4 Booklist February 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a
Christian in the 21st Century.
By Marcus J. Borg.
Mar. 2017. 288p. HarperOne, $25.99 (9780062457332). 261.
Chapters from earlier books and previously
uncollected articles, addresses, and sermons
make up this fine memorial collection by
the late progressive Christian theologian and
scholar. Borg’s characteristic themes are stated
here once more: the importance of the historical Jesus, who he was as well as what he
said and did; the focus on the world of spirit;
panentheism, or the conception that God
contains (not, as with pantheism, is) everything and more; faith as a way of proceeding
on a journey instead of as a system of belief;
ways to think about Jesus as God, as the model
for centering oneself in God, and as a prophet
of social concern. Such corollary topics as the
New Atheism, the essence of Christianity, the
wisdom in other religions, and how to hear
the voice of God fill out this gracious gift to
all religion collections. —Ray Olson
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to
By Frances FitzGerald.
Apr. 2017. 706p. Simon & Schuster, $35
Far more important than hanging chads, it
was praying Evangelicals who put the born-again George Bush in the White House in
2000. But Bush’s electoral victory figures as
just one episode in FitzGerald’s capacious
history of Evangelical American protestant-
ism. This rich narrative ranges across the
various Evangelical denominations while il-
luminating the doctrines—especially personal
conversion as spiritual rebirth, and adherence
to the Bible as ultimate truth—that unite
them. FitzGerald particularly excels in limn-
ing pivotal Evangelical personalities: from the
brimstone-preaching Jonathan Edwards, who
kindled Colonial America’s Great Awakening;
through the indefatigable Dwight “Crazy”
Moody, whose Bible societies preserved faith during
the Gilded Age; to Billy
Graham, whose Evangelical
charisma vaulted him into
The Evangelical movement
takes on a political character when Jerry Falwell and
Pat Robertson enlist late twentieth-century
coreligionists as Religious Right warriors on
issues such as school prayer, abortion, the
Equal Rights Amendment, and same-sex
marriage. Conservative readers may judge
FitzGerald too one-sided in her indictment of
Evangelicals for having polarized America on
these matters. But few can dispute her conclusion that conservative Evangelical leaders have
lost clout, millions of those in Evangelical
pews blithely ignoring their leaders’ anathemas against the casino-building womanizer
Donald Trump. A complex and fascinating
epic. —Bryce Christensen
My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One
By Abigail Pogrebin.
Mar. 2017. 336p. Fig Tree, $22.95 (9781941493205);
e-book, $14.99 (9781941493212). 296.4.
Recent years have seen a number of books
published in which an author commits to
following the oft-neglected tenets of a reli-
gion—think A. J. Jacob’s The Year of Living
Biblically (2007) or Rachel Held Evans’ A Year
of Biblical Womanhood (2012). Here, putting
her own spin on this formula, Pogrebin charts
her own successful and illuminating course
through a year of Jewish holidays. This per-
sonal but also thoroughly researched book
chronicles a year of celebrating 18 Jewish
holidays deeply and committedly. Each chap-
ter not only features background information
about the holiday and conversations with ex-
perts but also the author’s sometimes funny
and sometimes poignant attempts to do them
well. The book is a frank reckoning with the
author’s own heart, but it’s also about the
myriad ways Jews relate to each other. Jewish
and non-Jewish readers alike will appreciate
this thoughtful and intimate journey through
a very Jewish year. —Christine Engel
Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of
the Wrongfully Convicted.
Ed. by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger.
Mar. 2017. 320p. Norton/Liveright, $26.95
This collection tells the true stories of 15
exonerated men and women who had been
imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.
Though each personal history is fascinating
based on its facts alone, the exonerees are
paired with mystery and crime writers (
including Sara Paretsky, Lee Child, and S. J. Rozan)
to tell their stories. The book’s structure follows
the sequences of the criminal justice system,
from the initial knock on the door to the interrogation through trials, appeals, and freedom.
Exonerees detail torture, abandonment, and
ignored alibis, while editors Caldwell and
Klinger add context from research conducted
by the Innocence Project. The structure and
multiple authors create an uneven collection
of chapters: those focused on appeals and
prison time allow for greater exposition of
the trial history and personal context, while
early stories leave readers with more questions.
However, the collection shines in its focus on
people whose stories should be urgently told.
Featuring a previously unpublished essay by
Arthur Miller, this book will captivate readers
interested in justice and the U.S. legal system.
YA: Older teens interested in law will be
intrigued by this exploration of injustice. LC.
The Axeman of New Orleans.
By Miriam C. Davis.
Mar. 2017. 320p. Chicago Review, $26.99
Even the most rabid true-crime fans might
be surprised to learn that, just about a century ago, a serial killer was operating in New
Orleans. Between 1910 and 1919—with a
still-unexplained six-year gap in the middle of
that period—a killer known
first as the Cleaver, and then
as the Axeman, targeted Italian grocers, breaking into
their homes and attacking
them with an ax or similar
instrument. To this day, the
killers identity and motive
remain a mystery, although
multiple theories exist about both. The au-
Appearing below is a list of all the print reference titles reviewed in this issue. Reference
librarians should also remember that all Booklist reference reviews can be accessed by
Booklist subscribers on Booklist Online.
Interpreting Our World: 100 Discoveries That Revolutionized Geography. By Joseph J.
Kerski. p. 11
Lives of the Great Gardeners. By Stephen Anderton. p. 7
The New Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. By Matthew Biggs
and others. p. 8
People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration. Ed. by Kofi Lomotey. p. 16
The Vonnegut Encyclopedia. Rev. ed. By Marc Leed. p. 11
World Atlas of Tea: From the Leaf to the Cup, the World’s Teas Explored and Enjoyed. By
Krisi Smith. p. 8