A Summer Reading List

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A Summer Reading List

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King Solomon wrote “Of making many books there is no end…”.  I am very glad this statement is still true today. I love reading books, both old and new, and usually my desk finds three to five books stacked on the the left side.

I have always had a love for reading. As a kid the summer time was when I loaded up with books and read away the long hot afternoons. When I finished a stack I would strap them onto my bicycle and peddle across town to my local Carnegie Library and get new ones. Dozens of books would be devoured in the course of a summer in between the baseball games and neighborhood adventures of my youth. To this day no better gift can be given to me then that of a book or a gift card to buy one of my choice.

What is on your list of books to read this summer? Here is my offering of a list of current and older books that will  help you keep abreast of today’s news and give you  necessary background to world events. We periodically run a column, “A Page on the World” , in World News and Prophecy that offers a concise review of a book that we feel is important to bring to your attention. It is our way to sort through the maze of books and point you to those that deal with the large issues of the world.

In this letter I offer  you a summer reading list of books I am reading, or have read, from which you can choose something to enrich your understanding of the larger world.

1.A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts.  This book takes it title from the series done by Winston Churchill. Churchill left off at the turn of the twentieth century. Roberts carries the story forward to the present. Roberts is unabashedly pro-America and Britain. He sees the major impact that America and Great Britain have had on the world over the past 250 years. I find his work a significant affirmation of what we know from Bible prophecy about the rise of the descendants of Joseph in the time of the end. Highly recommended.

2. The Last Days of Europe, Walter Laqueur.  This the latest of a number of books showing why Europe is in decline. Laqueur believes Europe will play less of a role in the future because of its declining birth rate and the rise of Muslim immigrants. These are important ideas to understand. I read books like this to keep up with Europe since we write a great deal on the subject.

3.  America Alone, Mark Steyn. Steyn is a prolific writer on world affairs. His book is funny, acerbic and realistic. He too shows the decline of Europe for the same reasons as above. He feels Europe has already succumbed to Islam and America is next, unless it wakes up. He lists demographic decline, the decline of the Western social-democratic state and civilizations exhaustion. These, he  says, are the major forces at work below the surface that will change the world we know.  Steyn is probably the most readable work on this point of view.

4. Religious Literacy , What Every American Needs to Know-and Doesn’t, Stephen Prothero.  I read this book in preparation for a Beyond Today program called, “The Bible’s Challenge to You”. Prothero is a religious studies professor at BostonUniversity. He shows that though the Bible remains the biggest selling book each year most Americans know little about it. Most people are just not reading the book, and have not for a very long time. What I found most interesting was the section on the history of American religion. He lays the blame for religious illiteracy at the feet of all American religion, which long ago abandoned much of what is in the book. The last section of the book includes an especially helpful dictionary of religious literacy.

5. God is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens. Subtitled, “How Religion Poisons Everything”, this book is about atheism written by an atheist. Hitchens is a self-styled “contrarian” journalist. The titles say it all. It is one of many current books on atheism. The “new atheism” is resurgent and militant and is getting some attention these days. I am reading this book in preparation for Beyond Today program to be taped next month. Not a book for everyone, but I feel a need to keep up with what the other side is thinking.

6. The Middle East, Bernard Lewis.  Lewis is the Dean of Middle Eastern scholars. Anything written by him, and there are several books of Islam and the Middle East, is essential. I am reading this in preparation for a trip this fall to Jordan and Israel.

7. The Wine Dark Sea , Patrick O’Brian.  I am picking this book off my shelf where it has languished for a few years. I started reading his maritime novels in 1992 and need to finish the series. If you saw the movie, “Master and Commander” you saw the first cinematic rendering of this masterful tale (the series is one long story, broken into separate novels). The movie with Russel Crow in the role of Captain Jack Aubrey was well done, but the books are better. A break from all the heavy stuff I have to read.

8. The Dangerous Book for Boys , Conn and Hal Iggulden. I discovered this book only recently though it has been out for more than a year. It reminds you a bit of the Boy Scout Handbook. It is full of activities and knowledge that every boy  should know. It is designed to get a father and child working together on a project in the basement or garage or backyard-any where but in front of the television. Want to know how to tie a knot or make the world’s best paper airplane? It is in this book. What are the seven poems every boy should know? Read this list, and the poems, and if you disagree then make your own. Want to learn coin tricks? Right here. The Ten Commandments are even showcased in this book.  I wish I’d had this book when I became a father. This summer both my sons will become fathers. They will each have a copy, courtesy of me.

That’s it for now. I’ll add to it in a few months, perhaps a fall reading list. What is on your list for the summer?  If you have any good suggestions I would love to hear from you.