnecessary material goods, many find themselves in a state of too much stuff.

    Read more
  • Sultans, commanders come to life in battles important to Catholics

    "Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know" by Michael D. Greaney. Tan Books (Charlotte, North Carolina, 2018). 266 pp., $27.95. Michael Greaney ties political, social and psychological factors into his riveting history of Turkish military incursions into Europe. After opening with the 11th-century's Battle of Manzikert in Anatolia, the author spends the rest of the book examining military clashes in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean during the Ottoman's zenith from 1462 to 1621.

    Read more
  • Decades-long friendship with author flavors bio of activist priest

    "At Play in the Lions' Den: A Biography and Memoir of Daniel Berrigan" by Jim Forest. Orbis Books (Maryknoll, New York, 2017). 352 pp., $28. Jim Forest has given us an extraordinary biography and memoir of Father Dan Berrigan (1921-2016), the Jesuit priest, poet and peace activist who sometimes went to jail for his convictions.

    Read more