Reviews of books written on subjects/themes of interest to ICN readers - reviewed from a Catholic/Christian perspective.

Book: The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages

The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages, by FX Fauvelle, publisher: Princeton University Press.

Too little is known of the pre-colonial history of Africa, partly because there are almost no surviving accounts written by Africans, and partly because Europeans refused to believe there were sophisticated empires on the continent before they arrived.


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Book: Smile of Joy

Smile of Joy (Mary of Nazareth) by Thomas Casey SJ. Messenger Publications. GK Chesterton maintained in (What's wrong with the World .. 1910 ) that it was not that Christianity had failed but that it had never been tried. As a young priest I was stunned when my cousin aimed a similar arrow at me. "Do you know what is wrong with you priests ?" and before I had time to answer...

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Book: The Man Behind the Menu by Greg Watts

This romp through the world of celebrity chefs, trendy restaurants and foodies, by Catholic author Greg Watts, follows the career of gastronomic wizard Frank Darley. Not content with his prime time TV show, series of best-selling recipe books and swarms of admiring fans - he has set his sights on the prestigious Golden Pan award - and devised an audacious plan with which he hopes to defeat all ...

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Book: Food Most Royal

The book - 'Food Most Royal: Nurture for Posterity' - resulted from an urgent ongoing appeal from farmers in Nigeria when in the 1970s they begged for help because their land was dying and their yams were rotting. The terms care of the earth and food security used so often in Laudato si and commonplace now, were not used in the 1970s; but farmers saw exactly what was happening. It was my privil...

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How to look at Stained Glass - (a guide to the Church Windows of England)

How to look at Stained Glass - A guide to the Church Windows of England by Jane Brocket. Publisher: B Tauris. London, New York.

A Christmas Star. At the risk of being accused of using cliché may I say that this book is a must for your Christmas gift list. The words quoted in the book- "Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord " (Bk of Daniel) - are an accurate s...

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Book: Echo Hall by Virginia Moffatt

The 100th anniversary of the end of World War I is an appropriate time to review a book which explores the impact of war on families, and celebrates the actions of conscientious objectors and anti-war activists. At the beginning there is a quote from war correspondent Robert Fisk, talking about standing on the paving stone in Sarajevo where a gunman fired the fatal shot that sent his father to ...

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Booklet: Stories of the Great War

This Sunday commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. These stories, collected by Eileen Boland, who was married to the CTS general secretary, come from the first year of the War, when British involvement was mostly limited to the men of the Regular Army and the Territorial Force.

Many of the stories concern French clergy in uniform; the anti-clerical governmen...

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Eating Disorders: caring for yourself and others

The author, Julie Jeffs, a counsellor and psychotherapist, first tells of her own eating disorder as a teenager. This raw honesty puts the cream on this sensitive practical approach to individuals suffering from eating disorders. Her key starter sets the tone: "It isn't what or how they're eating: it's what's eating them." Having given a clear definition of the three types of eating disorder - ...

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Suicide: An understanding and compassionate approach

Suicide: An understanding and compassionate approach by Dr Adrian Treloar - Redemptorist Publications, £5.99 The author, a Christian consultant and psychiatrist, does exactly what it says in the title: through individual stories and his own experience he provides a pastoral approach that is understanding and compassionate. Suicide, as he says "is a huge tragedy for...

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Martin Scorsese speaks at launch of Pope's new book

Film director Martin Scorsese was guest of honour at the launch of Sharing the Wisdom of Time, by Pope Francis, at the Augustinianum Institute in Rome on Tuesday afternoon. The event was opened by Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, of Panama, who will be welcoming the Holy Father to World Youth Day next January.

Sharing the Wisdom of Time, which includes the stories of young and old...

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Book: Childhood sexual abuse: Caring for yourself and others

Childhood sexual abuse: Caring for yourself and others, by Dr Michael Paterson, Redemptorist Publications, pbk, 2018, £5.99 "Sexual abuse is devastating." From the opening lines of this superb booklet the reader is given a clear and deeply pastoral approach to the delicate issue of child sexual abuse. The hurt is palpable in these pages, and the issue is faced full-on, wit...

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Nigeria: New book on food security and importance of biodiversity

'Food Most Royal' is a weighty book written by Sr Nora McNamara and Professor Stephen Morse who have previously published several books, as well as journal articles, dealing mainly with international development and environmental issues. The book is about how we can work towards growing enough for everyone, available at the right quality, and an affordable price. The Foreword was written by Dar...

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Book Review: Practicing God's Radical Forgiveness

What does forgiveness mean? The notion of forgiveness has evolved over the centuries, and yet it remains prized by both perpetrators and victims. The distinguished American theologian Jeffrey Bullock explores three forms of forgiveness: the personal or therapeutic, the communal, such as when a society tries to mend itself after conflict, and the divine, which is "the unexpected, the uninvited, ...

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Book review: TERMINAL ILLNESS - Caring for yourself and others

Written by three West Country professionals, this booklet deals with terminal illness, firstly giving a clear definition of what it is. Strictly speaking, it is an illness that cannot be cured and that may shorten life expectancy. But more commonly it is referred to as a life-limiting condition.

Apart from cancer, it may include chronic diseases affecting major organs such as heart, lungs...

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