Friday, October 16, 2015

7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

This excellent book chronicles the lives and influence of seven great women. While I had heard of five (Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa), the life stories of most were not known to me. I was not familiar with Hannah More or Saint Maria of Paris. Metaxas effectively narrates the early years of all the subjects and then articulates how their lives affected others, from their families to wider circles and then finally to history itself. The accounts are fascinating and thought provoking. It is a book you could pick up agian and again to remind yourself of the importance of faithfulness in things large and small. The introduction itself was intriguing, where the author talks about his choice of subjects. As he considered suggestions, he said, “What struck me as wrong about these suggestions was that they presumed women should somehow be compared to men. But it seemed wrong to view great women in that way. The great men in Seven Men were not measured against women, so why should the women in Seven Women be measured against men? I wondered what was behind this way of seeing things, that women should be defined against men? Or that men and women should even be compared to each other?” It is this honesty and thoughtfulness that flavors this outstanding book, which I highly recommend. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased reviewed through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program. The First Family Detail by Ronald Kessler Subtitled, “Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents”, this book half fulfilled its promise. Included are anecdotes about virtually every president since Kennedy with a few vice presidents thrown in for good measure. Few of the accounts will leave you thinking more highly of the subject. It would be well to note that half the book is dedicated to the premise that the Secret Service cuts corners and is mismanaged, a repeated point made in so belabored a way that one wonders if this was not the author’s main goal in writing this book. A typical point is made on page 231, “Much like a car that never gets regular maintenance and oil changes, the seven-thousand-employee Secret Service lurches along until a tragdy like the Kennedy assaination forces it to rectify deficiencies.” Page 248 incudes this statement: “The fact that Secret Service management has a lackadaisical attitude about securtiy and routinely orders agents to cut corners no doubt contributed to the fact that a uniformed officer with a dog thought he could get away with sitting in his van talking on his personal cell phone.” Be forewarned that The First Family Detail seesaws between anecdotes about First Families and haranguing on the deficits of the Secret Service. In my opinion, both subjects would have been better served had they been addressed in different books. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.