The Broken Way

Ann Voskamp's style is hard for some people to take. Her books are prose poetry, and those who are interested in a strictly academic systematic theology will be disappointed. I find that her writing style is the most common criticism by people who don't like her books. I, however, love the way she writes. It's like an amalgam of T.S. Eliot and Bonhoeffer.

Another criticism I've heard of Voskamp is that her theology is heretical mysticism that perverts the gospel. I read one "discernment" blogger saying that she could hear the whispering of the serpent through Ann Voskamp's writing. I honestly don't get this one at all. I didn't find any trace of bad doctrine in this book at all. Maybe she emphasizes things in a different way than I would, maybe she uses non-standard theological vocabulary, but what she is presenting here is a pretty solid theology of suffering such as Martin Luther would have undoubtedly approved. She's also probably more well…

Crusades

When I saw Crusades at the library, I knew that I had to read it. I mean, seriously, a book about the Crusades from Terry Jones of Monty Python fame? I had already watched the Medieval Lives BBC documentary series from Terry Jones and loved the way it debunked common myths about the Middle Ages.

Now, given the author and the purpose of this book, originally written as a companion to an A&E series, I wasn't expecting a lot from this book other than a rollicking fun read. I was surprised then to find that it closely followed the primary sources for the Crusades and took account of some really good scholarship to boot. It was a fun read, but it was also a good, solid introduction to the Crusades, written with an eye to telling a good story. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a broad overview of this complicated period in history. The only negative thing about the books was Jones's persistent cynicism, but of course that's only to be expected.

 4/5 stars

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