Book review: The Emperor, by Ryszard Kapuściński

THE EMPEROR : downfall of an autocrat, by Ryszard Kapuściński. Translated from Polish by William R. Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand. New York: Vintage, 1983. 164 pp. ISBN–10 0151287716 Forty years ago today, the deposed absolute ruler of Ethiopia died in prison after more than 40 years on the throne. Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah, […]

Book review: Our Great Big American God

OUR GREAT BIG AMERICAN GOD : a short history of our ever-growing deity, by Matthew Paul Turner. New York: Jericho Books, 2014. 241 pp. ISBN 9781455547340 This is a book about the history of Christianity in America, written by a young, white, evangelical blogger from Nashville, Tennessee. As best I can tell, Matthew Paul Turner […]

Orobpa, Qoqzaz… Is the “ISIS map” for real?

No one has been able to give a source for this map. It just “appeared on the Internet” as a map of the “Islamic State” envisioned by the eponymous rebel army that has taken over cities in Syria and Iraq. Is this map for real? So many people have reposted it (including some so-called news […]

How many Muslims are joining ISIS?

How many Muslims have gone to join the violent psychopaths of ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever we’re supposed to call it? According to some, such as the ex-Muslim celebrity Ayaan Hirsi Ali, every Muslim is supposed to support ISIS. I mean, most Muslims are good people, but their religion is backward, tribal, and in need […]

Mr. Netanyahu goes to Washington

Image (above): Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther, oil painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660. Netanyahu drew on the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, in his speech to the U.S. Congress. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. This time, he […]

Book review: Empire of the Summer Moon

EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON : Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history, by S. C. Gwynne, New York: Scribner, ©2010. ISBN 978–1416591061 As a student of American Indian history (in the Southeast), I have been asked more than once whether I’ve read this popular […]