Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Book review - Civil War Curiosities.

One of the things I enjoy about Christmas is the infusion of fresh material into my book collection. Most of the time my family does well with their selections. Webb Garrison's Civil War Curiosities is an example of such a selection.

Published in 1994, this 266 page volume is not an in depth study of the American Civil War. It's not even a close look at any one aspect of the war. What it is though is a highly entertaining collection of information, quotes, and stories that bring the war to life and might even surprise you.

Garrison structures the book in five parts. Each part contains several chapters. As an example, part one is entitled Memorable Players in the Nation's Greatest Drama. It contains three chapters: Lincoln and Davis started out less than one hundred miles apart, Famous - or soon to be, and Never say die. Each chapter contains numerous paragraphs detailing glimpses behind the scenes of the war. An index at the back of the book allows the reader to look up any person, battle, or topic mentioned.

Garrison presents his material in an engaging and informative way. He also refuses to bow to the god of political correctness. For that reason I recommend giving Civil War Curiosities a read. No matter if you are a Civil War buff, someone new to the topic, or just looking for a good read, you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Book review - Setting the Stage for Eternity.

Ever wonder why the Bible gives believers instructions on how to live? Been tempted to give up on the Christian life? Too much effort to follow Biblical principles? Harlan D. Betz tackles these and other questions in his 310 page book, Setting the Stage for Eternity.

Betz's premise is that the Bible answers all three of the above questions the same way: What we do in this temporal world has eternal implications for believers. Not implications that effect one's eternal destiny, that's covered by Jesus' work at the cross. What our actions now effect is our rewards in The Kingdom.

Betz carefully lays out the types of rewards Scripture mentions and explains the link to different areas of the Christian life in this world. He uses Scriptural references to explain how he arrives at his conclusions and clearly illustrates his points with simple examples. Betz's writing style is easy to understand and follow as well as being solidly grounded on the Bible. Each chapter has a study guide at the end so the book can easily be used in a small group setting. A short bibliography follows each study guide. Appendices make deeper study accessible by anyone who seriously desires it.

All in all I found Setting the Stage for Eternity to be interesting, solid, and challenging. I highly recommend this book for anyone struggling to understand why it's important to run the race of life well or who wants a better understanding of eternal rewards.