The National Catholic Review

Books

  • September 14, 2015

    Mia Alvar was born in the Philippines, spent her early childhood in Bahrain and grew up in New York where she lives now. Yet after reading In the Country, her evocative debut story collection, one could argue she has never actually left the Philippines or, put another way, that the country has never left her.

  • September 14, 2015

    John Weafer, first lay director of the Irish bishops’ Council for Research and Development, weaves narrative threads of three generations of diocesan priests, ordained in the 1950s and 60’s, the 70s and 80s, and the 90s and 2000s. Through “conversations with a purpose,” they reflect on their lives from seminary days to the present as curates, parish priests or retirees.

  • September 14, 2015

    Although Margaret A. Farley’s work is widely taught in colleges, many readers first heard of her when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a notification about her book Just Love in 2012. Lucky readers were thus tipped off to one of the most influential theological ethicists of our age, who takes on tough topics—gender, sex, relationships and power—with clear-eyed compassion, in lucid prose.

  • August 31-September 7, 2015

    Masha Gessen has written a thought-provoking and disturbing book about the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and those deemed responsible, the brothers Tamerlan and Jahar Tsarnaev. This topic must have been particularly compelling for her as someone who came to the Boston area from the Soviet Union as a girl and upon adulthood spent 20 years as a journalist covering post-Communist Russia, with special attention to the violence in the Caucasus.

  • August 31-September 7, 2015

    Pope Francis’ announcement that he will canonize the Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra, founder and father president of the mission system of Alta California from 1769 to his death in 1784, has fortuitously coincided with the recent appearance of three biographies of this controversial figure: Steven W.

  • August 31-September 7, 2015

    Preparing to enter the Jesuit novitiate in 1868, Gerard Manley Hopkins famously incinerated the poems he had written up to that point. Hopkins later quipped that “brilliancy does not suit us” (i.e., Jesuits), a lapidary distillation of the tension he and others have seen between deploying one’s talents (particularly artistic talents) and heeding a call to communion with God in religious life.

  • August 17-24, 2015

    The influence of a particular pope lingers on long after that particular pope has died or resigned. The pope most often cited in the documents of Vatican II, for instance, was Pius XII. Similarly the influence of Joseph Ratzinger—Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—will endure far beyond his life time. Reportedly, towards the end of his papacy Benedict considered his theological writings far more important and enduring than whatever he might have been able to...

  • August 17-24, 2015

    Eugene Gladstone O’Neill never wanted for adversity or drama. The neglected offspring of a detached but overbearing father and a sullen, morphine-addicted mother, he was marked in adult life by alcohol-fueled depression, tempestuous serial romances and bouts of misogynistic rage. Yet according to Robert M.

  • August 17-24, 2015

    Thomas Cromwell stands out after Henry VIII himself as the most prominent figure in the Henrician Reformation of the 1530s. Tracy Borman recounts persuasively and engagingly the tale of the meteoric rise of this complex commoner to the highest offices and dominant influence at the court of Henry and his just as meteoric fall from grace and execution.

  • August 3-10, 2015

    Brian Moynahan, a former foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times (in London) and the author of numerous books, including three on the Soviet Union, has written a fine study of the city of Leningrad’s terrible trials from 1934 to 1942 at the hands of two tyrants, Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin.