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Mailbag

Issue: "Year in Review 1999," Jan. 8, 2000

Can't fit 'em all

I am surprised that I'll Take My Stand by Twelve Southerners did not make your list of "The century's top 100 books" (Dec. 4). In print continuously since its publication in 1930, it has had an enormous influence on both Southern and American letters. At least 10 of the 12 essayists in this book went on to distinguished careers in academia, literature, and the arts. Some, notably Robert Penn Warren, struggled with Christianity in ways that a thinking Christian might find instructive. Others, like Tate and Lytle, ultimately embraced Christianity as the true solution to the cultural malaise defined by the book. That said, I would struggle mightily to figure out which book to leave off in order to get I'll Take My Stand on your marvelous list. - Warren C. Smith, Charlotte, N.C.

A superb listing, but...

A superb listing, to be sure, but you missed Suicide of the West by James Burnham (1964), which was as concisely devastating in its deconstruction and refutation of liberalism's pre-theoretical assumptions as Arendt was of totalitarianism, Paul Johnson of revisionist history, and Phillip Johnson of evolution. - Mark Tapscott, Sykesville, Md.

How could you?

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How could you leave off Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? - Paula Scott, Opelousas, La.

Biased

I love Edith Schaeffer's writing, but The Art of Life is a not even an original work, but a devotional anthology pulled from years of her writings. Likewise, Sinclair Ferguson's little Christian Life is a nice but unremarkable doctrinal introduction. To list it as one of the books of the century betrays a rather inflated Reformed bias. What about a couple of lauded landmark Catholic works, like Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness or Michael Novak's The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism? Otherwise, I enjoyed your helpful catalog, and will certainly be looking up several of the titles. - Joe Martin, Los Angeles, Calif.

A timely inclusion

Paul Johnson's Modern Times will be the textbook on 20th-century history for our homeschooled children. Great inclusion. - The Bushong Family, Syracuse, Ind.

Choked

I know how Marvin Olasky feels in "Bedtime reading" (Dec. 4). The last paragraph of Little House in the Big Woods never fails to choke me up in the same way: "She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago." - Cindy Rollins, Salem, N.J.

Sam's back

I've read The Lord of the Rings 17 times since 1972, and every time I get to that perfect last line I choke up. Nice to hear the same testimony from you. - Kenneth J. Langley, Zion, Ill.

Creeping intolerance

I strongly support the Peck family and their decision to stand up for their rights to express their religious beliefs ("Back to the drawing board," Dec. 4). What happened to Antonio and his family is alarming. Tolerance seems to apply only to those things non-Christian and intolerance is creeping towards censorship and persecution. - Matthew J. McDevitt, Annandale, N.J.

My brother's sweatshirt

In the photo with the article "Holding the line?" (Dec. 4), the man walking next to the police officer was Rev. Douglas Williamson, the minister who successfully defended now-layman Jimmy Creech last year in the United Methodist Church's highest court. He is considered in Nebraska to be the authority on Methodist Church doctrine and traditions. I should know. He's my brother. After seeing him wearing the "Stop Spiritual Violence" sweatshirt and reading your article, I was reminded again where he and I, both ministers, differ on doctrinal issues. I believe the Bible to be the inerrant, unchanging Word of God, and he doesn't. - Don Williamson, Lexington, Va.

A picture's worth ...

By allowing a consultant's fee to balloon from $750,000 to $2.4 million, the National Council of Churches clearly showed its disarray and abysmal management ("Cork the champagne," Dec. 4). By spending $750,000 on an anniversary celebration, NCC demonstrated poor stewardship. It seems they've missed championing the biggest social issue of all-where members of society will spend eternity. Maybe they should ask Antonio Peck to draw them a picture. - Scot McClintock, Liverpool, N.Y.

Garbage in

In "Second time around" (Dec. 4) you quote the exact vulgarities extracted from the garbage on the tube. Those of us who filter what we take into our homes (by unplugging the TV) do not appreciate your sharing with us the very garbage we have already thrown out. Shame on you. - Mike Dwyer, Fort Collins, Colo.

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