A Reading Diary, Bryan E. Walker

Posted on February 24, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews |

I. Religious Books
A. Theology
a. Biblical Theology
1. Vincent, Milton. A Gospel Primer for Christians. Focus Publishing, 2008 (97pp.) This is an outstanding, life-changing book. This book is at the core of the Gospel Centered movement. Read this for Care Group Leader training at Christ the Redeemer Church, Bret Rogers, Teaching Elder, White Settlement, TX. April 2014.
2. Roberts, Vaughan. God’s Big Picture, Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. IVP Books: Downers Grove, Ill. 2002 (170pp.) Read this book as part of Care Group Leader training at Christ the Redeemer Church, April-May 2014. This book is written at a fairly simple level, high school level, but is profound and exciting. Amazing! Why did I not have this stuff 30 years ago!?
3. Dever, Mark. What Does God Want of Us Anyway? Crossway: Wheaton, IL. 2010 (127pp.) Read 01-26-15 to 02-03-15. This is a fantastic, concise book that explains the main idea of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. This book tells the gospel story from Creation to the Apocalypse. Much like Vaughan’s above. Highly recommend! (Where was this stuff 40 years ago???)
b. Systematic Theology/Bible Doctrine
1. General Works-Systematic Theology Texts
2. Doctrine of Revelation/Inspiration/Inerrancy
(1). Scripture Alone, The Evangelical Doctrine, by R. C. Sproul. P&R: Phillipsburg, NJ 2005 (210pp.) Read 05-12-14 to 09-17-14. This is a very good book that covers the doctrine and history of Inerrancy and the doctrine of Revelation. It has its difficult parts as one chapter gets a bit into philosophy that may scare away the average reader. Highly Recommend!
(2). Truth&Power, The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life by J.I. Packer. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 1996 (191pp.) Read 09-20-14 to 10-27-14 but had begun it the first time 03-28-03. This book is a compilation of a few of Packer’s works but turns into a very strong book that covers much of what Sproul covered in Scripture Alone but from the British perspective. It too has its philosophical and historical aspects but also covers the doctrine and its practical use very thoroughly.
(3). Taking God at His Word, by Kevin DeYoung. Crossway: Wheaton, IL. 2014 (138pp.) Read 11-28-14 to 12-12-14. This is an OUTSTANDING, Concise yet thorough examination of the doctrine of the Word of God. I highly recommend!
3. Doctrine of the Person of Christ
(1). The Message of the Person of Christ, the Bible Speaks Today, by Robert Letham. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL 2013 (261pp.) Read 12-11-14 to 01-14-15. This is an Outstanding survey of many Scripture Texts from Genesis to Revelation that teach us about the Person of Christ. Sound and solid theology but highly readable. I highly recommend!
4.
c. Historical Theology
B. Christian Living/Basic Discipleship
a. Basic Christianity-Discipleship
1. Basic Christianity by John Stott. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company: Grand Rapids, MI 2008 (originally 1958) (174pp.) Read for the Third time 11-13-14 to 12-15-14. Outstanding! A classic! A great beginner book.
2. The Keys To Spiritual Growth by John MacArthur. Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL 1991 (191pp.) Read 12-20-14 to 01-20-15. This is an outstanding book for the new believer or the believer who needs a heavy dose of the basics. Great tool for discipleship.
b.
C. Bible Commentaries
a. Old Testament
1. Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Vol.23B: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, by David W. Baker. Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester, England 1988. “Habakkuk” pp.41-77. Read for the Redeemer Church sermon series by Dan Hilmer, June-July 2014.
2. The Minor Prophets, Volume 2, Micah-Malachi, by James Montgomery Boice. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. 1986, “Habakkuk”, pp.387-434. Read June-July, 2014.
b. New Testament
D. Apologetics
a. Classical
b. Evidence
c. General
d. Issues
1. Johnson, Phillip E. Darwin on Trial. Regnery Gateway: Washington D.C. 1991 (195pp.) Read 10-02 to 11-04-14. Started many times, 09-29-00, 06-17-01, 03-11-04, 09-21-07. This is a very important book, but, sadly, the cult of Darwinism still predominates our society 23 years later. The book does require a lot of knowledge of biology, but the author’s arguments are outstanding!
2. Ibid. Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 1995 (245pp.) Purchased 10-02-95; read 11-12-14 to 12-10-14. Outstanding!
E.

II. Fiction
A. Science Fiction/Fantasy
a. Hard SF/Military- Ian Douglas
1. Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman: Blood Star. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2012 (355pp.) Read in 2013.
2. Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman II: Abyss Deep. 2013, (373pp.) Read May 2014.
3. Douglas, Ian. Star Carrier IV, Deep Space. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2013 (355pp.) Read May 5-15-14 to 5-25-14.
b. Hard SF/Military- Ben Bova
1. Grand Tour#1 Powersat. TOR: New York, 2005 (424pp.) Nov.2013.
2. Grand Tour#2 Privateers. TOR: New York, 1985 (383pp.) Nov. 2013.
3. Grand Tour#3 Empire Builders. TOR: New York, 1993 (406pp.) Dec. 2013.
4. Grand Tour #4 Mars. Bantam: New York, 1992 (549) Dec.2013.
5. Grand Tour #5 Moonrise. AVON: New York, 1996 (543pp.) Feb.2014.
6. Grand Tour #6 Moonwar. AVON Books: New York 1998 (501pp.) Feb.2014.
7. Grand Tour #7 Return to Mars. EOS: New York, 1999 (543pp) March 2014.
8. Grand Tour #8 The Precipice. TOR: New York, 2001 (422pp.) April 2014.
9. Grand Tour #9 Jupiter. TOR: New York, 2001 (389pp.) April 2014. One of the best books ever to show the tension between religion and science! Fantastic!
10. Grand Tour #10 The Rock Rats. TOR: New York, 2002 (384pp.) May 2014.
11. Grand Tour #11 The Silent War. TOR: New York, 2004 (410pp.) May 2014.
12. Grand Tour #12 The Aftermath.
c. Classics
d. Fantasy/Alternative Universe
1. S.M. Stirling “The Change Series”
(1). Lord of Mountains. ROC: New York, 2012 (430pp.) Read May 2014.
B. End of the World/Prepper
C. Classics
D. Mysteries/Thrillers
E. Historical Fiction
III. History
A. American History
a. Early 19th Century
1. Jortner, Adam. The Gods of Prophetstown, The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier. Oxford University Press: New York, 2012 (310pp.) Read 3-8 to 5-17-14. This book goes into great detail of the lives of William H. Harrison (Maj. Gen. and President) and Tenskwatawa (The Prophet of the Shawnee), brother of Tecumseh and the religious/political revival led by Tenskwatawa and the trans-Indian movement and the political early life of Harrison. The first half of the book is a hard, tough, read but the last 1/3 is worth the work. A total of just a few pages on the actual battle of Tippecanoe but the study of Indian/US relations, the religion comparisons are fascinating. This book is a wonderful study of early American politics that lets you know they were thoroughly crooked and corrupt back then as well as today.
2. Keating, Ann Durkin. Rising Up From Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2012 (294pp.) Read 12-12-14 to 01-10-15. This wonderful book gives the personal stories of several families and individuals who settled Chicago in the earliest days, when it was a trading post in Indian country and tells the story of the Battle, not the Massacre, of Ft. Dearborn. In this meticulously well researched book Durkin explains the intricacies of the mixing of the races in the early 19th century Old Northwest and the impact of the War of 1812 on all concerned. This was really a fantastic book! Her closing chapters were amazing as she followed up on what happened after the war to the Indians, the Traders, the soldiers and the families. The last chapter was outstanding as she showed the relevance of the past for the present in Chicago. Really a Very good book!
b. Founding 18th Century
1. Olasky, Marvin. Fighting for Liberty and Virtue: Political and Cultural Wars in Eighteenth-Century America. Regnery: Washington D.C. 1995 (316pp.) This eye-opening, fantastic book was read 09-08-14 to 09-30-14. Wow! I had no idea how corrupt and immoral the British were at that time and how that played into the Revolution.
c. Colonies
d. Discovery
e. Black History/Slavery
1. Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. Dover Publications: Mineola, NY 1970 (336pp.). Originally published 1853. Read 02-16-15 to 02-24-15. This is an amazing personal account of the life of a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840’s to 1850’s. This is a real page turner, hard to put down. This book absolutely is must reading for every American! Wow! In the last year a movie was made off of this book, which I have not seen, but now must see.
f.
B. Military History
a. The War of 1812
1. The Burning of Washington, The British Invasion of 1814, by Anthony S. Pitch. Bluejacket Books: Annapolis, MD 1998 (298pp.). Read from Aug.24 to Sept.11, 2014 for the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington DC. This is an outstanding, well-written book that is incredibly detailed and uses a ton of first hand, primary sources. The book is very fast paced and is an easy read despite the details covered. This was an eye-opening book for me! I highly recommend!
2. The Naval War of 1812 Modern Library-War by Theodore Roosevelt. The Modern Library: New York, 1999 (308pp. but I only made it to p.182). Originally published in 1882 when he was 23 yrs. old. I purchased this book 04-20-2000 and tried reading it 05-19-14 to 12-12-14 but simply could not finish it! I had read a couple of other of Roosevelt’s books and enjoyed them immensely, but this book is a very technical, extremely well researched doctoral thesis style book that analyzes all the minutia of the naval side of the War of 1812. The book is filled with technical, naval language and examines the primary sources in detail. One highlight of the book is Roosevelt’s detailed analysis of the primary and secondary sources. He critiques and praises various authors for their accuracy and fairness. I really wanted to read this book…but I just had to set it aside and move on.

3.  The War of 1812 In the Old Northwest by Alec R. Gilpin. Michigan State University Press: East Lansing, MI 1958 (Introduction for the Bicentennial Edition by Brian Leigh Dunnigan, 2012) 286pp. Read 01-14-15 to 02-25-15. The Introduction to this excellent book by Dunnigan was especially helpful in explaining what Gilpin’s intentions were. The author was not trying to analyze or explain the war, he was giving a straightforward account of the war in the Old Northwest. However, what I found in the reading of the book is that he subtly did explain a lot of the war. First of all, Gilpin definitely took the side of Governor/General William Hull, one of the major scapegoats of the war under the Madison administration. Gilpin convinced me that Hull was given an impossible task and was not given the much needed support or command structure that was needed to accomplish his assignment. Most books I have read on the War of 1812 do look down on Hull, but clearly he should Not have been convicted. This book demonstrates the nearly useless roles of the militia, how the Indians were used by both sides to their own detriment and how crucial a well-established logistics plan is for maintaining an army. This was a very good book but absolutely needed about 30 maps to make sense of all the troop movements. The book gets a little confusing with all the different units, commanders, and Forts, and maps would help clear it all up. I recommend this book for those with a serious interest in the Old Northwest, the War of 1812 or US relations with the Indians.
b. World War II
1. The Capture of Attu, compiled by Lt. Robert J. Mitchell with Sewell T. Tyng and Cpt. Nelson L. Drummond, Jr. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, NB. 2000. Originally published in 1944 by the U.S. Army’s Infantry Journal and sold to US Servicemen for a quarter, it was also distributed by Military Intelligence to help soldiers prepare for battle with the Japanese. This book is a Classic in military history. I purchased this book in September 2001…just prior to 9/11. This book tells the story of the last time a foreign invader attacked American soil, until Sept. 11, 2001. In reading some of the stories from the war in Afghanistan, I would say that The Capture of Attu needs to be read again by our military. I am sending this book to my son, SSGT Luke Walker, 1/501 (Geronimo!) in the 4th Bde. of the 25th Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska. They do very little training in the mountains of Alaska, and never in the Aleutians.
c. World War I
1. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War, by Max Hastings. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2013 (628pp.) Read 08-27-14 to 10-07-14. This is THE Go To book for the beginning of WWI (with the possible exception of Barbara Tuchman’ book). Very readable, thorough and wide ranging Hastings covers the historical backgrounds and cultural issues of the main combatants, the political and economic realities as well as the military issues and combat. Uses a vast array of primary source material. Highly Recommend.
d.
C. Ancient History
a. East vs. West
1. Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, by Tom Holland. Doubleday: New York, 2005 (418pp.) Read 09-16-14 to 11-23-14. This was a tough read due to the subject matter in the first half; the author did not really connect with me. But this was an important book as I begin a reading journey of the East v. West conflict that began with Ishmael v. Isaac and comes down to the present day.
2. The Trojan War by Barry Strauss. Simon & Schuster: New York, 2006 (258pp.) Read 11-24-14 to 12-26-14. An outstanding examination of the Trojan War with the Greeks using Homer, archeology and other ancient Near-Eastern texts. Highly recommend!
3. The Battle of Marathon by Peter Krentz. Yale University Press: New Haven, CT 2010 (230pp.) Read from01-12-15 to 02-06-15. While this book was a very difficult read because it is a very technical book, it is an excellent example of how to write ancient history when there just is not an abundance of evidence for your subject. Krentz is able to make this difficult subject understood and exciting, he is a Very capable writer! But this book is not for the casual reader or person with a light interest in history. Krentz examines all the ancient texts pertaining to Marathon and evaluates not a few of those who have studied and written on the subject through the centuries. Particularly of interest to me was his detailed study of the geography of the plain of Marathon and how it has changed through the centuries due to erosion and silt deposits. Another area where his detailed analysis was particularly thorough and interesting was in the gear the hoplites carried on their nearly mile-long run to battle. He analyzes several theories and actual experiments and even speaks with contemporary soldiers to see what is possible. The only weakness I saw in the book was his analysis of the importance of Marathon. This should have been expanded to show the long term differences in culture that the Persians and Greeks had and how it impacts us today.
b. Greece
D. Church History
1. Old Testament History
2. Intertestamental Period
3. Apostolic Era, 1st Century AD
4. Early Church
5. Medieval Church
6. The Reformation Era
a. General Histories
b. Biographies
(1). John Knox, by Rosalind K. Marshall. Birlinn Ltd: Edinburgh, 2008 (244pp.) Read in October 2014 for Reformation Day at Redeemer Church, Fort Worth, TX. This is an excellent biography, but strangely left out Knox’s contributions to the Geneva Bible. Highly recommend!
(2). John Knox and the Reformation, by D.M. Lloyd Jones and Ian Murray. Banner of Truth: England, 2011, (132pp.). Read in October 2014 for Reformation Day at Redeemer Church, Fort Worth, TX. This little book covers the basics of Knox but also introduces you to the study of Church History and the Reformation in a devotional way. Highly Recommend!
c. Issues
7. 17th-19th Centuries
8. Baptist History


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