Category: Books

Life in back row America

Dignity: Seeking respect in back row America by Chris Arnade (Sentinel/Penguin Random House, £20.00) Frank Litton For years, I taught a course introducing Irish politics to US students who came to work as interns in the Dáil and Seanad. Many were surprised to discover how much the people they met knew about US politics. Some told…

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A Christian classic revisited

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis (First published in 1946 by Geoffrey Bless; available in many editions new and second-hand) C.S. Lewis (1898–1963) was described as one of the intellectual giants of the 20th Century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his time. This slim volume – a literary outcome of the…

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An unusual view of Catholic life and culture

Death Comes for the Archbishop a novel by Willa Cather (Virago Press, £8.99/€11.40) Willa Cather’s Catholic classic Death Comes for the Archbishop was recognised from the time of its publication for its excellence. But Ms Cather is an unusual figure in American literature – a prolific author, poet, journalist and schoolteacher –and the romantic flavour of…

Peace-makers are more than blessed, they are saints

Peace-building and Catholic Social Teaching by Theodora Hawksley (University of Notre Dame Press, US$42.00, paperback/US$100.00,hardback; €50.00, paperback/€80.00, hardback) Dr Theodora Hawksley is associated with the Jesuits in Britain and specialises in peace studies, black theologies and other explorations of the essential connections between Catholic social teaching and the realities of the world we live today. This…

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A wary look at the future of work in an era of rapid change

Robots, Ethics and the Future of Jobs by Fr Seán McDonagh SSC, with a foreword by Karlin Lillington (Messenger Publications, €19.95/£18.95) The Russian quasi-mystic and film director Andrei Tarkovsky was reputedly terrified about the implications of robots. He thought The Terminator, though by his own account a mediocre film, pushed “the frontier of cinema as art” for…

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The Kennedy legacy in a long perspective

From Whence I Came: The Kennedy Legacy, Ireland and America edited by Brian Murphy and Donnacha Ó Beacháin (Merrion Press, €19.95/£17.95) Joe Carroll One would think that there is little new to be explored in the Kennedy-Ireland relationship 60 years after John F. Kennedy’s election as the first Catholic President of the United States and its…

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On the path to Rome today

Night’s Bright Darkness by Sally Read (Ignatius Press, £14.99/€18) It’s hard to resist a good conversion story. They have a ready-made narrative to exploit, one typically filled with twists and turns, and the ending is a happy one. When luminous talent is combined with an already pleasing narrative form, it’s bound to entrance. That is exactly…

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That other India: the India of the Princes

A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur by Gayatri Devi with Santha Rama Rau (Rupa & C, New Delhi, 2008; copies of other editions are available second-hand online from €10.00 approximately) These extraordinary memoirs of an eminent Indian princess, who achieved great electoral success in later life, present a fascinating account of India…

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Journeys with a pious purpose

Pilgrimage: Journeys with Meaning by Peter Stanford (Thames & Hudson, £25.00/€30.00 approx.) Peter Stanford, a former editor of The Catholic Herald, is also the author of a long series of books that explore aspects of Christianity from a Catholic point of view which manage to appeal to a wide audience through his skill in making the often…

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