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
(1). Concise Theology, A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, by J.I. Packer. Tyndale House Publishers: Wheaton, IL. 1993 (267pp.) Read 12-11-14 to 05-27-15. This is an outstanding introduction to systematic theology, the doctrines the Bible teaches, done in a devotional style that can bless the average layman or minister equally. Packer packs a lot into this Concise Theology in bite sized chunks of 2-4 pages per topic (and the pages are small). I read this book over the last 6 months as a daily devotional 1-2 chapters at a time. Packer explains the big theological terms in simple ways and shows the biblical basis for each doctrine. He is gracious yet firm when he covers controversial areas such as hell and he does present some alternative views other than his own Reformed Anglican; but you always know where he stands! I highly recommend this book for those who may know Bible stories but need to know what the Bible actually teaches.
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!
(4). Thy Word Is Truth, by E.J. Young. The Banner of Truth Trust: Carlisle, PA; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. :Grand Rapids, MI 1957 (280pp.) Read 09-18-14 to 04-21-15 ( I read a couple of other books on this topic while reading this one- see above). This was an outstanding book, the classic in this topic of the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. This was not an easy read by any means. Dr. Young’s arguments are very precise with multiple biblical texts exegeted for each point. He discusses in depth the arguments from the other side and tears them apart. You could make a charge that he is somewhat repetitive but it is more likely that he is just being careful to be understood and to dissect every aspect of the topic. If you want a book that covers this topic in detail, and you have the patience for it, this is THE book. This may be a bit over the heads of many, but if you are willing to work hard, this book will be a serious blessing to you. Although it was written almost 60 years ago, it is extremely relevant to the discussion today. The arguments of the age do not change at their core, just the dressing changes.
(5). Knowing Scripture, Revised Edition. R.C. Sproul. IVP Books: Downers Grove, IL 2009, original edition 1977 (I read the original edition many years ago). (152pp.) Read 05-09-15 to 06-09-15. This is an excellent though brief introduction to both the doctrine of Scripture and to Hermeneutics for laymen. The book is really designed to instruct readers in how to interpret the Bible and Sproul does a very good job! This is a challenging read for most laymen I would think. It would be excellent if done as a part of a Bible Study group. Outstanding!
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!
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.
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!

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.
4. Douglas, Ian. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 1: Semper Mars. EOS: New York, 1998 (376pp.) This is the second time I have read this fantastic book (04-26-15 to 04-28-15). This is one of my favorite books/series because it is so believable in the area of technology. Obviously he got the timing of things wrong, written 1998, but the general flow of the technology is very believable. The military/political action is also outstanding and very believable. The obvious failure for me as a Christian is the main premise of the book that man was “created” by aliens. Still, the “first contact” aspect of the book is outstanding as well. This book is what S-F should be!
5. ___________. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 2: Luna Marine. 1990 (402pp.) This is the second time I have read this book (04-29-15 to 04-30-15) and is one of my favorites as a part of this trilogy. I find the science part of the book to be quite believable although I disagree with the atheistic “we are made by aliens” subtext which is not quite explicit but certainly is being put forward.
6. ___________. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 3: Europa Strike. 2000 (483pp.) Read 2nd time 05-01-15 to 05-04-15. This closes out one of the best S-F trilogies around in a very believable military SF story that shows the progression of science in the future.
b. Hard SF/Military- James A. Corey “The Expanse” series
1. Leviathan Wakes. Orbit: New York, 2011 (561pp.) Read in early 2013. A very good read, definitely kept my interest. Very realistic descriptions of solar system travel and colonization, business and government complexities with racism. The racism was interesting in that it was people from the inner planets hating Earthers and people from the Outer Planets hating the Inner Planets, etc. I did not really like the alien concept though, but I did like the detective angle.
2. Caliban’s War. Orbit: New York, 2012 (595pp.) Read in late 2013. Same as above. The military angle and battles are pretty good, but, again, the alien is a bit too weird for me.
3. Abbadon’s Gate. 2013 (539pp.) Read 06-02-15 to 06-08-15. This one was the best of the three so far in that the alien is now more understandable and it makes sense. The author uses religion quite skillfully in this book, which is a rarity for SF writers. There was a theme of vengeance and redemption/forgiveness. The military angle in this book was quite good with very realistic zero g fight scenes. This is a good series which I will keep up with, but not greatness.
c. 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. TOR: New York, 2007 (396pp.) Read May-June 2014.
13. Grand Tour #13 Saturn. TOR: New York, 2004 (470pp.) Read April 2015. This is a clever book about politics set inside a colony ship bound for Saturn where the thousands of colonists are to choose their government. Bova is showing how the corrupt and evil ideologies of communism, liberalism and fascism vie for power and hinder the science of the trip to Saturn.
14. Grand Tour #14 Leviathans of Jupiter. TOR: New York, 2011 (500pp.) Read May 2015. Bova returns us to Jupiter to investigate the intelligent Leviathans of Jupiter in another clever story to demonstrate how science can be corrupted by traditionalism and personal hubris. There is this dominant theme in Bova’s series of revealing the enemies of science from every corner. There is an interesting character study or two in the book, especially that of “Dorn”.
d. Classics
e. Fantasy/Alternative Universe
1. S.M. Stirling “The Change Series”
(1). Lord of Mountains. ROC: New York, 2012 (430pp.) Read May 2014.
f. SF Mysteries/Jack McDevitt
1. Starhawk. ACE Books: New York, 2013 (389pp.) Read 05-13-15 to 05-14-15. In this book McDevitt returns to the Priscilla Hutchins story after retiring her in his last book. Now, realizing he had a good thing going with “Hutch”, he takes us back to her beginning as a cadet in interstellar pilot school where she gets her license to fly and encounters one mystery/disaster after another in a series of just a few short months. If you are looking for Hard SF with a lot of technical details, this is not for you. My one criticism of McDevitt’s writing is that he makes flying an interstellar waaayyyy tooooo easy. These ships have a one person crew, the pilot, and she can go to sleep, play games, read, etc. the ships fly themselves with their AIs. That criticism being said, what McDevitt does offer are good mysteries and plots with character studies set in the future. In this book he sets up the career of Hutch and gives us much more of the political background for her place in time. It sounds remarkably like today with political cynicism, terror plots, and budget fights. I am a loyal fan and will continue reading the Priscilla Hutchins novels eagerly.
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.
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
1. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages A.D. 1492-1616. Oxford University Press: New York, 1974, (758p.) I purchased this book in 2000 and began reading it but never completed it. I restarted the book again in Nov.2013 and finished in 03-06-15. This book was somewhat of a difficult read as it is not just long but quite detailed. But Professor Morison (he was a US Navy Admiral and with a Ph.D. he was a professor at Harvard) writes with excitement that comes with having sailed many of the same routes that he writes about. So when he writes about Columbus he writes not just as a scholar but as a sailor who has made the same journey in a small ship. When he writes about Magellan, he writes as one who has sailed a ship through the Straits named for Magellan. When he writes of Drake on the California coast he writes as one who personally sailed the coast looking for the bay Drake put in to. Where I struggled in the book was with the lesser known explorers. At any rate, I am glad I have read it and plan on reading volume one of this set, The Northern Voyages in the future. The two things I was amazed at as I read this book were the frequency with which the Explorers were punished and imprisoned by the kings when they returned home. Morison makes much of this. The other thing I found amazing was the casualty rate of roughly 25% of all the mariners who set out on these voyages never made it home. These are stories of tremendous courage. It is the story of Western Civilization at its finest. While I cannot recommend this book for the general reader, it is an excellent book for those with an interest in sailing and in the Age of Discovery.
2. Delaney, Carol. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem. Free Press: New York, 2011 (319pp.) Read 03-28-15 to 05-08-15. This was an amazing book that rocked my understanding of Columbus! I had previously read Samuel Eliot Morison’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, and IT was fantastic. That book and Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther are my two top biographies of all time (and I just don’t read many biographies). But now, I must add Delaney’s work as being of equal in merit to Admiral Morison’s. Morison’s book surprised me about 8-9 years ago as I saw clearly that Columbus was a man of great faith, not just a nominal Catholic. And then I read Fuson’s edition of the Log of Christopher Columbus and again, the faith of Columbus shone brightly. What Delaney does, however, is to tie it all together and show that Columbus’ faith gave him a grand vision of sailing West to get to the East, in order to gain great wealth for Spain so that Ferdinand and Isabella could afford to raise an army and go on a Crusade to take Jerusalem back from the muslims and usher in the 2nd Coming of Christ. Delaney proves her point time and again using Columbus’ own writings to show his motivations. From my previous studies of Columbus I thought that his sailing west to get to the east was simply due to the blockade of trade by the muslims, but that is only part of the motivation. None of this was taught me in high school or college history, or even in seminary/graduate school. I highly recommend this book, even to the point of saying if you could read either Morison or Delaney, I would recommend Delaney.
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.
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. Rising Up From Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago, by Ann Durkin Keating. 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!
4. 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.
5. The Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson and America’s First Military Victory by Robert V. Remini. Viking: New York, 1999 (226pp.) Read 02-26-15 to 03-28-15. This was an outstanding book that was very enlightening to me. All my life I had heard of the great, but meaningless, victory won by Jackson at New Orleans after the peace treaty of Ghent had been signed. But never had I heard that the treaty was not in effect until after voted on by the US Senate over a month after Jackson’s victory. Jackson and the rag-tag thrown together army/navy defeated one of the most experienced British units that had fought in Europe against Napoleon. Remini’s point, that the battle became a major source of unification in America after so many dismal defeats in the War of 1812 and that the Battle was celebrated for decades, until supplanted by the Civil War, is a crucial and convincing point. Remini’s portrayal of Jackson again goes counter to most of what I have read in the past which painted Jackson in somewhat of a negative light. Jackson was a LEADER who commanded the respect of those he was around. This book definitely makes me want to read Remini’s massive 3 volume biography of Jackson.
6. A Very Brilliant Affair, The Battle of Queenston Heights, by Robert Malcomson. Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, MD. 2003 (328pp.) Read 04-23-15 to 05-13-15. This excellent study of the first land battle mounted from New York into Canada in the War of 1812 is military history at its finest. The first chapters give us the political and military situation leading up to the war and details about the major leaders. The details that the author gets into with supplies, equipment and training are amazing! I had to just shake my head as he describes the Americans going into battle in utter chaos and with no good plan or rehearsal for a night river crossing with raw recruits. This proves the old adage true, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had. Excellent read! Why, oh why, does not Hollywood make movies of these excellent bits of history?
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. Read in 2014.
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.
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.
4. Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World, by Paul Cartledge. The Overlook Press: Woodstock, NY 2006 (313pp.) Read 02-27-15 to 05-04-15. This is an excellent and challenging, in depth look at the Battle of Thermopylae but it is also, perhaps even primarily, a study on Herodotus and his method and how he has been perceived and interpreted through the centuries. This is an excellent book on looking at how history is written and how sources are evaluated. I particularly enjoyed how Cartledge shows us how the Spartans are remembered through the ages because of this battle and how this battle has affected western civilization. Cartledge also ties in his study of Thermopylae with 9/11 and the present Persian empire of Iran with their ties with terrorism and their quest for nuclear weapons. The value of this work is that in the post 9/11 world the West must examine itself and find its core values. Cartledge’s contribution is noteworthy.
5. The Battle of Salamis, The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece- and Western Civilization, by Barry Strauss (see The Trojan War, above). Simon&Schuster: New York, 2004 (294pp.) Read 05-09-15 to 05-29-15. This is an outstanding account of one of the key battles in all of history; a battle that makes or breaks Western Civilization. Strauss is excellent and not just covering all the names, places and events, but he draws you into the very tent of Xerxes or the deck of a Greek trireme. He carefully analyzes all of the sources but he does it in a smooth way that does not disrupt the drama of the story he is telling. This is history writing at its finest! Strauss sums up the story in his final chapter showing that Persia had reached its limit and would decline over the next 150 years and he shows how the democracy created by Athens would lead to imperialism. Freedom for Athens would mean bondage for other Greek states in the Delian League as they exchanged Persian masters for Athenian. The money quote, p.247, “Defeat at Salamis would not have deprived the world of Greece’s glory but of its guile and greed. Salamis offered Athens the first taste of the temptation that it could not resist. Thanks to Salamis, Athens was free and Greece would be enslaved. Democracy was saved and the Athenian empire was born.”
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!
(3). John Calvin, Pilgrim and Pastor, by W. Robert Godfrey. Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL. 2009 (207pp.) Read 04-21-15 to 05-20-15. This outstanding book gives the reader a brief biography of Calvin then gives a theological biography showing the thought and teachings/writings of Calvin the theologian and pastor. I particularly enjoyed how Godfrey portrayed the heart of Calvin the pastor since modern day secular histories focus on only a very narrow and limited portrayal of Calvin and his persecution of those who disagreed with him. Godfrey demolishes that caricature! Calvin went to extreme lengths to be gracious and conciliatory with many who opposed or differed with him. This whet my appetite for studying more of Calvin!
c. Issues
7. 17th-19th Centuries
8. Baptist History


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