I TYPICALLY READ ABOUT FIFTY BOOKS A YEAR. Most I read completely, but some I skim, reading only selected chapters. That’s what I did with Our Kids by Robert Putnam, professor of sociology at Harvard, which I just returned to my electronic bookshelf. But, this blog is about books that I finished—books that are both fun and informative to enhance your summer reading. I have divided them into four categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, History, and Theology.
The first recommendation is Patriots by James Wesley Rawles. Rawles is a reformed evangelical who lives in Northern Idaho. His books all assume the same scenario. The Western world has imploded under hyperinflation. Chaos has spread and culture has collapsed. Think about the riots in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Portland in the summer of 2020, except that it is now the entire country. Rawles weaves a fascinating story about a group of mostly Christians that take refuge in Boville, ID—just East of Moscow. Far from the maddening crowds they wait out the cultural storm, defend themselves, form alliances with other small groups, and learn to live without conveniences like electricity. When dictatorial powers try to take over the country they form a militia to fight back. The book has a happy ending. Rawles writes well, and because the scenario is all too real, his books have recently populated the New York Times bestseller list.
Liberators by James Wesley Rawles assumes the same scenario but follows a trio making their way to North Idaho from Washington D.C. and an airman and his friends at McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA. who end up forming a resistance cell in British Columbia. This book combines another great plot with a happy ending at Elkins Resort on Priest Lake.
Last, The Rule of Law by Randy Singer is another fun but all-to realistic read. The expression “rule of law” is frequently in the press, but few understand its meaning. This book elucidates that phrase with a story about about Navy Seals, the D.C. Swamp, middle eastern terrorists, the Supreme Court, and corruption at the highest levels of the executive branch. Rule of Law emphasizes the importance of enforcing the “rule of law.” All of our freedoms depend upon this principle. Neither Judy nor I could put it down.
For my birthday last winter my daughter, Ruth, gave me The Falcon Thief, by Joshua Hammer. Another New York Times best-seller, it relates the true story of a man illegally stealing wild Peregrine Falcon eggs from cliff-side aeries, who smuggles them across continents to Middle Eastern Shieks willing to pay for thirty, forty, and even fifty thousand dollars per egg. Like me, you probably didn’t know there was an entire under-world of egg collectors, thiefs, and law enforcement agencies charged to catch them. What drives the thief, how he is caught, and why the eggs matter is the plot line of this fascinating book.
Another birthday present from Ruth’s twin, Pastor Dave, was Matthew Barrett’s book None Greater, The Undomesticated Attributes of God. The subtitle says it all. There is nothing domesticated about God. He is wild and glorious. Barrett’s book contains chapters on God’s infinity, aseity, eternality, immutability, impassabiltiy, etc. Nothing brings peace to troubled times like faith in a really big God, and that is the purpose of this book. Barrett writes not for the professional theologian, but for the layman. You will love it.
J. P. Moreland is a professor of philosophy at Biola in Los Angeles. His book Experiencing Miracles is an important book. If Barrett’s book is about the intellectual greatness of God, Moreland’s is about the experiential greatness of God—miracles, all well substantiated. For example, a Jewish school teacher found out she had cancer in 51 places. A student invited her to a healing prayer meeting at their church. She came twice. They laid hands on her, and nothing happened. But because she felt the people’s love she came a third time. Persistence is a charm. When they laid hands on her she felt something like an electric shock go through her body. A few days later she received a new MRI with every trace of cancer gone. Obviously, she accepted the Messiah as her savior. This book is full of stories like this. It will greatly expand your faith.
Persecution is probably coming to America’s faithful, and These Are The Generations, another story of suffering and miracles, by Eric Foley is good preparation. It is a short oral history of several generations of North Korean Christians, their faithfulness, and God’s rich and lavish provision during very hard times. It is the story of several generations of a North Korean family living out the great commission for fifty years in one of the most hostile environments in the world.
Rebellion by Peter Akroyd is the well-told history of seventeenth-century England. It chronicles the period from the rise of James I in 1602 to England’s Glorious Revolution in 1688. Because I am interested in Puritan history, the English Civil Wars, and Oliver Cromwell, I loved this book. You can’t understand the modern world without reference to seventeenth-century England. From religious freedom to the scientific revolution, to capitalism, this period of English history was the birth of modernity. If you share my passion for this century, buy this book and read it. It has one weakness. The author doesn’t seem to understand the power of religion in people’s lives. I recommend it nevertheless.
The English historian, Paul Johnson, has written a monumental work, A History Of The American People. Johnson is one of my favorite historians. I started reading him in the seventies when his book Modern Times first appeared. The author is a fan of American history, and this book is a well-written, insightful encouragement to those who live here.
Last, I want to recommend 1917, by Arthur Herman, one of my new “favorite” historians. This book chronicles the year 1917 during WWI. It was the year of the Russian Revolution. The relationship between Lenin and the naive U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson is the plot line. Wilson was the father of the new American Progressive movement. His naivete led to the formation of the League of Nations. All of his impulses were for one-world government. Can anyone say “Davos?” Will we ever learn from history? I hope so, but it doesn’t seem likely.