SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Charlie Hegarty

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September 05, 2019
Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself By Florian Huber Allen Lane, 304pp, £20/$24 This is an inauspicious title for a thought-provoking book. Its subtitle, The Downfall of Ordinary Germans in 1945, provides the clue to its meaning. Huber, who was born in Nuremberg in 1967, says he was inspired to write it after reading Ian Kershaw’s
July 11, 2019
Before and After By Alison Wilson Constable, 192pp, £16.99/$25 From its cover photograph you might think this is an ordinary account of a wartime marriage. Its subtitle suggests something stranger: The Incredible Story of the Real-Life Mrs Wilson is indeed extraordinary, both in its human dimension and its supernatural one. And in an unusual twist,
May 30, 2019
Elizabeth Jennings: The Inward War By Dana Greene OUP, 288pp, £25/$35 Dana Greene has written a sympathetic and perceptive study of the life of Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001). In under 300 pages, she handles the major themes of Jennings’s poetry, relating them to stages of the poet’s life, and deals insightfully with the “inward war” that
March 28, 2019
Unplanned By Abby Johnson Ignatius Press, 304pp, £12.99/$16.99 The author, formerly working for Planned Parenthood as the director of an abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas, became famous when she left her job in 2009 after watching an abortion take place on ultrasound. She joined Coalition for Life, the organisation that had for years mounted prayer
January 17, 2019
The Crossway by guy stagg, picador, 400pp, £16.99/$20 Guy Stagg’s book is about a long walk he made from Canterbury to Jerusalem in 2013 when he was 25. As a cure for the severe depression from which he was suffering, it proved effective. The act of walking eight hours a day, six days a week,
November 08, 2018
Charlie Hegarty hails a brave minority voice from 1968 The Encyclical Humanae Vitae By Dietrich von Hildebrand, Hildebrand Press, 136pp, £8.99 This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, explaining why the Church cannot change her teaching on the wrongness of artificial birth control. It is fair to say that
October 18, 2018
The Year of Thamar’s Book by Lucy Beckett, Gracewing, 520pp, £20 In this ambitious novel of 500 pages Lucy Beckett, whose previous work has been set in the Reformation period and in East Germany before and after the last war, has chosen another unusual setting: France and the Algerian War as the French engaged in
October 04, 2018
The Abolition of Women by Fiorella Nash, Ignatius Press, 240pp, £14 If readers are mystified by Fiorella Nash’s title, her subtitle explains her subject: How Radical Feminism is Betraying Women. Nash, who describes herself as a “pro-life feminist” and has 10 years’ experience researching life issues from a feminist perspective, has written a passionate, well-researched
August 23, 2018
Dangerous Illusions by Vitaly Malkin, Arcadia, 416pp, £25 Why read a lavishly produced, glossy hardback book with the subtitle How Religion Deprives Us of Happiness? After all, it is likely to be provocative, ill-informed and written with all the passion of militant atheism. Dangerous Illusions is all these things, but I was nonetheless curious about
August 16, 2018
Dorothy Day: An Introduction by Terence C Wright, Ignatius, 162pp, £12 The author, an academic at the St John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, has written an excellent short introduction to the life of this most human of women, whose Cause has been introduced. For those who do not yet know Dorothy Day, this book
June 21, 2018
The Work I Did by Brunhilde Pomsel, Bloomsbury, 240pp £16.99 The value of this memoir, written from interview recordings made in 2013 by the author, then aged 102, is that it shows, both by what it says and by what it omits, what it was like to be an ordinary young German woman in Berlin
May 24, 2018
James Ravilious: A Life by Robin Ravilious, Wilmington Square, 248pp, £17 Some people’s lives are worth remembering not because they have played a major historical or artistic role in society but because they have lived out their vocation in life with integrity and dedication. Such is the life of James Ravilious, the photographer of rural
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