Monday, November 16, 2009

5 Cities that Ruled the World

5 Cities that Ruled the World, by Douglas Wilson

5 Cities that Ruled the World is an overview description of how the cities of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York ruled the world. Douglas Wilson is a theologian and teaches college level ethics and logic. He is also editor of a cultural journal best known for its humor and satire, which Wilson fails to successfully interject throughout the book.
Wilson wants his readers to be reminded of liberty and the blessings liberty brings. He does this by devoting a short chapter for each city; Jerusalem represents the soul set free, stating it is a great and standing metaphor for spiritual liberty. Athens established the ideal of free inquiry, where we are grateful not for every idea to come out of Athens, but for the freedom to reject ideas. Rome passed on liberty under law, and gave us understanding of civic liberties and equitable laws. London set free our literary imagination, where extraordinary literature was made available for ordinary people. New York has shown us the freedom to trade, this city being the world’s financial center.
I think Wilson should have justified his choice of the 5 cities. The subtitle reads ‘Global History’; however, there are no eastern hemisphere cities. I see this book as a springboard for more in depth research, not only for cities that ruled the world, but for the biblical references. I would recommend 5 Cities that Ruled the World as a quick read listed as a young adult book.
I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s book reviewer blogger program.
Book Review by Mary Crocco

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

After seeing Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot on Bill Moyer’s Journal on PBS, I was anxious to read what words of wisdom Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot had to offer in her book, The Third Chapter; Passion, Risk, and Adventures in the 25 years After 50. I was disappointed to receive no additional pearls in her book.
To be fair to Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, she did say who the forty people were that she interviewed for her book. She did disclose the fact that her subjects were not ordinary people of middle class, but rather from the highly educated and privileged upper class with extraordinary wealth. However, I did think I would learn a thing or two by reading the book, but this was not the case.
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is an educational sociologist who spent two years interviewing both men and women living in the third chapter of their lives; their fifties, sixties, and seventies. She wants us to realize this significant time in life where we may want to seek new meaning and greater challenges. The forty people Sara interviewed were lucky enough to be able to take risks and actually seek their new meanings and fulfill their challenges in their third chapter in life. They had the means to change their lives dramatically. Each has a different story and circumstances that precipitated the change they made.
The Introduction to the book shared the most insight and learning tools than did the stories from the forty people. After finishing the book, I had wished there were more revelations from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot than from the people she interviewed. The stories were a quick read, knowing how most ordinary people could not even begin to relate to achieving these third chapter life changes of the elite.
This is a self-help book the reader will have to modify, as most people living in their third chapter of life do want to seek changes and challenges. However, besides the Introduction, there isn’t much for the average person to learn. This is one time where the TV interview was more informative than the book.

Book Review by Mary Crocco