Bible, History & Politics for Adults

RESISTANCE: Jews and Christians who Defied the Nazi Terror by Nechama Tec. In Resistance, Tec draws on first-hand accounts, interviews, and other sources to reveal the full range of tactics employed to resist the Nazi regime in Poland. The Jewish resistance had its own particular aims, especially the recovery of dignity and the salvation of lives. Tec argues that resistance is more than not submitting--that it requires taking action, and demands cooperation with others and the outside world. This resistance came in many forms, which often included the most fundamental of human relationships—kindness, friendship and companionship.

THIS CHILD WILL BE GREAT Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  In November 2005, Liberian women flocked to voting tables all across their war-racked country to elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Africa’s first female president. It was a decisive moment in the political history of not just Liberia but the entire continent, where patriarchal rule has long dominated, leaving African women on the sidelines.  This memoir traces Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s rise to power and the development of her distinctive leadership style, reveals her innovative philosophies of governance, and offers her reflections on current world affairs.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM: the Autobiography of Nelson Mandela.  This is an articulate, moving account of Mandela's life from his childhood to his inauguration as president of South Africa on May 10, 1994. Mandela traces the growth of his understanding of the oppression of the blacks of South Africa; his conviction that there was no alternative to armed struggle; his developing belief that all people, black and white, must be free for true freedom; and the effect that his commitment to overthrowing apartheid had on his family, who "paid a terrible price." Over a third of Mandela's memoir tells of his 27 years in prison, an account that could stand alone as a prison narrative. He ends his book with the conclusion that his "long walk" for freedom has just begun: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."   

FREEDOM IN EXILE the Autobiography of the Dalai Lama. Throughout his story, told without arrogance, the Dalai Lama reveals his obligation both to address the time-honored spiritual needs of his people and to help them deal with the practical considerations of their interrupted lives. Anyone wanting to understand Tibet today will do well to read this tale of coping with the ancient and modern worlds that have shaped this man.

 

HEALING IN THE WILDERNESS A History of the United Church Mission Hospitals by Bob Burrows. This book describes how medical missionaries responded to crises, emergencies and sudden illnesses—including grizzly bear attacks and airplane crashes—without modern technology or urban hospitals. It portrays the small missions and infirmaries and  how their staff handled life and death in the deep bush, on mountain ranges, in First Nations communities,  on trackless prairies and on distant islands. It describes the sacrifices of devoted physicians, nurses and their families as they healed the sick and wounded, often under dreadful circumstances.

ABRAHAM: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce Feiler.    The book follows Feiler as he tries to uncover who Abraham was, how he is perceived by Jews, Christians, and Muslims today, and whether or not he can serve as a unifying figure for his feuding descendants.  Feiler finds an Abraham that can be brought back, recreated in a sense, to rescue us from modernity’s ethno-religious morass. This Abraham is in certain parts of the bible and the Koran, and also in the hearts of the world’s religious thinkers and leaders

RU by Kim Thúy.  The word Ru, in Vietnamese, means a lullaby. A song. Montreal writer Kim Thúy, born in Saigon, came to Canada as a refugee in 1979. This slim volume touches on an impressive range of cultural and historical incidents, woven through this fictional family’s decades-long arc of prosperity, suffering and piecemeal recovery. This novel is a lyrical reminder to approach one another with compassion.

NIGHT by Elie Wiesel with a new preface by the author and a new translation by Marion Wiesel. Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent.

And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets humanity’s capacity for heartlessness..