The National Catholic Review

Books

  • December 8-15, 2014

    The Pacific theater of World War II is often thought of as a forgotten war. But anyone who reads Richard Flanagan’s sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, will not soon forget it.

    Set in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, the story expertly blends fact and fiction as it brings to life a gut-wrenching and soul-changing experience. That is not an exaggeration, and this book is not for the faint of heart.

  • December 8-15, 2014

    After endless news articles, interviews, and collections of the pope’s own words, is there anything new to learn about Pope Francis? The answer, as demonstrated by the sharply conflicting interpretations of his role in the Synod on the Family, is clearly yes.

  • December 1, 2014

    The study of Catholic women religious is “hot.” Academic and non-academic writers, documentary filmmakers and the media are producing and publishing materials in record numbers highlighting the lives and work of American Catholic sisters/nuns. Even funding agencies and foundations are beginning to open their pockets (just slightly) to support academics and independent scholars who are pursuing the many narratives that trace the historical and contemporary...

  • November 24, 2014

    Gerald O’Collins, S.J., has written a delightful memoir on his years in Rome at the Gregorian University. With Rome’s history in mind, he shares a series of personal and touching stories to explain the matrix that generated his theological and spiritual writings. Yet they communicate not only one man’s experience but represent the essences of persons and institutions, what the sociologist Max Weber called “types.” I advise anyone in Rome to get to know a...

  • November 24, 2014

    History happens. In 1960 as John F. Kennedy ran for President, I headed to graduate school to study American political history. J.F.K. enchanted me; after that no president won my heart. Catholicism filtered—sometimes shaped—my judgments about politics and presidents. And, I have to admit, my judgments about politics and presidents sometimes filtered my understanding of faith and my judgments about my church. The dialogue of faith and culture, so beloved by...

  • November 17, 2014

    A friend who sits in the legislature of my home state, Washington, recently told me he was thinking about sponsoring a bill calling for a constitutional convention and asked me what I thought. Although the framers provided for this process to amend our charter of government, throughout American history all attempts to make that happen have failed to garner the requisite support from two-thirds of the states. Most thoughtful observers have feared that this...

  • November 17, 2014

    Do we need another book about F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)? He wrote only four novels and dozens of short stories, a small body of work that has spawned a dozen biographies, countless academic books and articles as well as several films of The Great Gatsby and his other fiction. If this fine interpretation by John Irwin, a lifelong teacher of Fitzgerald in American literature courses at Johns Hopkins, were just another overview, I would say no.

  • November 17, 2014

    These two books have at first sight little in common, other than the fact that they are written by two prominent Jesuit theologians. In Spirituality Seeking Theology, Roger Haight, S.J., attempts to reach behind or beneath established Christian doctrines of creation, incarnation, trinity and eschatology to bring out the original and enduring spiritual meaning and intention of such doctrinal formulations. The book is not, as one might think, an attempt...

  • November 10, 2014

    Simone Campbell, S.S.S., became semi-famous a few years ago, just when the self-identified progressive Catholic movement most needed an articulate, telegenic, activist nun who could “do” 21st-century-style media—especially television—and hold her own in a noisy, partisan realm where irony and mockery often act as news values.

  • November 10, 2014

    Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., has long been known as a major voice in liberation theology in general and in the particular role of education in promoting human liberation. In this present book, whose publication coincides more or less with the 25th anniversary of the violent death of Ellacuría, his Jesuit brothers and their two lay colleagues, he appears with far greater definition than heretofore in English-language publications.