Culture > Notable Books

Bestselling books

Notable Books | Four bestselling nonfiction hardbacks as of Nov. 21


CONTENT Mr. Schweizer profiles 11 prominent liberals, ranging from George Soros to Hillary Clinton, to see whether they actually live by the principles they espouse.

GIST Mr. Schweizer gives many examples of liberal hypocrisy: Nancy Pelosi, a public supporter of labor unions, owns restaurants and vineyards that hire only non-union labor; military critic Noam Chomsky earns money from the Pentagon; anti-capitalist Michael Moore invests through his foundation hundreds of thousands of dollars in the stock market. Mr. Schweizer says it's OK for liberals to act in ways that benefit themselves, but by doing so they acknowledge that their liberal ideology doesn't work.


CONTENT America is in trouble and it's mostly the fault of Christian fundamentalists.

GIST Mr. Carter's screed against the current administration isn't well-written, well-researched, or thoughtful. For example, to make his case against "fundamentalists" Mr. Carter relies on unsupported assertions such as, "Many fervent pro-life activists do not extend their concern to the baby who is born." On evolution, he pronounces Steven Jay Gould's formulation that science and religion "should not intrude on each other" an "acceptable approach."


CONTENT Ms. Truss attacks rudeness with wit and a dollop of the same coarseness she complains about.

GIST In a loud, funny, and sometimes rude style, Ms. Truss illustrates with examples drawn from life and popular culture the increasingly coarse world in which we live. But whether she's bemoaning the disappearance of courtesy words, complaining about public cell-phone use, or attacking "the universal eff off reflex," she's describing a culture where people don't consider other people's interests, don't respect authority or order, and refuse to be accountable.


CONTENT New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick learned how to coach from his father, Steve (who died Nov. 19), the youngest son of Croatian immigrants who became Pennsylvania coal miners.

GIST The book focuses on Mr. Belichick's education as a coach and not on his personal life. Mr. Halberstam portrays Mr. Belichick as the product of a disciplined immigrant family, and highlights his early immersion into the culture of football and mentoring by coaches throughout his life. Mr. Belichick apparently lives for football, but readers won't know the cost of his devotion or anything else about the inner man.

CAUTION Some obscenities.

In the spotlight

As Christmas approaches, The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean (Eerdmans, 2005) deserves praise for its vivid retelling of 24 Bible stories traditionally told during Advent. The stories cover the sweep of biblical history, so as families read about these ancestors of Christ and the prophets who foretold His coming, they will better understand the unfolding of God's plan in history. Ms. McCaughrean presents the biblical stories as part of a larger story featuring a crotchety craftsman whose woodcarving of a Jesse Tree is constantly interrupted by a boy who wants to know what the stories represent.

The Crossway Illustrated Bible Handbook (Crossway, 2005) is another valuable book from a Christian publisher. Full of photographs, illustrations, timelines, charts, and sound articles on topics ranging from biblical archeology to creation and covenants, the handbook is an excellent resource for kids and their families.


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