The National Catholic Review

Culture

January 2015

  • January 22, 2015

    The old maxim states that you should never judge a book by its cover. But in the case of Sally Ninham’s Ten African Cardinals, the cover lends ample insight into the book’s content. On the front are four miniature snapshots from Africa, mostly of children. On the back cover is a giant image of Sally Ninham herself. Likewise, Ten African Cardinals provides considerable insight into Dr. Ninham’s personal encounter with Africa but considerably less insight into the complex reality of today’s African Catholic Church or the men who lead it.

  • January 22, 2015

    In the past 12 months, at least nine new books in English on the Ten Commandments have been published by Christian and Jewish writers, both biblical scholars and ethicists. One may wonder what makes the renowned biblical scholar and Harvard Old Testament/Hebrew Bible lecturer Michael D. Coogan’s The Ten Commandments different from others.

  • January 22, 2015

    I dare speculate that few religion courses at Catholic universities cover “Pussy Riot’s Theology,” “Nit Grit ’Hood Theology” and the spiritual significance of pop star Lorde’s ubiquitous tune, “Royals.” These themes, however, resonate with students in a course I developed and taught at the University of Detroit Mercy.

  • January 22, 2015

    As numerous books, films and television series in recent years have demonstrated, there is a fascination, both in the scholarly world and among the wider public, with the Tudor period of English history in general and perhaps with the Elizabethan era in particular.

  • January 7, 2015

    The making of a movie like Selma—director Ava DuVernay’s powerful portrayal of the mid-’60s civil rights protests that helped changed the mind of a president and a nation—constitutes that rare thing, the no-lose/no-win situation. When the subject is as near-saintly as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a filmmaker, even if she wanted to, could not escape a certain amount of reflected glory. At the same time, when the subject is as near-saintly as the Rev. Dr.

  • January 7, 2015

    Malcolm X’s ideological journey from the black separatist Nation of Islam to his standing as an independent activist, renewed by a sense of Islam as a global faith, animates this probing, readable book by Saladin Ambar, an assistant professor of political science at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

  • January 7, 2015

    One need not be a Sister of Mercy to appreciate Women of Faith. Historian Mary Beth Frazer Connolly has done extensive archival work to bring to life the work of Mother Catherine McAuley’s “daughters” since their arrival in Chicago in 1846.

  • January 7, 2015

    Why should anyone bother to read 400 pages about the life and the career of a man who died 30 years ago, an unknown second-level officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, even if the book is well researched and well-written? Answering this question requires us to work out some prior questions. This is quite appropriate, since we are dealing with an agency whose stock in trade is the answering of questions, even if the answers are not provided to the general public. The initial easy questions are: 1) Who was Robert Ames?