Book Reviews

Reviews of books that I have read and would recommend to my readers.

Amusing Ourselves To Death

by Larry Hehn on January 28, 2013

Amusing Ourselves To DeathRead Chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah in the Bible, compare it to the life and ministry of Jesus, and you’ll likely see some parallels. There’s something to be said about the benefit of hindsight, seeing a prophetic work lived out with uncanny accuracy.

I felt the same way as I read Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman.

First published in 1985, then released with a new introduction in 2005, Postman’s prophetic words warned of the effects that popular media (which at the time was pretty much television) would have on our culture.

Though written before the age of the Internet, cell phones, DVDs, HDTVs and iPods, it’s amazing to see how Postman’s thoughts have become even more relevant today.

He often refers to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which society falls not to outward oppression, but to its own distractions and passivity.

Postman argues, “Forms of media favor particular kinds of content and therefore are capable of taking command of a culture.”

He continues, “A great media-metaphor shift has taken place in America, with the result that the content of much of our public discourse has become dangerous nonsense.”

Like it or not, I found it impossible not to agree.

We’re being duped.

Willingly even.

Almost unknowingly.

Look around and you’ll see it everywhere.

Politics. Religion. News. Sports. Education. Commerce.

These days, image trumps substance.

Christianity isn’t exempt.

Postman hit me between the eyes when he said, “I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether.”

Hmm…wonder which kind most of us are looking for?

There is no easy cure. And as Postman aptly notes, “not everyone believes a cure is needed.”

But for those who’ve ever had a nagging feeling that society is headed sideways and can’t quite figure out why…

For those who would rather swallow the painful red pill of reality than the blue pill of blissful ignorance…

For those who feel called to more in life than simply drowning in a “sea of amusements”…

This is required reading.

Not necessarily an easy read. Not always a comfortable read. But oh so vital.

Just like with Isaiah 53 and Jesus, hold the prophetic words of Amusing Ourselves To Death next to our Information Age society, and the parallels are undeniable.

It’s up to us what we do with it. Will you choose the red pill or the blue?

This book was bought with my own hard-earned cash. It was not a freebie, so I felt no obligation to endorse it. I was not required to write a positive review. As a rule I only post reviews of books that I enjoy, and that I feel will be beneficial to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Embedded in this review is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you follow the link from here and buy a copy of this book, Amazon will award me a 4% commission on the purchase.

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Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, Reborn

by Larry Hehn on October 8, 2012

UndeadGrowing up, I fondly remember sleepovers at my friend Patrick’s house, munching Doritos and having fart contests while watching scary black-and-white movies on his basement TV.

I’m not even sure why, but the only one of those old flicks I remember was a B movie from 1958 called Giant from the Unknown. I think it was my first exposure to a movie character actually coming back from the dead.

Zombies weren’t as much a part of mainstream culture back then as they are today, but throughout history it seems we as humans have carried a fascination with death, dying, and the possibilty of coming back from the dead.

Today you don’t have to look very far to find stories of zombies or vampires – the “undead”. What is it about the undead that fascinates us so  much? What can we learn about ourselves from this fascination?

What if we have actually been created with eternity in mind? What if physical death is not necessarily the end after all? Where can we discover this hope of becoming spiritually Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn?

I’ve been a fan of author Clay Morgan for years, following his infectious enthusiasm for pop culture, history and education. He combines the three masterfully here in his first book, Undead.

Morgan takes us on a journey through the world of the undead, from fictional pop culture to actual events documented in scripture. He sheds light on several Biblical stories where people have been brought back from the dead.

With an unexpected, healthy dose of humor throughout and undeniable passion, Morgan shows us that, like those many Biblical characters were physically called back from death to life, so we are called by God out of our spiritual death to new life. A very encouraging and entertaining read!

Want to become revived, resuscitated, reborn? Get Undead!

This book was bought with my own hard-earned cash. It was not a freebie, so I felt no obligation to endorse it. I was not required to write a positive review. As a rule I only post reviews of books that I enjoy, and that I feel will be beneficial to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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AIDS: A Burden of Silence

by Larry Hehn on February 4, 2012

A Burden of SilenceSpeak about AIDS today, and you may still encounter much ignorance and fear.

Think back to 1988, a time when AIDS was even more misunderstood.

Imagine finding out that your mother was infected with the HIV virus through a blood transfusion, and was slowly dying of AIDS.

Imagine choosing to keep her battle a secret in order to avoid her being ostracized.

Imagine watching your mother suffer for years in silence.

This is Nancy Draper’s story. A story that needs to be heard.

A Burden of Silence not only brings us face to face with the realities of a family member battling AIDS, but also with the misperceptions and social stigma that have followed this disease.

Ultimately, though, it is the story of a daughter’s love for her mother, and how finally breaking the silence can transform one woman’s battle into a blessing for countless others and their families.

I received a copy of this book from the author, along with a request for review. I was not required to write a positive review. As a rule I only post reviews of books that I enjoy, and that I feel will be beneficial to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Embedded in this review is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you follow the link from here and buy a copy of this book, Amazon will award me a 4% commission on the purchase.

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