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in this section:
Judas
The Hiding Place
Spirit of Fire
Reclaiming Francis
The Seven Storey Mountain
Selected Writings Of Benjamin Morgan Palmer
Francis of Rome & Francis Of Assisi
Pope Francis
Christ's Glorious Achievements
None But Jesus
Pleading For A Reformation Vision
Rowan's Rule
Evangelical Holiness
Billy Graham
Silhouettes And Skeletons
Amazing Grace
A Life-Giving Way
Letters To London
The Road To Daybreak
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Saint Augustine of Hippo
Thomas Merton The Exquisite Risk of Love
John Bunyan
Zachary Macaulay
Festo Kivengere (Bitesize Biographies)
Travel with Jonathan Edwards
C S Lewis: A Life
Dewi Sant - Saint David
John Stott: Pastor, Leader, Friend (The Didaskoo Files)
A Taste of Hildegard
A conservative at heart?
Matthew Henry
A Blueprint for Revival
John Henry Newman
J.I.Packer and the Evangelical Future
The Beauty of Holiness
The Pope and I
Mother, Sister, Daughters
Gandhi – and the Unspeakable
Travel With Bishop J C Ryle
God Truly Worshipped
Saints and Sinners of the Marches
Fr John Fahy
The Practical Mystic
Christ Set Forth and The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth
The Heart of Christ
Thea's Song
Select Letters of John Newton
Luther and Calvin: Religious Revolutionaries
Matthew Henry
Hear Me Carefully – John Blanchard
Ian Fraser
From the Library of Charles Spurgeon


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Biographies/ Writings: Saints & Notable Christians

For the lives of those we give the title Saint, and other historically noteworthy Christian men and women, written by their contemporaries, their own writings and stories about them painstakingly put together by modern day writers.

Judas

- The Troubling History Of The Renegade Apostle

by Peter Stanford


A fantastic book that looks at Judas in detail and history, and with a hint of quirk that just lifts this book on such a maligned and misunderstood character to a whole other level. There is in here depth of study and scholasrship that asks deep and probing questions on the theology of soteriology, grace and end times, that looks at the questions arising from the Gospel of Judas, that looks at how historical misperceptions and misrepresentations have perhaps corrupted our view and even deviate from the actual, and how indeed we continue to propogate this misperceptions ourselves today. It's a fantastic read and even if you don't fancy the whole book then well worth reading the A-Z of Judas facts/fictions.. of which two letters each precede each chapter.. A very interesting and enjoyable read.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (16/04/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: March 2016
ISBN: 978-1-444-75471-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Hiding Place



by Corrie ten Boom


This much loved book has now been added to the Contemporary Hodder Classics series, and it is a well deserved addition because this book is still a best seller nearly 45 years after it was first written.

For those that haven't read it (and re-read it!) this is the true story of how after helping hundreds of Jews to escape from the Nazis, the family were betrayed, and Corrie, her sister and father were arrested. Soon after, her father died. When Corrie and her sister Betsie were moved to Ravensbruck concentration camp they saw this as an opportunity to tell their fellow inmates about God, and show by the way they behaved the way of Christ. Page after page is filled with a mixture of horror and hope. Betsie dies in the camp and Corrie is miraculously freed to return to her home in Haarlem and then to realise the visions described in great detail by Betsie before she died. 

Certainly a book well worth reading if you haven't already read it. 



Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/01/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: 10 September 2015
ISBN: 978-0-340-86353-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Spirit of Fire

- The Life And Vision Of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

by Ursula King


First published in 1996 this is a revised edition of Ursula King's very accessible and readable biography of Teilhard De Chardin. Packed as it is with pictures, side quotes from his works, and of course King's own well set out summary of De Chardin's life this book really is a great way to get to know more about this well known modern mystic, scientist and theologian.
Be clear this is not a book on his thoughts and teachings, although of course one can hardly have a biography that does not include such things, but it is rather a good look at the foundations of his life that led to and conditioned his work... and with this basis known then it opens up even more his actual works and illuminates his reasoning and passions, and widens the way in which you can engage with his works.
A very good introductory biography of a most interesting and intriguing man.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (14/08/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: July 2015
ISBN: 978-1-626-98114-0
Large paperback
Price: £17.99

Reclaiming Francis

- How The Saint And The Pope Are Renewing The Church

by Charles M Murphy


There is no doubting Charles Murphy's approval of Pope Francis I, whose words "How I would like a church which is poor and for the poor!" seem to the author to be "the best possible concise description of a pontificate". 

This Pope is guided—”front and centre”—by the example of St. Francis of Assisi. He chose the name Francis because the thirteenth century Saint was "a man of poverty, a man of peace, a man who loves and protects creation". 

The book is full of stories of St. Francis and present day applications, not least Chapter 10, giving eleven modern ‘Fioretti', incidents or places that depict various aspects of Franciscan spirituality alive today.

Pope Benedict XVI, too, is praised for focusing in his 2011 Christmas homily on St. Francis, who "loved the child Jesus because for him it was in this childish estate that God's humility shone forth. God became poor." 

Charles Murphy describes his reason for writing this eminently readable and stirring book as being to help readers to "explore the life of St. Francis and see its real connection with their own lives." The Roman Catholic Church is in good hands with this man as Pope.


Review by Barry Vendy  (05/05/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: March 2014
ISBN: 978-1-594-71478-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Seven Storey Mountain

- Centenary Edition

by Thomas Merton


'The Seven Story Mountain' is a modern classic and has been one of the SPCK Classics series for a while now, but this Centenary Edition is a complete and unedited version of Merton's biography with a few pages of black and white pictures included.

Seven Storey Mountain, for those that have not yet had the pleasure of meeting and reading the book,  is a biography of Merton's search for God and his finding Him in the great silence of a Trappist monastery.It's the story of a person increasingly disillusioned with their contemporary society, and their search for more, finding that more in the journey away from Atheism and into Catholicism and finally to a life as a trappist Cistercian monk in Kentucky.

It's a classic for a reason and has much in it that speaks to many a spiritual traveller still today.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (27/01/15)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: 01 December 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-07366-5
Paperback
Price: £20.00

Selected Writings Of Benjamin Morgan Palmer



by Benjamin Morgan Palmer


This beautifully produced book consists of 34 short articles written by Pastor Benjamin Morgan Palmer for the Southern Presbyterian magazine between 1869 and 1870. The subjects covered include anecdotes from his pastoral life, a justification for foreign missions, the Beatitudes and Christian paradoxes.

Pastor Palmer writes in the florid, wordy style of the 19th century using some language that is now archaic. However he has an evident love for the Gospel and Gospel truth. Christ is at the centre of what he says and his writing reveals a man of deep spiritual wisdom. His narration of deathbed conversions and his meditations on the Beatitudes are particularly memorable.

The introduction states that "it may be argued that some of his particular social views are unacceptable." This is certainly true - Pastor Palmer was an enthusiastic supporter of slavery. In 1860 he preached an influential sermon in which he claimed that “the abolition spirit is undeniably atheistic” and that the character of black people “fits them for dependence and servitude”. I leave it to the reader to decide whether this stops you buying and reading a book that has many undoubted qualities.



Review by Alan Hill  (23/02/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: June 2014
ISBN: 978-1-848-71410-6
Hardback
Price: £9.50

Francis of Rome & Francis Of Assisi

- A New Springtime For The Church

by Leonardo Boff


As a lapsed catholic this book was a pleasure to read. I found myself nodding my head at much of what Boff, a theologian, professor and former Franciscan, had to say on the catholic church of old.

He speaks honestly about the difficulties of the modern church and why its flock was and is fleeing. And then he talks about Francis of Rome, a pope aligned with the teachings of Francis of Assisi in more than just name, a pope I myself has said could tempt me back to the Catholic Church.

This is an insightful, thought provoking and intelligent book looking at the ministry of Pope Francis and the future of the church under him. This book doesn’t condemn the catholic church but seeks to show that by looking at its flaws and faults with open eyes, we can in fact heal it and bring back its flock.

I read this book with great respect for its honesty and its inspiration for the future but most of all I read this book with hope for the new springtime in the church.



Review by Allison Carroll  (06/02/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 978-1-626-98083-9
Paperback
Price: £11.99

Pope Francis

- Life And Revolution

by Elisabetta Pique


Written in an engaging style that draws you into the life of Pope Francis, we meet Jorge Bergoglio first through someone that knows him and has great respect for him and can see clearly how it is that Pope Francis has come to be such an amazing revolutionary Pope and is able to highlight for us his passion and character.

Yes there are now plenty of books on Pope Francis, but this one is a lovely engaging one that really manages to convey his personality (or at least what I assume it is given I've never had the privilige of personally meeting him), his attitiude, humility, keeness of thought and courage of conviction in a way that is a joy to read. This is not just basic fact and analysis - though both are there, and the analysis is keen at points - but is rather an attempt to show the real man behind the pontifical title and work.

It is 306 pages of tight, dense, small print - so it is surprisingly detailed and yet highly readable in style. I can honestly say I found it enjoyable, informative and interesting, and I would recommend it to others that want to know more about Pope Francis' background, agenda's and views. 

The only problem with this book though is the print, as mentioned above it is very small, I expect the size of the print though was to keep the page size down, however if you have any sort of sight problems you will likely need a page magnifier to make for a more comfortable read. With a magnifier in hand though the book will be worth the read.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (27/01/15)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 02 January 2015
ISBN: 978-0-232-53164-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Christ's Glorious Achievements



by C H Spurgeon


This is a glorious book on a glorious subject. The prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) outlines seven great achievements that Jesus Christ won for us.

Christ, he explains, is the end of the law, the conqueror of Satan, the overcomer of the world, the maker of all things new, the spoiler of principalities and powers, the destroyer of death and the seeker and saviour of the lost.

The book is full to the brim with Christ. His heart overflows as he seeks to magnify his work for us. As you read you will find yourself taught, challenged, comforted and encouraged as you read.

If you have never read any of Spurgeon’s sermons then this is a wonderful place to start. Spurgeon never short changes you, he never under feeds you, and he always points you to Christ.

In his last sermon preached from the pulpit he said “It is heaven to serve Jesus. I am the recruiting sergeant and I would fain find a few recruits at this moment.” This book will show you the depth and height of your Saviour’s love for you and inspire you to tell others about Christ. Buy it, read it; you will not be disappointed.



Review by Alan Hill  (08/09/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: April 2014
ISBN: 978-1-848-71398-7
Paperback
Price: £6.00

None But Jesus



by John Flavel


John Flavel was a 17th century puritan preacher and writer. This small book consists of nearly 400 brief extracts from his works. It is a wonderful hors d’oeuvres—full of tasty titbits. To whet your appetite here are some quotes:

How soon would faith freeze without a cross? Bear your cross therefore with joy.

If I am the Lord’s, then my time, my talents, and all that I have are his.

Some providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards.

Trails are the highway to assurance.

The law wounds, the gospel cures.

Here is a book to help you redeem your time. It is small enough to slip into your pocket and the quotes are brief enough to memorise.

I also hope that reading this book will encourage people to want to enjoy the main course and buy John Flavel’s books, many of which have been reprinted by the same publisher.

Highly recommended.



Review by Alan Hill  (05/09/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: April 2014
ISBN: 978-1-848-71407-6
Paperback
Price: £3.99

Pleading For A Reformation Vision

- The Life And Selected Writings of William Childs Robinson

by David B Calhoun


Dr. William Robinson was a minister and theologian whose life spanned most of the 20th century. He was a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary from 1926 to 1982.

As a staunch believer in the doctrines of grace as set out in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Dr Robinson fought a long but ultimately unsuccessful battle to maintain the doctrinal purity of his denomination and seminary. As such his aim was to be faithful, not popular.

This book by David Calhoun is in two halves. The first half is a biography. We see a man who loved the truth, loved the Saviour and loved to teach both. He evidently was held in high regard by his students and fellow lecturers.

The second half is a series of selections from his published writings. Here we find a man who wrote deeply, precisely and with a passion for the Word of God. Subjects covered include 'justification by faith', 'the Saviour of sinners', and the joy of the Lord'.

William Robinson was a Daniel of his day - remaining true to God in difficult times. For this reason alone this book is worth reading. But you will also find your mind stretched and your spiritual horizons widened as you read excerpts from one of the 20th century's most faithful theologians.



Review by Alan Hill  (16/07/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-848-71356-7
Hardback
Price: £15.50

Rowan's Rule

- The Biography of the Archbishop (Fully Revised)

by Rupert Shortt


With this fully revised and updated edition Rupert Shortt should be commended for his work in writing this biography of the complex, thoughtful and deeply spiritual man that is Rowan Williams.
He has managed to highlight the major factors in Rowan Williams’ life which helped to form the man that he is today without facing the reader with too long a catalogue of early events.
He treats the highs and lows of a career which has faced its share of conflict and difficulty with equal honesty. This is certainly not a defence of the Archbishop’s decisions which have raised opposition and criticism but is a clear, honest appraisal of the thinking behind those decisions.
At the end we are left with a clearer understanding of not just the man but also of the situations and complexities of the modern church which he is grappling with on a daily basis.
Not the easiest of reads but one well worth persevering with for the insights it gives.

Review by John Theaker  (15/07/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: 17 July 2014
ISBN: 978-1-444-78743-6
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Evangelical Holiness

- And Other Addresses

by Iain H Murray


This book consists of five recent addresses given by Iain Murray the veteran preacher and co-founder of Banner of Truth. The messages cover a wide range of issues: evangelical holiness, the Bible, apostasy, controversy and the fourth commandment.

Mr Murray shows in each message how important the subject is and carefully and clearly teaches using God's word as his bedrock. Mr. Murray's writing is enhanced by many interesting quotes from past worthies and cross references to other works.

Mr Murray's writing encourages the reader to be a thinking Christian, discerning the signs of the times. As a good historian he not only educates us about the past but applies to the present. As a good preacher he not only teaches us but also challenges us. As a good author he is not only clear but is also profound.

This is a timely and important book that deserves to be widely read. Highly recommended.



Review by Alan Hill  (04/06/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-848-71319-2
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Billy Graham

- A Life In Pictures

by ken Garfield


This book has some wonderful pictures spanning the many decades that Billy Graham has worked to spread and share the Gospel. It also has a great, but simple, synopsis of Billy Grahams life and work. Combined together that very much gives it the feel of a tribute book.

For anyone wanting to know a little about Billy Graham or who wants a timeline of the places he visited—one of the sections found at the back of the book gives a run of the decades, and then breaks down into the years to list the places he travelled—the presidents throughout his ministry and his interaction with them, the books he has written, stars he has shared the stage with, and a simple overview of the work he has done then this wouldn't at all be a bad place to start.

It's definitely a tribute book, but it's one with some interesting sections and unusual focuses, as well as some very nice pictures.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Gazelle Books
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-572-43581-0
A4 Paperback
Price: £16.99

Silhouettes And Skeletons

- Charles Simeon of Cambridge

by John Benton, Julia Cameron, Michael Rees


This little booklet introduces the reader to the life, ministry and legacy of Charles Simeon, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge from 1782 to 1836.

The 13 sections cover such subjects as his famous sermon outlines, his meeting with John Wesley, and his connection with Henry Martin. The book has a map of Cambridge, a timeline of his life, extensive footnotes, and suggestions for further reading.

The most unusual feature of this book is that it comes with a copy of eight silhouettes of Charles Simeon drawn by the celebrated artist Augustin Edouart. These bring to life the preaching style of this remarkable man of God.

This book serves as a helpful and informative introduction to one of the great preachers of the early 19th century.



Review by Alan Hill  (25/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Alban Books Ltd
Published: September 2013
ISBN: 978-1-899-46414-2
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Amazing Grace

- William Wilberforce And The Heroic Campaign To End Slavery

by Eric Metaxas


This is a fascinating and enlightening new biography of William Wilberforce, best known for his ultimately successful fight to make the slave trade and slavery illegal.

Eric Metaxas shows that Wilberforce achieved something very few in history have managed—he changed the whole of civilised society’s attitude. Although there is still slavery today, no government and no society believes slavery is right. The exact opposite was the case when Wilberforce began his campaign at the end of the 18th century.

We find at the centre of Wilberforce’s life was his Saviour, the Lord Jesus. We see faith in action. He sacrificed his own political ambitions and spent much of his fortune to improve the lot of his fellow man and society.

Anyone considering entering politics should read this book. Anyone wanting to understand how their faith should affect their life should read this book. In fact everyone should read this book. It will challenge and inspire you to think: What does the Lord want me to do?



Review by Alan Hill  (03/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-780-78304-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

A Life-Giving Way

- A Contemplative Commentray On The Rule Of St Benedict

by Esther De Waal


A new edition of what is probably considered and rightly held by many to be the classic modern commentary on The Rule of St Benedict.

De Waal first wrote this book in 1995, and as with most things written by her it is both insightful, fresh and in depth, yet easy to read and understand—something so very necessary for those newly encountering The Rule of St Benedict.

This edition is a an oversized paperback with the second edition text - sadly this does mean the typescript is somewhat blurry in parts. However, to be fair having an original copy of the second edition it is true to say that this copy of it is in keeping with that!.

That said, it would have been nice, given the oversizing (230mm tall!) of this book, and price, had time been taken to reset it in a slightly larger print instead of leaving 1 inch margins around the edges.

Now I do accept that those margins may be handy for those making a study of The Rule, but I think on the whole a smaller sized book or larger sized print would have been much more helpful.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (29/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: December 2013
ISBN: 978-1-848-25562-3
Paperback
Price: £16.99

Letters To London

- Bonhoeffer's Previously Unpublished Correspondence With Ernst Cromwell, 1935-6

by Deitrich Bonhoeffer


Ernest Cromwell, now in his 90's, was a young teenager when his family fled from Nazi Germany—first, briefly, to France and then to England. They settled in London in May 1934. Ernst's mother was keen that he should be confirmed and asked Dietrich Bonhoeffer to prepare him for confirmation.

One of the joys of this book is the transcript of a recent interview with Ernest Cromwell (he changed his name from Ernst to Ernest in 1941) as he reaches back in his memory to those distant days. When asked about his confirmation classes and how he and Bonhoeffer related to each other he said 'Oh, he would just, we would just read the Bible.'

During a recent refurbishment of the family home Ernest's son discovered twelve letters written by Bonhoeffer to Ernst and the family between March 1935 and March 1936. These letters take up less than a quarter of this book but the editors have provided interesting background information and a thought-provoking afterword, as well as the interview with Ernest.

As a Bonhoeffer lover I enjoyed this book and gained some insight into Bonhoeffer's pastoral heart as he tried to nurture the seeds of Christian faith in the young Ernst.



Review by Jackie Rowe  (08/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: September 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-06669-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Road To Daybreak

- A Spiritual Journey

by Henri J. M. Nowen


This is the story of Nouwen and L'Arche. It is the start of a romance, a journey that would ultimately change Henri Nouwen at a base level and cause him to find new meaning, insight and beauty in the most profound way. And in turn, to then go forward and share that insight and understanding in a life made new and in a faith changed that would in turn change many other peoples lives too.

Beautifully and honestly written—as are all Nouwens works—this series of diary entries capture for us the revelation of faith and change, the joy and even heartache of finding a new vocation, the reality of dealing with one's own bias and supposition and finding in that breakdown a miracle of insight.

If you never read another book by Nouwen then read this one, if you have ever struggled with the idea of disability then read this book, if vocation—or the duality of work and spirituality—is a struggle you are dealing with and you feel somewhat alone, then I would wholly suggest you read this book too.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/12/13)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0-232-53026-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Gifts of the Holy Spirit



by Denis the Carthusian (translated by Ide M Ni Riain)


Denis the Carthusian was a Catholic theologian and prolific writer of the 15th century. This book is a translation of four tracts that he wrote based on the seven gifts of the Spirit that are found in Isaiah 11:1-3 - wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, godliness and fear.

Denis was a child of his times lending almost as much weight to the writings of the Church Fathers as to the Scriptures. In fact this book could be called a summary of the teaching of the Church Fathers. There is a great deal of discussion about the difference between virtues and gifts. Some parts of the book are repetitive and dry - it is difficult to see the point of what he is saying. However, what shines through is a deep personal faith and a desire to have a character that is pleasing to God.

This book shows that even in the midst of the superstition and ungodliness that characterised the Catholic Church in the 15th Century there were those seeking the truth. It is refreshing to read someone who knew the Scriptures well. Even though his conclusions are off centre, his heart is in the right place. This book can be read with profit.



Review by Alan Hill  (07/10/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-1-856-07856-6
Hardback
Price: £20.99

Saint Augustine of Hippo

- An Intellectual Biography

by Miles Hollingsworth


Some idea of the scale of the task that Mr Hollingsworth set himself in this book, is to be gained from the useful tabulation of St Augustine's works which the author provides. Some 116 titles are listed: and a brief look at one of the volumes in a series that aims to provide accessible versions of the saint's works, reveals that his controversial works on Manichaeism and Donatism alone run to some six hundred, double columned pages! To try to impose one's own order and structure on such an out-put is well nigh impossible, but Mr Hollingsworth makes a very valiant and stimulating attempt to at least give an outline of the saint's thought. Whether Saint Augustine's intellectual development can ever be adequately traced, and in so doing, produce a 'biography' of his thinking, is a very tall order indeed. The author deserves the reader's thanks for trying.

Review by Ian Gibbs  (16/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 06 June 2013
ISBN: 978-1-441-17372-0
Hardback
Price: £20.00

Thomas Merton The Exquisite Risk of Love

- The Chronicle of a Monastic Romance

by Robert Waldron


Robert Waldron describes the six month romance between Thomas Merton, the renowned 51 year old writer on spiritual matters and the 25 year old woman who nursed him through spinal surgery in 1966 and whom he calls only M. Waldron honours that discretion, though other websites identify M as Margie Smith. The focus of this book is on Merton's Eighteen Poems, helpfully unpacked by Waldron as love poems. He also draws on Merton's unexpurgated journal, Learning to Love, Volume 6, 1966-1967. And the risk? Merton was bound to take chances in his phone calls to M and their clandestine meetings. His global fame rested on his being a monk, yet here he was defying the monastic rule, to which he had committed himself. Still, this experience of love, says Waldron, brought about "a tremendous sea change" in Merton's writing. Prior to it, Merton himself admits that what he wrote was "to dogmatic, too much a list of things one had to obey and do". But his love poems after meeting M show Merton, "at his best, at his most vulnerable, at his most human (Waldron's words). "Although he is caught in an emotional dilemma, which is in many ways tearing him apart, he is paradoxically becoming a more whole human being." It really couldn't last and Merton finally reached an agreement with his Abbot to end the relationship. I found this book riveting in what it says about a side of Thomas Merton's life that I knew nothing about, and in explaining what his poems meant. Did love conquer all? It may have led to a new depth of wholeness in Merton, but Waldron concludes by saying, "in the 'sacred game of love', the winner is not M, not Merton, but Abbot James Fox, who was the true winner in what Merton, perhaps cynically, came to call the crap game of love."

Review by Barry Vendy  (05/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-232-52924-1
Paperback
Price: £12.99

John Bunyan

- The People's Pilgrim

by Peter Morden


Late 17th century England was not a safe place for Nonconformist Christians. Discriminatory laws and persecution weighed heavily upon individuals and congregations. John Bunyan spent 12 years in Bedford jail from 1660 to 1672, as what we would probably call 'a prisoner of conscience', imprisoned on account of his faith, with another, shorter jail term to follow, in 1677. But it was while he was locked up there that he wrote Pilgrim's Progress, one of the acknowledged classics in the English language, and the world's second most printed book (second only to the Bible). Peter Morden brings this amazing man, tinker, preacher, pastor and author, to life, including Bunyan's tortuous coming to faith, and his spiritual battles as a Christian. He guides us most helpfully through the six scenes of Pilgrim's Progress, and also introduces us to Bunyan's less well-known books. Each chapter ends with "Going Further"ť, in which Peter Morden reflects some more on Bunyan's message, often from a doctrinal and theological point of view. Then the final section of each chapter is headed "Your Own Journey"ť, and explores what it means to be pilgrims ourselves. The reader will gain great benefit from studying this, as it reflects some of the author's own "questions and struggles". He thanks God for "the amazing peace and strength" He gave, as the writing of the book coincided with his wife's serious illness. I recommend this excellent, beautifully produced book. But most importantly, I hope it will lead you to read Pilgrim's Progressť, if possible in a somewhat modernised version.

Review by Barry Vendy  (17/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-853-45836-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Zachary Macaulay

- Bitesize Biographies

by Faith Cook


What a story! What a life! Zachary Macaulay is a largely unknown and forgotten character but, perhaps, the key figure in the abolition of the slave trade. Faith Cook brings us the exciting and inspirational story of this man who was born in the Manse at Inverary, one of John and Margaret Macaulay's twelve children. He led a rebelliously youthful life but went to Jamaica as a bookkeeper at the age of sixteen and rapidly rose to become an estate manager. There, confronted with the cruelty, indignity and horrors of slavery he became one of the leading protagonists, together with the Clapham Sect (in particular William Wilberforce and Henry Thornton) for its abolition. He became Governor of Sierra Leone and, for fourteen years, editor of the Christian Observer. On his death in 1838 he was honoured with a bust in Westminster Abbey. He was a great Christian philanthropist, a man of quiet, dignified determination, and a devoted husband and father. His son became a member of Parliament and his grandson, Lord Macaulay, is remembered as a famous British historian. Faith Cook has elevated Zachary Macaulay from relative obscurity and provided a well-written account of a truly inspirational life.

Review by Graham Wise  (17/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-34784-3
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Festo Kivengere (Bitesize Biographies)



by Frank Retief


Bishop Festo Kivengere was one of the greatest African Christian leaders of the 20th century. Here is a story of the man who loved Christ and loved to preach the cross. Born in 1919, he lived through and was part of the revivals that swept Uganda in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Eventually he became an Anglican bishop and an internationally known preacher.

This biography summarises the key points in Bishop Kivengere's life with many quotes from his official biography and those who were close to him. The author takes time to stand back and review his actions and is not afraid to criticise. We learn about the dangers of excess in revival. We see a man struggling to maintain balance between family life, work life and evangelism. We see a man who believed in the Keswick higher life teaching and we see the effect this has on his ministry and the church.

Bishop Kivengere also lived through the turbulent political times that Uganda experienced not the least being the wicked rule of Idi Amin. His experience helps us to understand the pressures and difficult decisions that Christian leaders have to take in such situations.

Those who have a love for the continent of Africa will find this book especially interesting.

Review by Alan Hill  (03/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-34851-2
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Travel with Jonathan Edwards

- A God centered life, an enduring legacy

by Michael Haykin with Ron Baines


This is another in the Travel with series of biographies produced by Day One. Jonathan Edwards is regarded as one of the leading theologians of the 18th century. Many of his books are still in print. But he was also a faithful pastor who witnessed true revival, a zealous missionary who took the Gospel to Native Americans, and a loving husband and father to eleven children.

The eight chapters go through his life chronologically, identifying places in the USA associated with his life. There are helpful maps and information about opening times of churches and museums.

The whole book is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of colour photos. This book is an excellent introduction to the life of Jonathan Edwards and even if you are never able to visit the sites you will learn a great deal about this important Christian.

Review by Alan Hill  (03/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-846-25390-4
Paperback
Price: £10.00

C S Lewis: A Life



by Alister McGrath


McGrath's account of Lewis offers much that is fresh and new. It captures him in his eccentricities, abilities, strengths and perplexities! Fifty years after his death there is meaning and helpfulness in this great new biography.

A communicant in the Church of England, Lewis was playfully orthodox but not specifically evangelical in theological or spiritual emphasis. His closest lifelong friends were a homosexual Unitarian, Greeves and a traditionalist Roman Catholic, Tolkien. His formation, thought-life and legacy were accompanied by many a tankard of beer and prolific smoking. So for some legalists, Lewis is regrettably considered a heretic.

His undeniable Christological apologetic and literary imagination rooted in humanity's struggles and brilliance, are wonderfully described here. The detail, drama, depth and discretion of Lewis' marriage to Joy Davidman are some of my many unexpectedly favourite parts of this work. Edgy perspectives about Irish nuns, alcohol consumption and unresolved thinking previously undeclared, all get airtime here.

There is meaning, wisdom, beauty and much understanding made possible throughout. There is a wholeness, complexity and delight to the Lewis that we meet in this majestic work. Maverick, gutsy talent oozes from this title.

Whatever you may think of C S Lewis as a children's author or a scholar, his importance to contemporary Christianity is undeniable. The wisdom of Lewis is clear, his apologetics are searing and his fiction a powerful glimpse of another world. The thread of Jesus is clear, the talents of Lewis undeniable and an invitation to live distinctively is winsomely understated throughout.

Alistair McGrath's biography of C S Lewis is one of the most beautiful volumes ever held. Photos, research, insight and challenge are all powerfully combined. You will feel yourself to be all the more in the company of the legend. This is a memorable 400 page masterpiece.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (23/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-74552-8
Hardback
Price: £20.00

Dewi Sant - Saint David

- Patron of Wales

by J B Midgley


Barry Midgley gives us a clear and simple account, from a Catholic perspective, of the life and achievements of Saint David, Patron of Wales, who died in 589 AD (or possibly 604). After briefly discussing the nature of patriotism, which he carefully distinguishes from any kind of exaggerated nationalism, Midgley puts the life of Saint David into the context of evangelisation in Europe, and Celtic spirituality in the 5th and 6th centuries. Among other things, we read of his establishment of St Andrew's Monastery, on the site of what is now St David's Cathedral. It was only after his death that the name of the monastery was changed to Saint David's. Midgley records David's consecration as Archbishop, though comments that this may have been simply an honorary title. Nonetheless, there is no doubting the reverence with which David was viewed, a mark of which was the devotional cult that came to surround him. I sensed, on the part of Barry Midgley himself, real warmth for his subject, and his little book is informative and helpful.

Review by Barry Vendy  (20/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Gracewing
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-44758-1
Paperback
Price: £6.99

John Stott: Pastor, Leader, Friend (The Didaskoo Files)



by Chris Wright


This booklet is an appreciation of the life and work of John Stott, the well-known Anglican evangelical who died in 2011. There are a dozen contributors that reflect the extensive influence that John Stott had on the evangelical scene in Britain and abroad. The common theme that comes out is of a gracious, humble man who was dedicated to teaching the word of God.

All the contributors write in fulsome praise of John Stott the man and his work with no hint of criticism. No reference is made to the controversial aspects of his doctrinal and ecumenical position that made it difficult for many non-conformist evangelicals to work with him or to heartily recommend his books.

Those who think John Stott was the one of the greatest leaders of the evangelical church in the 20th century will find much to confirm their view. Those who wish to have a more balanced view about his contribution will need to look elsewhere.

Review by Alan Hill  (13/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hendrickson from Alban Books
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-598-56997-1
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £2.99

A Taste of Hildegard



by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard


For me Hildegard Von Bingen and Elizabeth Ruth Obbard just automatically go together - Obbard's beautifully simple line drawings of the nun-contemplative are the essential companion in my mind to the rich and beautiful complexity that is Hildegard's mysticism and works.

In this little primer A Taste of Hildegard published to celebrate Hildegard being declared a Doctor of the Church we find a selection of passages from Hildegard's short work Scivias (scivias meaning 'know the Way') that have been chosen and illustrated by Obbard. These passages demonstrate her visions and mysticism well with their focus being on salvation. There is also a short and gentle overview at the beginning of the book on Hildegard and a mention of the other women Doctors of the Church.

This really is a lovely little primer and at only £5.95 it really does make for a very accessible introduction to Hildegard, or a lovely addition to any collection for those who already have a love of her work.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: New City
Published: 13 December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-905-03917-3
Paperback
Price: £5.95

A conservative at heart?

- The Political and Social Thought of John Henry Newman

by Stephen Kelly


Blessed John Henry Newman's literary output was enormous. As the author explains, Newman published over forty books, his 20,000 letters and diaries have been gathered into thirty-two published volumes, and there remain some 2,400+ unpublished items from his time in Dublin. Ample material the observer might think, to compile a definitive view of every aspect of Newman's thought. Not so, it seems, in regard to his political and social ideas and allegiances. Kelly has done Newman scholarship a good service in trying to reduce this material to some sort of order, and his chapters on some of the great issues of the day: Irish nationalism, church-state relations, the constitution for example, help to put Newman's thought into context. But the man himself, in these areas in particular, still seems to elude us.

Review by Ian Gibbs  (17/12/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: July 2012
ISBN: 978-1-856-07785-9
Hardback
Price: £16.99

Matthew Henry



by Philip H Eveson


The name of Matthew Henry will always be associated with his famous commentary on the complete Bible which is still in use 3 centuries later. Few people, however, know anything about Henry himself. I confess that until I read this biography, in the Bitesize Biography series (with which I am otherwise unfamiliar), by Eveson, that was true for me too. Henry was born near Wrexham in 1662, the year of the Act of Uniformity (also known as the Great Ejection) when many dissenting (non-conformist) ministers were put out of their churches. This was the fate of Matthew's father Philip, of whom we are told quite a bit. Matthew was converted to Christ at the age of 10. "He was grateful that the principle of religion had been instilled in him from his earliest days and that he had the gift of prayer …" (pp.47,48). (His other work which is still in print is A Method for Prayer.) He ministered for 25 years in Chester and for 2 years in Hackney until his death at the age of 51 in 1714. I got the impression that life expectancy in those times must have been much lower than today, with many children dying in infancy. Matthew had more than his fair share of loss and grief, it seems. Apart from what we learn about the man, the book gives insight into a period of history when there was "sustained official persecution" of "Christians who were not prepared to submit ... to Anglican worship and organisation" (Introduction pp.13,14).

Review by Brian Kerr  (27/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: 21 September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-34799-7
Paperback
Price: £5.99

A Blueprint for Revival

- Lessons from the life of John Wesley

by Mark Williamson


This is a new biography of John Wesley, subtitled Lessons from the life of John Wesley. He claims that Wesley changed the face of a nation and had a strong impact on the life of the Church. He describes Wesley's upbringing in a family of dissenters, his life at boarding school, his lecturing at Oxford, his founding of Methodism and his missionary work among the native Americans of Georgia. He was the innovator of open-air preaching and travelled extensively throughout Great Britain, developing Methodism into a national movement. He had turbulent relationships with two women who were subservient to his overpowering zeal to travel and preach. He died at the age of eighty-eight, having spent fifty-three years travelling to preach and teach the word of God. If only one book on John Wesley will be read, this is the one. In it Williamson identifies and expatiates on the key themes of the life of this remarkable man together with extensive excerpts from his letters and journals.

Review by John Irvine  (21/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-850-78962-8
Paperback
Price: £7.99

John Henry Newman

- Spiritual Writings

by Ed. John T. Ford


A brilliant beginners guide to John Henry Newman. These selected spiritual writings from Newman’s vast corpus are pacey, powerful and provocative! Like many of the reformers (within and beyond Anglicanism) he was a defender of Protestant principles so that his reception into the Catholic Church is all the more remarkable. During his lifetime, he became a cardinal. A century after his death, and in our own time, Newman was declared a saint by Pope Benedict XVI in autumn of 2010.
This monograph could serve as an excellent text for an undergraduate course on Newman’s theology or for a general survey of spirituality. What makes the book so attractive for such use is the way in which it blends original source material with excellent commentary. Newman is among a handful of figures of the nineteenth century whose influence today remains broad and ongoing. This traces one of Catholicism’s true giants. Dynamic, insightful goodness!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (22/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-570-75954-3
Paperback
Price: £14.99

J.I.Packer and the Evangelical Future

- The Impact of His Life and Thought

Edited by Timothy George


This laudatory tribute to The Rev. J.I.Packer can seem rather overwhelming at times; even Packer’s bibliography runs to forty-four pages, and encompasses fifty-six years of writing. Trying to assess such an output is a daunting task indeed. There are positives to emphasise of course. Packer’s interest in, and advocacy of ‘the Puritans’ is a lasting legacy and benefit for the churches. His Evangelicalism will be heartily welcomed by some, and given serious respect and consideration by others who do not share his views. What is not so agreeable is his self-assured rejection of so much that many Christians hold dear and aspire to. For example he rejects reunion with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches by Protestants as ‘impossible’ (p184) This is not the view of his own Church, or of others for that matter.

Review by Ian Gibbs  (18/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Baker Academic imprint of Baker Publishing from SPCK
Published: 09 September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-801-03387-2
Paperback
Price: £12.99

The Beauty of Holiness

- The Caroline Divines and Their Writings

by Benjamin Guyer


From the quality of their works, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Caroline Divines lived in a golden age for the Church of England. The age was in fact one of extreme peril, difficulty and division for the Church. This anthology gives a flavour of the riches and diversity of Anglican writing in the mid-seventeenth century, and will supply surprises and discoveries for the enquirer. The author’s organisation of extracts is a stimulating one, covering in part the history of the times, liturgical developments and progress in ethical thought (an especially important fruit of the Caroline’s endeavours) amongst many other topics.

Review by Ian Gibbs  (16/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 29 February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25098-7
Paperback
Price: £19.99

The Pope and I

- How the Lifelong Friendship Between a Polish Jew and Pope John Paul II Advanced The Cause of Jewish-Christian Relations

by Jerzy Kluger


Read this remarkable autobiography as testimony to a very special friendship across ancient religious boundaries. Read it also for its account of the turmoil in Middle Eastern affairs in recent years.
Jerzy Kluger (who died in 2011), a Polish Jew, tells of his childhood friendship in Wadowice with near contemporary Karol Wojtyla, later to be Pope John Paul II (whom he would always call ‘Lolek’). Jerzy and his father survived the war, though many of his family died at Auschwitz. He describes the emotions aroused by his return to Wadowice in 1989, and his visit to Auschwitz. During the war, after a period in a Russian prison camp, he served with the Allied forces. It was in the 1960s that he met up again with Wojtyla, who was then Archbishop of Krakow. In 1978, newspaper headlines read something like, ‘The Polish Pope grants his first audience to a Jew’. Their friendship flourished. They would often eat and talk together, and the Pope also got to know Jerzy’s wife and family. Jerzy would play an important role in Jewish affairs throughout John Paul II’s papacy and in relations between the Vatican and Israel.
We read, along with many other significant matters, about the Pope’s visits to Poland and Auschwitz in 1979, to Poland again more than once before 1999, and to the Great Synagogue of Rome in 1986. We read of the attempt on his life in 1981, and the long-lasting furore concerning the establishment of a convent in an abandoned warehouse for the Zyklon-B gas at Auschwitz in 1985, and the planting of many crosses at the camp. Then came the controversies surrounding Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe and Kurt Waldheim.
Finally came the papal visit to Israel in 2000, where Jerzy watched his friend, his ‘beloved Lolek’ placing between the stones of the Wailing Wall a piece of paper bearing the words, ‘God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring Your name to the nations. We are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of Yours to suffer and, asking Your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant. Jerusalem, 26 March 2000. Joannes Paulus II.’
I strongly recommend this book.

Review by Barry Vendy  (26/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: 01 April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-626-98009-9
Paperback
Price: £14.99

Mother, Sister, Daughters

- Standing On Their Shoulders

by Edwina Gateley & Sandra Mattucci


An inspiring portrayal of some of the most remarkable women of all time. Edwina Gateley and Sandra Mattucci’s portrayal includes Hildegard of Bingen and Aung San Suu Kyi; Brigid of Kildare and the heroic Rachel Corrie who gave her life for the people of Palestine in 2003. There is a model here for every woman or man seeking inspiration in their own lives. The brief account of each woman is complemented by poetry which celebrates her life and achievement. These are women who made the world a better place – they are sources of hope for each one of us.

Review by Teresa De Bertodano  (10/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-570-75950-5
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Gandhi – and the Unspeakable

- His Final Experiment With Truth

by James W. Douglass


This book is very readable and could be described as a page turner, although you already know how it ends. The first section of the book deals with Ghandi’s struggle in South Africa and the way in which his beliefs and practices were sharpened. Douglass demonstrates that Ghandi’s experience in South Africa held both the germ of his success in India as well as his eventual assassination. The second section details the struggle for Indian independence, alongside the struggle between Ghandi’s non-violent philosophy and the competing philosophy of violence. Douglass writes; ‘The non-violent vision Ghandi opened up to the country was based on a power his old disciples, India’s new rulers, could not accept, unless they were willing to reject the kind of nation-state handed over to them by the British.’ (p100).
In the third and final section there is a short reflection on Ghandi’s understanding of the cross and the teaching of Jesus.
The issue of non-violence was a fundamental truth that Ghandi believed and practiced, he followed that truth to the point of his death, this is what Douglass refers to as his ‘Final experiment with truth’. This concept of experimenting with truth by following it wherever it leads is profoundly challenging.

Review by John Macaulay  (30/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-570-75963-5
Hardback
Price: £16.99

Travel With Bishop J C Ryle

- Prince of Tract Writers

by Alan Munden


As we have come to expect with this growing series of Travel With flexiback books, the one about J.C.Ryle is packed with information.
Alan Munden, with Day One’s excellent presentation, has fitted into this slim book, suitable for slipping into a pocket or handbag, a very full biography of the Bishop from childhood to his death. This is accompanied by short biographies of his contemporaries, facts about the churches he served and the places he lived in, sketch maps and other useful information to help travellers. Abundantly illustrated throughout it ends with the creation of the new diocese of Liverpool and his consecration as the first Bishop there, a timeline of his life and a list of the churches consecrated within his diocese during his episcopate.
He wrote so many tracts and books that I am surprised to find that we have not reviewed any of them on this site. Quite a few are still available, as his wisdom is timeless. Perhaps we can rectify that.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (18/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-846-25327-0
Flexiback

God Truly Worshipped

- Thomas Cranmer and His Writing

Edited by Jonathan Dean


This book is not 'easy reading' but it totally gripped and absorbed me from beginning to end. I remembered two things about Thomas Cranmer from my study of church history many years ago: that he was Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII and that he was burnt to death as a heretic at Oxford. Jonathan Dean skilfully uses Cranmer's writings to help us get to know this remarkable man. These writings include not just the liturgy which was the foundation of the two books of Common Prayer of 1549 and 1552 but also some of his homilies, letters and official doctrinal statements. With the help of Jonathan's introduction and his comments throughout the text, I came to understand Cranmer's key role as a reformer and founder of the Church of England, and his influence on Anglican theology and spirituality which continues to this day. His sermons and writings reveal the gradual evolution of his own theology and understanding of the Scriptures and his attempts to bring the basic reformation truths to the 'ordinary ' people throughout the land. Cranmer's last weeks and days were memorably recorded by the martyrologist John Foxe, and quoted in full in the penultimate chapter of the book. Reading about Cranmer's 'degradation' from his archiepiscopal status, his suffering in confinement and then his dramatic renunciation of his recantations, moved me deeply. A book well worth reading.

Review by Jackie Rowe  (13/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 31 March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25048-2
Paperback
Price: £19.99

Saints and Sinners of the Marches



by Michael Tavinor with illustrations by Sandy Elliott


Researching this book was a major undertaking, though Michael Tavinor was well placed as Dean of Hereford to have his ‘ear to the ground’ of that historic yet very much alive region spanning the English/Welsh border. It is a beautifully produced book, something to feel as well as read, but giving a single page to each saint/sinner, it is not a light book. You will even want to keep the dust jacket pristine.
So what of the characters? True Christian, the author makes no judgement, saint or sinner, but gives a short pr&éacute;cis of the life followed by an appropriate perspective, poetic or prose, that informs the life in some way. There are also beautiful drawings for each page that offer visual comment. This is more than just an entertaining coffee-table book, it is a valuable commentary on the life of the Marches which will seem far less remote and uncultured when you have delved and been amazed. The book puts a timely marker down for the Marches, no matter where you live. Thank you, Michael Tavinor.

Review by Paul Scott  (09/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Logaston Press from Gardners Books
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-906-66361-2
Hardback
Price: £20.00

Fr John Fahy

- Radical Republican and Agrarian Activist (1893-1969)

by Jim Madden


Father John Fahy is famous in Ireland as a rebel priest. He had close involvement with the Republican cause and had an affiliation with Sinn Fein. He had particular interest in the perennial ‘land question’, the agrarian disputes and the land-starved smallholders impoverished by the tyranny of the comfortable middle-class landlords, many of them British. Madden knew Fahy well, and his biography is not all unstinted praise. He criticises the priest’s often intemperate and venomous attacks and his occasional xenophobia. This is not only the biography of one man, but an examination of a well-documented and exciting period in Irish history, linking the struggle for land, Catholicism and nationalism.

Review by John Irvine  (07/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: 29 June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-856-07763-7
Paperback
Price: £19.99

The Practical Mystic

- Evelyn Underhill and Her Writings

Edited and introduced by Raymond Chapman


The word ‘mystic’ sends some Christians running in the opposite direction: they are convinced that mysticism is only for ‘high fliers’! But Evelyn Underhill demonstrates that anyone who longs for God can be described as a mystic; she shows us how to start on the journey to come closer to God and how to make gentle progress. She herself was a most practical and down to earth human being - someone to whom no aspect of human experience was foreign. Raymond Chapman’s excellent biographical introduction sets Evelyn Underhill in the context of her time – and demonstrates her relevance to the 21st century.

Review by Teresa De Bertodano  (07/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 31 January 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25128-1
Paperback
Price: £19.99

Christ Set Forth and The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth



by Thomas Goodwin


This is the Christian Heritage edition of two of Goodwin’s treatises. They are preceded here by ‘A primer on Reformed Theology’ by Mark Jones. The latter is valuable in itself and as a pointer to Goodwin’s thought on the person of Jesus Christ. The reader would do well to ponder this very dense ‘essay’, and then to look at the treatises. Goodwin deserves to be better known. ‘He became a close advisor to Oliver Cromwell.....and ministered to him at the time of his death in 1658,’ writes J.I.Packer in his Foreword. Did he minister some of the thoughts and teachings here set forth?

Review by Ian Gibbs  (16/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Heritage imprint of Christian Focus
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-845-50753-4
Paperback
Price: £12.99

The Heart of Christ

- Puritan Paperbacks

by Thomas Goodwin


Puritan Paperbacks which is the series into which this volume fits, may be familiar to some readers, and they will know what to expect from this addition to it, under the imprint of The Banner of Truth Trust. The latter is to be thanked for re-printing the 1861 edition of Goodwin’s treatise. It would have been much improved however by the inclusion of indices. An index of quotations from scripture would have helped in the analysis of Goodwin’s text, so would a subject index. Goodwin’s theme is most surprising and deserves some sort of ‘critical apparatus.’

Review by Ian Gibbs  (16/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-848-71146-4
Paperback
Price: £5.00

Thea's Song

- The Life of Thea Bowman

by Charlene Smith and John Feister


Now available as paperback, ISBN 978-1-570-75962-8, Ł11.99

Thea Bowman was born and grew up in Mississippi during the civil rights era. She joined a convent of white Catholic Sisters in Wisconsin and, in confronting racism, became the most significant woman on the campus of Viterbo College. She engaged in a ministry of music and song which became an inspiration to millions, encouraging them to walk in the love of God rather than the fear of men. Her motto was, “Let me live until I die!” and, sadly, she died in 1990 after a long battle with cancer. This is the story of a Christian lady who fought prejudice, exemplified Christian values and was a radiant example of what can happen to anyone who is willing to let the joy of God lead their life.

Review by Graham Wise  (11/09/10)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: 03 March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-570-75868-3
Hardback
Price: £18.99

Select Letters of John Newton



Edited by Publisher


This is the ‘re-typeset edition’ of the Banner of truth trust’s 1960 edition which has been reprinted a number of times and indicates the importance of this work for the trust and its readership. The letters themselves justify this enthusiasm. Here we have an insight into what Newton saw as his distinctive contribution to the Evangelical Revival of the late eighteenth century. Better remembered perhaps for his hymn writing - he was the joint author of Olney Hymns - in his letters he puts himself into them – ‘when I can get leisure I send my heart by turns’ to his correspondents. Hence their preservation and publication.

Review by Ian Gibbs  (16/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-848-71140-2
Paperback
Price: £6.00

Luther and Calvin: Religious Revolutionaries



by Charlotte Methuen


Martin Luther and John Calvin were two of the world’s most influential religious thinkers who called for reform and revolution in church theology and practice in 16th Century Europe. In Western Europe in 1500 there was effectively no religious choice but by 1600 the world had changed so that different places had different churches where not only the buildings looked different but theology, ideas and practise varied greatly.
Martin Luther and John Calvin were at the centre of this change, which helped sweep away the religious certainties which were in use at the beginning of the century and replaced them with a religion which shaped men’s lives by looking at a world beyond the Holy Catholic Church.
This book, by Charlotte Methuen, who lectures at the University of Glasgow, sets Luther and Calvin in their historical perspective and explains how their theology was shaped. Calvin, a generation after Luther, took the idea of Luther’s Protestantism to new levels and proved inspirational to new generations throughout Europe as well as North America and South Africa.
An excellent introduction to two of Christianity’s most famous and influential theologians.

Review by George Taylor  (14/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Lion
Published: 18 November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-745-95340-3
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Matthew Henry

- His Life and Influence

by Allan Harman


A compelling account of the life of a man whose Spiritual devotion was both challenging and inspiring. Reading how much time he devoted to prayer and the study of Scripture from an early age it is difficult to see how he could also minister to his flock and write his many volumes of exposition. Since his own diaries are missing, much of what is known about him comes from the accounts of friends and family members, but Allan Harman has used what material there is to paint a detailed picture of the man and the difficult era in which he lived – a time when religion and politics had no dividing line and, for a clergyman, failure to conform could be a treasonable offence. The book is rather oddly arranged, with chapters one to ten forming the biography and then separate chapters on Henry as preacher, commentator and writer which include much that is repeated from the first ten. The meat of the remainder could surely have been interleaved into the biography, leaving the chapter showing his influence on Jonathan Edwards, the Wesleys, Whitfield and Spurgeon as a fitting coda. Despite this I found it an enjoyable and enlightening read and don't hesitate to recommend it.

Review by Diane Morrison  (14/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50783-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Hear Me Carefully – John Blanchard



by Marlene Williams


John Blanchard celebrates his eightieth birthday and fifty years in full time Christian ministry in this year of 2012. This book is a very fitting tribute to an internationally acclaimed author, teacher and conference speaker who is still at work.
I had read the Travel with John Blanchard title published by Day One, but that did not spoil my enjoyment of this which just enhanced my awareness of what a remarkable man John Blanchard is.
Details of his early life are described; his marriage and subsequent family, together with his increasing involvement with his local church resulting in his becoming a full time evangelist. In those early days he could never have dreamt how far he would travel during his ministry. Journeys to many parts of the UK, repeated visits to the USA and travels to many other parts of the globe – all briefly recorded here. A fascinating and inspiring biography of an evangelist who has brought so many to Christ.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-852-34785-0
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Ian Fraser

- I’ve Seen Worse

Shared with Ian Cranston


Plus Ł4.00 P+P
Purchase from Ian Cranston, 10 Aitchison Drive, Larbert, FK5 4PB Tel 01324 551759 or iancranston@talktalk.net cheques payable to Ian Cranston

When I agreed to review this book by Ian Cranston about his dear friend Ian Fraser, I had no idea what a fascinating read it was going to be!
A heavy book more suited to reading in a chair than in bed, printed on glossy paper that is a pleasure to handle and which enhances the reading experience.
Ian Cranston has pieced together the reminiscences of Ian Fraser, interspersed with anecdotes from others, and written records of the various places Ian Fraser has served.
What an amazing life Ian Fraser has lead. He is 91 at the time this book is written. By the time I reached the end I was grateful to find Appendix D, ‘A summary of the educational background, career and publications of Ian M. Fraser M.A., B.D., PhD. (Edinburgh University), Ordained minister of the Church of Scotland.’ There is so much detail here and yet the way Ian Cranston has put it all together keeps you reading every page. Ian Fraser’s love for his wife Margaret and the value of her help and support throughout his career is very evident. He spent time as a Pastor in a factory in Fife: was Parish minister in Rosyth: Warden of Scottish Churches House, Dunblane: Executive Secretary of WCC: Dean of Selly Oak Colleges – and that is only part of the story.
If you don’t know Ian Fraser, by the end of this book you will feel as if you do. A feeling of affection and deep respect.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (16/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Author
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 978-0-957-09890-9
Paperback
Price: £10.00(plus P&P)

From the Library of Charles Spurgeon

- Selections From Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey

Compiled by James Stuart Bell


Have you ever thought that you should read some of the writings of great Christians from the past but do not know where to start? Here is the book for you.
The compiler (Mr. James Bell) has chosen 26 authors who he believes heavily influenced the spiritual walk of C H Spurgeon. The book therefore opens with a brief biography of Spurgeon and the eight chapter structure reflects major themes from Spurgeon’s life (such as prayer, evangelism and adversaries).
In all there are over 150 excerpts from over 100 books written by spiritual giants such as Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, John Bunyan and Richard Sibbes. None of the excerpts are more than 2 pages long and the English appears to have been sensitively updated.
This book especially lends itself to be used in daily devotions. Highly recommended.

Review by Alan Hill  (16/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 20 April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20861-4
Hardback
Price: £12.99