Category: Reviews

Thinking about the universe

A theory of everything (that matters): A short guide to Einstein, Relativity and the Future of Faith by Alister McGrath (Hodder and Stoughton, £14.99) Christopher Moriarty Last year saw the celebration of the centenary of the validation of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. An event of the utmost importance to science, the observations of 1919…

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The meaning of Christmas customs

Christmas Tradition, Truth and the Total Baubles by Nick Page (John Murray Press, £6.99) The contents of this book may seem very familiar to some readers, for every Christmas articles and books appear about the traditions of the Nativity and the events surrounding it. Nick Page, who is an agreeable yet well-informed writer with an amusing…

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Kevin Barry, a legend of the revolution

Yours ‘Til Hell Freezes: A Memoir of Kevin Barry by Síofra O’Donovan (Currach Books, €19.99/£17.99) A century ago Kevin Barry became an icon of the republican movement. The ballads on his life and death were particularly popular among Irish expatriates. One of them even became part of Paul Robeson’s repertoire in the 1930s. His status derived…

Voices of the silent minority

Different and the same: a folk history of the Protestants of independent Ireland Deirdre Nuttall (Eastwood Books/Wordwell, €25) Ian d’Alton This illuminating book is about “the stories of the ‘old’ Protestant communities of independent Ireland and how these stories have justified feelings of belonging, entitlement, estrangement, marginalisation, and more in the context of a State that…

Our turbulent debates on medicine and morals

Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland by Don O’Leary (Eryn Publishers, €18.99/£ 17.99) This book is a historical analysis by historian Don O’Leary of the biomedical controversies played out in Ireland in the time-frame from the 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae to repeal of the Eighth Amendment in 2018. The issues involved were abortion, stem cell research, assisted…

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A Time to Give Thanks

The Journey of the Mayflower: God’s Outlaws, or the Invention of Freedom by Stephen Tomkins (Hodder & Stoughton, £21.99) Today is Thanksgiving Day across the United States, a feast day that rivals Christmas in the minds and memories of its citizens. We have to particularise the United State of America, as Thanksgiving, which derives from the…

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A faith shining in the darkness

O Shining Light: Old English Meditations for Advent and Christmas, introduction and commentary by Jacob and Mamie Riyeff (Gracewing, £9.99) In the Venerable Bede there is a passage where a pagan Saxon king likens the life of an individual to the flight of a small birds through the warm and lighted hall of a Anglo-Saxon home,…

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A place in the Church for the youth of today

Exploring Christus Vivit: Making Room for the Young Church edited by Gerard Gallagher (Veritas, €9.99/£9.12) The promise of the future is in this little book, a collection of thoughts and commentaries edited by Gerard Gallagher, on last year’s apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis Christus Vivit. The hope of creative renewal and continuation is seen by Pope…

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