Archive for November 9th, 2015
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. Clark, Thomas D. and John D.W. Guice. The Old Southwest 1795-1830, Frontiers in Conflict. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, OK 1989 (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque) 335pp. Read 06-23-15 to 08-25-15. This was a very good general history of the Old Southwest that covered inter-related topics. I found the book a bit tedious at times, other times quite a lively read, but all in all, a very profitable read about an area of our nation and our past that I knew next to nothing about. I read this book as a result of reading Remini’s book on the Battle of New Orleans a few months back (see below) needing some more background to Andrew Jackson and the region. I am very glad to have read this book but could only recommend it to someone who had a special interest in that region or time period; not for the general reader. Like the book immediately above, The Gods of Prophetstown, this book covers a LOT of information about our relations to the Indian nations, including the Trail of Tears.
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.
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.
3. Duggard, Martin. The Last Voyage of Columbus. Little, Brown and Company: New York, 2005 (294pp.) Read from 5-9-15 to 6-17-15. This is a very good, popular book on the 4th and final voyage to the New World by Columbus. Although it is written in a popular style, having read Morison and Delaney, I can definitely tell that Duggard knows his stuff. He included many details the others left out. By focusing on the 4th voyage Duggard is able to include those details and present what amounts to an amazing adventure story! The last chapter is outstanding as he tells what happened to all the key players later, and, most important, he tells the story of how Amerigo Vespucci got the credit for discovering the New World and Columbus was basically forgotten for about 300 years! I highly recommend!
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?
7. Strange Fatality, The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813, by James E. Elliott. Robin Brass Studio: Canada, 2009 (311pp.) Read 05-19-15 to 06-22-15. This is an excellent book, this is history as it should be written! The emphasis in this book is that Leadership matters! Elliott gives us a well written, detailed look at everything that led up to the battle and backgrounds to all the key players as well as many smaller figures who were there, making the book very personable. Generals to sergeants to privates to civilians, the author covers all their stories well. He shows how weakness in key leaders led to an almost disaster for the British/Canadians but the weaknesses of the Americans rescued defeat from the jaws of victory. This was a huge disaster for the Americans due to political appointments to the army, lack of leadership and training. The author was exceedingly fair to both sides. Including in an appendix the story of the battle as it was remembered later and the effort to raise a memorial was excellent! That was a nice touch that really capped off a wonderful book. .
8. Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands, The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans 1812-1815, by Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr. The University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1981 (255pp.) Read 08-26-15 to 10-10-15. This is an outstanding book that told a story I had never heard before. Oh, I had heard of the Creek War, and I think in some John Wayne movie somewhere I had heard of Ft. Mims, but I just never realized this was all the Southern part of the War of 1812. This book is incredibly well researched and well written yet concise. I also learned more about the pirates Laffite than I had ever known. Highly recommend for the military history buff, or the true southerners who want to know their story. A great book for Indian-White relations history as well.
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.
2. The Dawn Patrol (movie). Directed by Edmund Goulding, starring Errol Flynn, David Niven, Basil Rathbone. Warner Bros. 1938 (103min). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030044/ This was an outstanding movie! I have heard of this movie all my life but only purchased it recently, in honor of the 100th anniversary of WWI. Watched it with Luke and Dawn. This movie alludes to another war coming a few times, and since it was released in 1938 it makes sense. It shows the despair and hopelessness of WWI and the stresses of command as a series of commanders experience the same fruitless orders that lead to senseless death of romantic, courageous, young flyers. I highly recommend!
- Science Fiction/Fantasy
- Hard SF/Military- Ian Douglas
- Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman: Blood Star. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2012 (355pp.) Read in 2013.
- Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman II: Abyss Deep. 2013, (373pp.) Read May 2014.
- Douglas, Ian. Star Carrier IV, Deep Space. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2013 (355pp.) Read May 5-15-14 to 5-25-14.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Star Carrier V, Dark Matter. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2014 (370pp.) Read 07-25-16 to 08-01-16. This is another good, solid book in the series by Douglas that combines Military SF with Hard SF and touches of philosophy. One of the ongoing themes in the series is the White Covenant, an Anti-religious political pact that forces people to keep their religion to themselves, no evangelizing. By the end of this book, that philosophy is starting to crumble in an interesting way. This book includes a lot more real science and scientific theory.
- Military SF- David Weber
- Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station.
- Honorverse series, Manticore Ascendant I: A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn. Baen: Riverdale, NT 2014 (384pp) Read 11-13-16 to 11-17-16. Another Outstanding book in the Weber corpus! This book definitely has shades and themes hearkening back to On Basilisk Station. Introducing a new hero, Travis Long, and going back in time to the beginning of the rise of Manticore before the discovery of the junction. The book tells the story of young Travis Long who joins the navy to get away from an unhappy home life and no future. He finds disappointment with the navy but then finds his life and home there as well. He seeks to live a life of hard work and integrity when all those around him just want to cheat and get by. The politics of Manticore are in the forefront of this novel, as always in the Honor Harrington series, and it is those who want to do the right thing against the liberals who always want more power but don’t like the military. And of course there are some bad guys thrown in, and lots of action.
- Hard SF/Military- James A. Corey “The Expanse” series
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hard SF/Military- Ben Bova
- Grand Tour#1 Powersat. TOR: New York, 2005 (424pp.) 2013.
- Grand Tour#2 Privateers. TOR: New York, 1985 (383pp.) 2013.
- Grand Tour#3 Empire Builders. TOR: New York, 1993 (406pp.) 2013.
- Grand Tour #4 Mars. Bantam: New York, 1992 (549) 2013.
- Grand Tour #5 Moonrise. AVON: New York, 1996 (543pp.) 2014.
- Grand Tour #6 Moonwar. AVON Books: New York 1998 (501pp.) 2014.
- Grand Tour #7 Return to Mars. EOS: New York, 1999 (543pp) March 2014.
- Grand Tour #8 The Precipice. TOR: New York, 2001 (422pp.) April 2014.
- 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!
- Grand Tour #10 The Rock Rats. TOR: New York, 2002 (384pp.) May 2014.
- Grand Tour #11 The Silent War. TOR: New York, 2004 (410pp.) May 2014.
- Grand Tour #12 The Aftermath. TOR: New York, 2007 (396pp.) Read May-June 2014.
- 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.
- 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”.
- Hard SF/Military SF John Ringo
- Troy Rising series, Live Free or Die. Baen Publishing Enterprises: Riverdale, NY 2010 (551pp.) Read for the 2nd time 06-25-15 to 06-29-15. This may be my favorite SF series ever! This is in the First Contact Genre but is so much more. The author’s main purpose is stated in the title and he is speaking to our time every bit as much as he is speaking his vision for the future. This book charts an economic view of free enterprise and a political view of realistic conservatism. The main character, Tyler Vernon, is a fairly average guy who sees an opportunity, seizes the day, and forces his vision on the solar system. This book mocks liberalism from front to back. The book excels in its realistic approach to a first contact event and shows that the galaxy is not necessarily a safe place. This is a classic. Volume one of a trilogy so far.
- Troy Rising Series, Citadel. Baen Publishing: Riverdale, NY 2011 (522pp.) Read 06-29-15 to 07-02-15. As good as the first volume in this series was, this one is even better! Again there is serious presentation of economics and politics during war, but the character development is also strong with additional heroes/heroines
- Troy Rising Series, The Hot Gate. Baen Publishing: Riverdale, NY 2011 (528pp.) Read 2nd time 07-02-15 to 07-04-15. This series gets better with each book! Seriously, this might be my favorite SF series of all time. The economics and politics of this book are right on target without sounding “preachy”. He is showing the realities of war fighting. “The only thing worse than war is loss of liberty,” p.206.
- Black Tide Rising series, vol.1, Under A Graveyard Sky. Baen: 2013 (479pp.) Read 07-04-15 to 07-06-15. This is a good Apocalyptic/Zombie series that combines some good, believable, science with excellent survival instruction/action. It is Hollywooded up somewhat as some of the action sequences are simply NOT realistic. Characterization is good as Ringo focuses on the two teenage daughters of the main protagonist, Steve Smith. It was a weird twist to have our hero as a naturalized US citizen from Australia who was a Para and currently an American History HS teacher. The survival at sea motif is unique and really works. A very good read, but not a classic like the Troy Rising
- To Sail A Darkling Sea. Baen: 2014 (507pp.) Read 07-08-15 to 07-11-15. An excellent sequel to the first volume with great character development and action.
- Islands of Rage & Hope. Baen:2014 (521pp.) Read 08-09-15 to 08-12-15. Good fun reading with continuing character development.
- Hard SF, Autumn Kalquist
- Fractured Era series, Better World, by Autumn Kalquist. Diapason Publishing: 2015 (141pp.) Read on 10-03-15. This novella has some good ideas, combining a dystopia with some hope for a new world and lots of adventure. This is a prequel to a pre-existing series. The problem with this book, however, is that the writing style is for adolescents (young adult) and does not come close to including enough detail. The plots include an 18 year old who is so distraught over looking for hope and purpose that she attempts suicide but is rescued by a friend. Another plot is that she is a lesbian and this is kind of a coming of age/coming out novel and her lesbianism is a major problem as her society must have healthy babies born to reproduce their losses. The paganism in the book is feeble and is becoming too common in SF writings (see Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series). The basic ideas and storyline are sound so I might go for a second book. Also this book is listed as a novella, so the full sized books in the series might have more of the details I think it needs. All in all, I cannot recommend this book.
- Hard SF Andy Weir
- The Martian, by Andy Weir. Broadway Books: BROADWAYBOOKS.COM 2014 (387pp.) Jeremy ordered this book for me as we were walking out of the theater after watching the movie version, The Martian, starring Matt Damon. The movie and the book will be in my all time favorites list, probably top 10. This book was difficult as it is filled with scientific data and formulas, gear and technical terms. But that is absolutely what makes this book as powerful as it is! This is a modern day Robinson Crusoe…on Mars! Yeah, I love me some space opera and military sci fi with lots of aliens and space battles, but the best sci fi is believable and near enough to our time to make it seem achievable. In twenty years from today, 2015, the things written by Weir may be happening! While the book is laced with profanity and presents pretty much an atheistic worldview, the story is a good, positive, can do, pro-America story of human suffering and overcoming all obstacles with heroic efforts from a huge cast of supporting characters, including the communist Chinese. This book is simply outstanding! I highly Recommend.
- Military SF Tom Kratman
- Carrera series vol.1: A Desert Called Peace. Baen: Riverdale, NY 2007 (975pp.) Read 07-23-15 to 07-29-15. This is my first Kratman book, and I am hooked. This was outstanding! The science fiction part of the story is in the background, and is good, and essential for the story, but the military/political/social conflict on this new world takes place in a time period of about equal technology to early 21st century Earth. The main ideas presented in this well told story revolve around America’s response to 9/11 and the societal/economic/military conflict with islam in the 21st Kratman, an Army veteran (LTC in rank) critiques the U.S. military and politics through his writing of this SF story that takes place 500 years from now. And he does a thorough, and searing job of it! I love this guy! He is not subtle. You know exactly what he is critiquing. This book, and presumably the series, will rate up there with John Ringo’s Troy Rising series and David Webber’s Honor Harrington series.
- Carrera series vol.2: 2007 (920pp.) Read 08-19-15 to 09-05-15. This is an outstanding sequel to A Desert Called Peace! Kratman carries on with the story of how Carrera builds his army, navy and airforce and fights the muslims, and anyone who gets in the way, for revenge for their terror attack that killed his family. The message he is sending our culture today is that if we want to win in this war we have to actually fight and we must wage total war without remorse. It is interesting that he does find some muslims as allies in his fight. Our political class and military NEED to read these two books! I can see this series expanding to the point where they gain space flight and go back to earth, or…change the story up and tell about what is going on back on earth.
- Carrera Series vol.3, The Lotus Eaters. 2010 (496pp. hardback). Read 10-12-15 to 10-15-15. Outstanding! This may be the best book in the series yet! In this book Carrera leads a war against narco-terror groups, and faces betrayal from within, and counters the aggression of another state. However, the real story is that this book is Kratman’s political manifesto, calling for a timocracy, a democratic republic where only the military and veterans have the right to vote and lead. His political excursions under the name of Jorge Mendoza throughout the book are clear statements pointing to the kind of state Kratman wants. Furthermore, Kratman engages the background science fiction story more in this book detailing the corruption and cultural failures of old Earth. His critiques of our society are spot on; his prophetic voice of where our present civilization is heading is more than plausible, I would say it prescient. Because of his forcefulness and deliberateness in his storyline and the many excurses he includes, this book seriously raises the bar on all the conservative, military SF guys (Ringo, Weber, Drake, Campbell, etc.) Perhaps Carrera is not as loveable as Honor Harrington, but his message is loud and clear.
- Carrera Series vol.4, The Amazon Legion. 2011 (593pp.) Read March 2016. Another outstanding work by Kratman, this time focusing on how to wage war with guerillas tactics. The book is a little bit out of sequence with the following books however. His emphasis on using homosexuals in a separate unit is bizarre. I just do not think there are enough homosexuals who are patriotic enough to do this.
- Carrera Series vol.5, Come and Take Them. 2013 (798pp.) Read April 2016. This series keeps getting better. Usually sequels start to get old, but not with Carrera! Again, this guy’s philosophy of war needs to be taken seriously!
- Carrera Series, vol.6, The Rods and Axe. 2014 (671pp.) Read May 2016. Here the war gets into the defensive phase, so Kratman gives his defensive strategy. Outstanding yet again.
- Military SF, Jay Allan
- Marines: Crimson Worlds I, System7 Publishing: 2012 (229pp.) Read 01-28-16 to 02-02-16. The plot and writing style were so similar to the Marko Kloos novels listed below that I thought it was the same author using a different name, but they are different people. The setting of a future dystopia is very good and the account of all the training that goes into make a future warrior is outstanding. The way the author explains what the ships and crew have to go through because they do NOT have inertia dampening is unique and believable, no other author does it like this. The character development within the novel is good and the storyline definitely got my attention so I have continued to read this series. This is a good “B” grade SF novel.
- The Cost of Victory: Crimson Worlds II. 2012 (258pp.) Read 03-01-16 to 03-17-16. This book solidifies with me that this author is worth reading, the 2nd in the series loses nothing and in fact gains.
- A Little Rebellion: Crimson Worlds III. 2013 (346pp.) Read 03-30-16 to 04-06-16. Another very good follow on book in the series.
- The First Imperium: Crimson Worlds IV. 2013 (274pp.) Read 04-07-16 to 04-12-16. While I am enjoying the story and the plot is getting thicker, I am doubting the use of the ground forces against the aliens who are not biological and therefore have no use for an earthlike planet. The aliens should just nuke the planet it seems to me; therefore, I see a weakness in the plot in order to give more action to the star players.
- The Line Must Hold: Crimson Worlds V. 2013 (288pp.) Read 05-10-16 to 05-17-16. Again, the plot and characters are enough for me to keep on reading; I am invested in the characters now and must see it through the end. Other than the halfway stupid aliens the storyline is good.
- To Hell’s Heart: Crimson Worlds VI. 2013 (308pp.) Read 09-15-16 to 09-21-16. The plot gets thicker and some favorite characters get killed off again.
- The Shadow Legions: Crimson Worlds VII. 2014 (287pp.) Read 10-12-16 to 10-25-16. The plot is still going very strong with some very good twists. I am invested here so I am going to read to the end I guess.
- Military SF, Marko Kloos
- Terms of Enlistment. 47North: Seattle, WA 2014 (334pp.) Read 08-20-15 to 08-22-15. This is a good start to a promising series. Definitely not up to the level of Weber, Ringo or Drake, but a good read nonetheless. This is a dystopic/military/space opera/First Contact Genre that has believable characters, realistic futuristic equipment and a fine knowledge of military training, etc. It is occasionally Hollywooded up. I will follow this author and see what comes next.
- Lines of Departure. 2014 (315pp.) Read 09-08-15 to 09-13-15. This is a worthy sequel to Terms of Enlistment and adds a whole lot of character development and plot twists. Rarely have I started a new author from the “B” list and really enjoyed it, this is an exception. I really like the combination of Military S/F with dystopia and First Contact tossed in. The aliens are bit over the top but that’s ok so far. He has me hooked now! The main plot underneath the alien invasion is that the civilization is crumbling and there are some in the military who stand up and resist tyranny, risking it all. This is encouraging, but also very complex considering the state of the people back home. He is showing the end state of a high tech welfare state system and that there are no good options. The trip home to visit his mother was reminiscent of Thomas Wolfe’s writing from the 1930’s and the Great Depression. Very sad and moving.
- Military SF, Jack Campbell
- The Lost Fleet #1 Dauntless. Ace Books: New York, 2006 (293pp.) Read 09-21-15 to 09-23-15. This is a good, B grade, SF story that is worth the read and I will begin to read the series. This does Not rise to the level of Ringo, Weber, Douglass, or Kratman though he seems to pattern himself after Weber’s Honor Harrington character. One of the main themes of the book is Leadership. He does include some small technical detail that other writers avoid- he includes the difficulty of fighting space battles with time lag in the information chain. The other authors tend to all overcome time lag due to distance with their technology but Campbell keeps the time lag real as they fight over light hours and light minutes and light seconds. I like also that he is addressing what a free society can lose after fighting a century long war as standards are relaxed, morals are compromised and we become like our enemy. With the deaths of leaders over and over again, institutional knowledge dies with them and tactics as well as discipline must be renewed. Geary is presented as a “Christ figure” to an exntent and the psychological battles get old and tedious. He introduces enough mystery along the way to keep me asking for more and gives me hope for the series.
- The Lost Fleet: ACE Books: New York, 2007 (295pp.) Read 10-03-15 to 10-05-15. This a good “B” grade SF series that has an excellent plot and side stories, but stiff, wooden characters and dialog. There is not much character development going to happen here. The action is good, and Campbell does outshine some of the “A” list authors in his handling of space warfare. I will continue to read the series, but the stiff characters may wear me out eventually.
- The Lost Fleet: Courageous, by Jack Campbell. 2008 (299pp.) Read 11-13-15 to 11-15-15. Another decent “B” grade SF novel. The dialogue and characterization are dragging me down. I hope to read the whole series, however, as the basics of the story are good and the hints at aliens are tantalizing. One does hope the Lost Fleet gets home eventually.
- The Lost Fleet: Valiant, The Lost Fleet: Relentless, and The Lost Fleet: Victorious, by Jack Campbell. ACE Books: New York, 2008 (284pp.), 2009 (320pp.) and 2010 (331pp.) respectively. I can truthfully say that this series grows on you and gets better the more you read. The characterization improves with each book; the characters are now seeming to be real people and carry on real conversations. While Campbell’s battle sequences get some things right, he is the Best so far at using real distances and times in space, he is inconsistent. He gets that it takes days to set up battles that involve light hours of distances, and that it takes a fraction of a second to fight it out as the ships close, but then he has the ships maneuvering and re-engaging too fast. Another weakness is in the total lack of a staff for the commanders. These flaws, while serious, do not detract much from the story line which is always full of surprises. I can definitely recommend the series!
- The Lost Fleet- Beyond the Frontier, Dreadnought, by Jack Campbell. ACE Books: New York, 2011 (368pp.) This book continues the new theme of the unknowable aliens, the enigma race and also continues a theme of the plot to get rid of Black Jack Geary by his own people, this time the government. Another nail-biter ending!
- Jules Verne. From the Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon. Nelson Doubleday, Inc.: Garden City, NY. Originally published in France 1865 and 1870 (279pp. total). I purchased these books decades ago and I don’t think I ever read them, although I do believe I had the Classics Illustrated comic book edition and read them as a child. These two novels are included in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinairs series of books that featured geographical and scientific studies which include Five Weeks in a Balloon, Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, In Search of the Castaways, Mysterious Island, and many others. The Moon books begin in a way that makes me think he is writing a parody of the United States and its obsession with war immediately after the Civil War. Verne does discuss many of the theories current for the day that discuss how to leave earth orbit, reach the moon, and what the moon is like. To the modern day reader it is laughable and ridiculous because we have been to the Moon now. Selenians is the name for the alleged moon people and the most overused word in the book is “savant”. And yet, the book worked for me, it was a good read, and fun. We must realize that this was a serious effort to describe what might happen on a trip to the moon, but about 150 years ago! This book is rightfully a Classic and a forerunner of modern Science Fiction. I would say that this book is required reading for the serious S-F fan who wants to discover the genre’s roots.
- A Journey to the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Lars Hokanson, afterword by James Hynes. The Readers’ Digest Association: Pleasantville, NY. Originally published in France in 1864 (280pp.) This was the third in the series of geographical novels in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires series. I have read this book before, I think maybe even twice before, and I had the Classics Illustrated comic book as well. Also I saw the original movie starring Pat Boone from 1959 but I have not seen the recent movie of 2008 starring Brendan Frasier. The book has the same problems as From the Earth to the Moon, and the same strengths. He discusses the theories of geology and the geologic column and fossils current for his day which all sound so far away from our science. There are several obvious faults in the story that have nothing to do with science, such as the many months of food they carried on their backs along with all the guns, tools, and instruments. You have to just look past these obvious flaws and relax and enjoy the wonder of the story. The psychology of the story is also remarkable in that the characters include a manic-depressive- Harry, and the eccentric Professor along with the extremely laconic Hans. This is a Classic and a must read for the S-F fans who want to learn of the founding of their favorite genre. This is also a good way to introduce children in the pre-teen to early teen age groups to the Classics and S-F.
- Isaac Asimov. The Bicentenial Man and Other Stories, Doubleday & Company, Inc.: Garden City, NY 1976 (211pp.) I purchased this book from the Science Fiction Book Club back in 1979 and I may have read 1-2 stories from it, but if so, I never read the entire book. I finally read it 11-30 to12-24-15. Back in my youth, Asimov was one of my favorites; today I much prefer other authors. However, this book was a joy to read and the light hearted stories manage to examine important issues, usually following the Robot theme. The Bicentennial Man was a great movie with Robin Williams, and the short story was truly great and deserves classic status as it examines the question, What does it mean to be human? It does foretell the future in that there is a gradual melding of the human with the machine, and the machines are taking on human characteristics. There are some mysteries and dramas in this book that use S-F as the setting. If you want to get a glimpse of classic S-F and become acquainted with Asimov this may be the book for you. I highly recommend!
- Fantasy/Alternative Universe
- M. Stirling “The Change Series”
(1). Lord of Mountains. ROC: New York, 2012 (430pp.) Read May 2014.
- SF Mysteries/Jack McDevitt
- 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.
- The Hercules Text, by Jack McDevitt. ACE Books: New York, 1986 but greatly updated in 2015, (353pp.) Read 10-15-15 to 10-19-15. Outstanding! One of the best SF novels I have ever read! This is very different from McDevitt’s other novels in that he is writing in the First Contact genre. McDevitt examines the First Contact scenario from how it impacts those who make the contact. He looks at their professional lives, personal lives, politics, military, health, and RELIGION. This is the best handling of religion by a SF author, even better than Ben Bova. Very thoughtful well rounded book and an exciting read! Highly recommend!
- Coming Home, by Jack McDevitt. ACE Books: New York, 2014 (356pp.) Read 11-08-16 to 11-11-16. Another Very Good mystery by Jack McDevitt with some odd twists in dealing with historical artifacts from my day!
- End of the World/Prepper
- Boyd Craven
- Devil Dog: Out of the Dark. 2016 (245pp.) Read 10-04-16 to 10-08-16. An acceptable effort at a story from after TEOTWAWKI. The theme is a good guy who is somewhat broken takes care of others while fighting gangs of bad guys. I may continue the series.
- Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, 1818, A Norton Critical Edition, Edited by J. Paul Hunter. W.W. Norton&Company: London, 1996 (339 pp., text pp.2-156; critical 157-339.) Read 06-28-16 to 09-11-16. I read the novel many years ago and perhaps the Classics Illustrated comic book as a child and I remember the movie vaguely. But this is the first time I have studied the novel. This is the beginning of the Science Fiction genre but it is so much more than a good, scary story. The Critical section of the Norton Critical Edition was generally very helpful in understanding the various layers of the book and I now see it in a totally different light. I highly recommend this edition! The book definitely deserves its Classic status.
- Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters by Anne K. Mellor. Routledge: London, 1988 (276pp.) Read 09-12-16 to 10-13-16. This was an outstanding biography combined with literary criticism of Shelley’s works. I found the book to be very helpful and mostly understandable. Mary Shelley lived a messed up life and it comes out clearly in her writings. It was sad, really. The depth of understanding that is woven throughout Frankenstein is amazing considering she wrote it when she was 18 years old. I definitely want more of this kind of book whenever I read a classic!
- Frankenstein, A Cultural History, by Susan Tyler Hitchcock. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 2007 (392pp.) Read 10-14-16 to 11-25-16. Outstanding! This book absolutely confirms how important a work was Shelley’s Frankenstein. This book was Very thorough in tracing all of the cultural impact of Frankenstein for the last 200 years. A case can be made for the book being one of the top most influential novels of all time. From sales popularity the book was not that big of a deal in the 1800s and certainly not from a literary critic’s view either. But it did make it to the stage quickly and then, a hundred years later, it took off like a rocket as the science caught up with the novel and the multiplied the value of the novel. Now its place is secure in the canon of Western Literature and the ideas will always remain with us.
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I. Religious Books
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). Christian Beliefs, Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know, by
Wayne A. Grudem, edited by Eliot Grudem. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI.
2005 (159pp.) 06-12-15 to 07-14-15. This is an outstanding, concise, intro-
duction to Bible doctrines. This is largely a serious condensation of
Grudem’s earlier books but the editing is excellent, making this a wonderful
beginner book for a recent convert or someone just beginning to get excited
about Bible doctrine. I highly recommend!
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!
(6). God’s Inerrant Word: An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture, John Warwick Montgomery, editor. Bethany House Publishers: Minneapolis, Minnesota 1978 (288pp.) Partially read in 1998; read again, complete, 06-18-15 to 08-07-15. This is an outstanding book, especially considering that it is an anthology with multiple authors. This very thoroughly covers the subject. Sproul’s last chapter is particularly great! Highly recommend but this is, at times, some pretty deep stuff!
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. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
(1). Names of the Holy Spirit by Ray Pritchard. Moody Press: Chicago, 1995 (214pp.) Read as a daily devotion 04-14-15 to 09-25-15. This is an excellent biblical study of the names of the Holy Spirit from Genesis to Revelation. Despite the fact that this is a devotional book, he covers a lot of biblical ground and thoroughly explains and applies the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. 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.
3. The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Zechariah, by Barry G. Webb. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL 2003 (186pp.) Read 06-01-15 to 07-21-15. This is an outstanding, gospel centered, conservative commentary that is perfect for devotions or sermon prep. Webb really helped me understand Zechariah, which is not the easiest of the minor-prophets to grasp. Highly recommend! Read in preparation for a sermon series on Zechariah by Pastor Bret Rogers at Redeemer Church, Fort Worth, Aug. 2015.
4. Fries, Micah; Rummage, Stephen; Gallaty, Robby. Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Holman Reference: Nashville, TN 2015 (pp.79-195). Read July-August 2015. Outstanding! Nice, perfect, organized sermons, very good!
5. Hill, Andrew E. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. IVP Academic: Downers Grove, IL 2012 (368pp., “Zechariah”, pp.103-273). Read 08-22-15 to 10-03-15. This was an outstanding commentary!
6. Gregory, Bryan R. The Gospel According to the Old Testament series, Longing for God in an Age of Discouragement, The Gospel According to Zechariah. P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 2010 (264pp.) Read 10-06-15 to 11-05-15. This is an outstanding expositional commentary! Highly recommend!
b. New Testament
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!
(This brief talk was given Sunday, November 8, 2015 at my church)
Introduction: I am here this morning to give you a brief talk about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. We are going to begin with a few survey questions, then give the briefest of histories of the Southern Baptists, the SBC missions efforts, and the Cooperative Program, then we will look quickly at Lottie Moon’s story, and close with the challenge set before us.
1. How many of you are NOT born and bred Southern Baptists? If you were not raised in the SBC please raise your hand and wave vigorously!
2. How many of you have attended SWBTS or are married to someone who attended, or the College, or are or have been employed by the Seminary, raise your hand and wave.
3. How many of you have served on the foreign mission field as a Southern Baptist or were raised by parents who were missionaries, or you have gone on a mission trip overseas with this church or another SBC church?
4. This question is for the children and youth, have you ever given any money to the church offering?
A Brief History of Southern Baptists, SBC Missions, and the Cooperative Program:
As we saw in our survey, there are many in our congregation who did not grow up as Southern Baptists and may not be as familiar with our history, and the Lottie Moon story as those of us who grew up in the SBC.
The earliest Baptist Church in America may be the First Baptist Church of Charlestown, SC, founded in 1682 although Roger Williams founded a Baptist Church in Providence RI in 1638. But the Baptists were pretty much one bunch of folks and needed to fund missions somehow so in 1814 the fiercely independent Baptist Churches formed the Triennial Convention (they only met once every three years and were based in Philadelphia) to combine their funds in missionary efforts. This was the first nation-wide Baptist denomination but spawned another group of Baptists to break off who were opposed to combining efforts for missions. One of the Baptists’ core ideas is independent, local congregations, freedom, and the idea of cooperating with other churches kind of went against the grain.
The issue of slavery, however, was soon to cause another division in the Baptists. By 1844 the Triennial Convention’s mission society had stopped appointing Baptists from the South because they supported slavery and in 1845 Baptists in the South formed the Southern Baptist Convention so that they could appoint missionaries. It wasn’t until 1995 that the SBC formally voted on a resolution renouncing its racist past even though a large number of SBC churches had already become multi-racial and fully integrated. But the bottom line is that the SBC was founded by a sinful people who still believed in Jesus and were committed to spreading the gospel on the frontier and overseas. We remain a sinful people, committed to spreading the gospel with missionaries overseas. When I was growing up in the SBC the only part of the story I was told was that we were founded in order to send missionaries, the whole slavery thing was left out. But I believe that sinful part of our story is important, it demonstrates God’s amazing grace to a bunch of sinners in that he still used us to spread His gospel.
During the early decades of SBC life, and during Lottie Moon’s time, Baptist missions were funded by the Society Method, meaning that separate individuals formed the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (established at the urging of the English Baptist, William Carey). This was outside the denominational structure and could be subscribed to by individuals or churches as they saw fit, but it was a very inefficient method of raising money for missions as most of the money raised went to pay the costs of raising money! The SBC finally adopted the Co-Operative Program in 1925, 13 years after Lottie Moon’s death. The SBC immediately saw an increase in funding for missions and the program has served us very well now for 90 years.
The Cooperative Program funds all the SBC agencies and programs besides missions, but gives just over 50% of its funds to the IMB. Those of you who have attended SWBTS and raised your hands earlier are beneficiaries of the Cooperative Program as some of that money helps fund the seminaries which keeps costs down for the students and provides jobs for those who work there. Our church gives a set percentage of our income to the Cooperative Program every month. But as efficient as the Cooperative Program is, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is even More efficient. The money the IMB receives from the Cooperative Program covers all the administrative costs of the IMB PLUS goes to the missionaries, but 100% of every dollar from the Lottie Moon offering goes directly overseas to real live missionaries. So boys and girls, when you place that nickel, that dime, that quarter, or that dollar bill in the offering for Lottie Moon, every bit of that money goes to a missionary and their work in foreign lands. It is the most efficient giving plan for missions ever. Now let me talk briefly about Lottie Moon herself.
Lottie Moon, Charlotte Digges Moon, (her nickname, Lottie, came from the last part of Charlotte) was born in Va. on a big plantation (with over 50 slaves) called Viewmont on Dec. 12, 1840, and her parents were instrumental in building a Baptist church in the nearby town of Scottsville. Lottie and her siblings observed a lot of quarreling in their family over differences in religion as one side of the family joined the Campbellites, or the Disciples, so they kids avoided church whenever they could. Her father died when she was 13 and at 14 she was sent to a boarding school. After graduating from that school she attended Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottsville where she built an impressive academic record and began a romantic relationship with her teacher Crawford H. Toy. Lottie was very petite at only 4’3”. Let me ask Miss Katy **** to come forward as an illustration….(Katy, how old are you? “Eight.” And how tall are you Katy? “4’4”. Well, Miss Katy, you are 1” taller than Miss Lottie Moon was!) Lottie was small physically but she was an intellectual power house who learned several classical and modern languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Italian and Spanish, and, of course, Chinese).
Lottie went to a revival preached by John Broadus in 1858 and was saved by God’s grace. She went on to become a teacher, but believed the Lord was calling her to be a missionary to China a year after her younger sister, Edmonia, went to China as a missionary in 1872. Lottie was appointed by the SBC to serve in China at the age of 33 and served til she died in 1912 at the age of 72. Lottie broke off her engagement to Professor Toy over a couple of issues: she believed Toy had departed the faith, having been corrupted by German liberal scholarship and she believed in her call to serve as a missionary in China. She committed to be single.
We have several, wonderful single ladies in our church that I want to encourage with the story of Lottie Moon, used by God to lead a revival in China. Tricia*** (single lady in the church), how many mission trips have you been on with Redeemer Church? “5”. God uses single ladies in missions! Consigned to being a teacher in a school for Chinese children, Lottie felt that her gifts were being underutilized. In 1885 she moved to the interior of China and began full time evangelism with Chinese women who could not be reached by the male missionaries. The Lord gave her hundreds of converts and churches were planted.
Lottie endured war, plagues, famines and political upheavals during her 39 years in China. Her letters home pleading for money and changes in policies greatly affected the SBC and their missions programs leading to the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. But her real success lay in the Church in China which grew and grew, survived and thrived under the communist takeover and the subsequent cultural revolution and severe persecution. Today there are more Christians in China than any other country in the world, in large part to the way the Lord used Lottie Moon, and a sinful people known as Southern Baptists.
Over the next several weeks, pray for what the Lord would have you contribute to this Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions.
Allen, Catherine B. The New Lottie Moon Story, Second Edition. Women’s Missionary Union: Birmingham, Alabama 1980 (320pp.)
Barnes, W.W. The Southern Baptist Convention 1845-1953. Broadman Press: Nashville, TN 1954 (329pp.)