Category Archives: Nonfiction Books

Christians Killing Christians

Here is a great book review at The Christian Century on the book The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade.

Philip Jenkins builds upon this specialized historiography as it treats the Great War as a global religious conflict. His vividly written synthesis be­longs at the top of reading lists on the conflict.

Not only does Jenkins provide detailed accounts of interactions between religion and militarism, religion and combat, and religion and trauma on all sides of the war, he also demonstrates that the world torn apart by the Great War was a world of many shared religious concerns and vocabularies, a world that needed the extreme fission that religion accomplishes in order to launch and sustain such a brutal conflict.

25th Anniversary

“I don’t know that the United States learned anything from it.” Oliver Stone speaking recently on the Vietnam War at Ebertfest.

Here’s one we can’t forget on our People page, whenever we get around to finally making it: Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July.

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Mr. Kovic contributed this letter for the American people to the MY HERO website on Sept. 14, 2001.

Dear Friends,

My heart and soul weeps with everyone in America right now. I was deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. I didn’t sleep much again last night, as it’s been for me, and I’m sure so many others since Tuesday. I wonder if we will ever sleep “normally” again? I have thought about it a lot and I am deeply disheartened by the blind patriotism, hatred and desire for revenge that I see growing more and more in this country each day. Resorting to violence and warfare is a great mistake. The painful anguish resulting from this senseless act of violence stirs in all of us a desire for swift retribution. I strongly believe that to move in this direction will lead us into a terrible and disastrous war which we, as a people and a nation, may never recover from. It is a dark and dangerous time in America, and I, in good conscience, will never support such an act of madness! We seem to have learned nothing from Vietnam, and those of us who have come to understand through great suffering the awful waste and deep immorality of war, are not being listened to. Those of us who have found that love and forgiveness are more powerful than hatred are not being heard. We remain invisible, isolated and alone, voices in the wilderness in a country that has truly gone mad. I encourage all of you to raise your voices on behalf of peace and non-violence everywhere. I love this country so much that I don’t want to see it go through the senselessness and agony of war ever again.

With love and a sincere hope for peace!

Ron Kovic

Ron Kovic at an anti-war rally in Los Angeles, California on October 12, 2007.

Ron Kovic at an anti-war rally in Los Angeles, California on October 12, 2007.


Archibald Baxter

Archibald Baxter, Catholic Conscientious Objector from New Zealand

Archibald Baxter, Catholic Conscientious Objector from New Zealand

From Lest We Forget:

Archibald Baxter was a hard working farmer, Catholic and pacifist. In 1915, when he was 33, Baxter was arrested, sent to prison, then as one of 14 conscientious objectors, shipped under guard to France where he was forced to the front line against his will. Punished to the limits of his physical and mental endurance, Baxter was stripped of all dignity, beaten, starved and placed directly in the line of fire. Field Punishment No.1, which Baxter and his fellow conscientious objectors received regularly, included ‘the crucifixion’, in which they were tied to a post, their hands, knees and feet bound and held in this position for up to four hours a day. In later life Baxter published We Will Not Cease, an autobiography which recounted his experiences as a pacifist.




Means, Motive, Opportunity

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

anotherAn important new book called “Another 19: Investigating 9/11 Suspects” has been written by Kevin Robert Ryan, investigating “another 19” possible suspects besides Osama bin Laden and the handful of young Arabs, suspects who had three key things in any investigation: means, motive, and opportunity.

Before you dismiss it as a “conspiracy theory,” keep in mind that the official narrative of 9/11 is itself a conspiracy theory which has not been proven true by any acceptable standard. For a quick overview of the official conspiracy theory, watch this well done video (five minutes):


Mike Lofgren on The Deep State

As a former Congressional staff member with top secret security clearance, Mike Lofgren crunched the numbers for 28 years as part of the House and Senate Budget Committees and found that the numbers didn’t add up. The numbers led him to connect the dots to America’s “deep state”: where elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. He left the Republican party and wrote The Party Is Over.

Now he has written an essay called The Anatomy of the Deep State. It is a must-read.

An interview with Bill Moyers is below. “He says: I’m not a conspiracy theorist…This is something that hides in plain sight. It’s something we know about but we can’t connect the dots, or most people can’t.”

He talks about a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state. He also talks about Group Think, “a kind of assimilation of the views of your superiors and peers,” a all out plague in Washington.

Moyers: “If the ideology of the deep state is not right or left, Democrat or Republican, what is it?”

Lofgren: “It’s an ideology. I just don’t think we’ve named it. It’s kind of corporatism. Now the actors in this drama tend to steer clear of social issues. They pretend to be merely neutral servants of the State giving the best advice possible on national security or financial matters, but they hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization and they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is: boots on the ground everywhere, it’s our right to meddle everywhere in the world, and the result of that is perpetual war.

He does end on a hopeful note:

The Catholic Peace Tradition

If only every student at a Catholic high school or college was required to read this book! I am reading it now and highly recommend it.

This book is a history of the peace tradition in the Roman Catholic Church from the time of the Gospels to the twentieth century. Its purpose is to show that there is a continuing, unbroken, and self-sustaining stream within Catholicism from the martyrs and pacifists of the early church to John XXIII and the peacemakers of our time.

Read the reviews on Amazon.

peace tradition

“To reach peace, teach peace.” — Pope John Paul II


Kill Anything That Moves



From Amazon:

Based on classified documents and first-person interviews, a startling history of the American war on Vietnamese civilians.

The American Empire Project
Winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction

Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by just a few “bad apples.” But as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of official orders to “kill anything that moves.”

Drawing on more than a decade of research into secret Pentagon archives and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time the workings of a military machine that resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded—what one soldier called “a My Lai a month.” Devastating and definitive, Kill Anything That Moves finally brings us face-to-face with the truth of a war that haunts America to this day.

Afghanistan: A Distant War


From Amazon:

Noted documentary photographer Robert Nickelsberg’s photographs help bring into focus the day-to-day consequences of war, poverty, oppression, and political turmoil in Afghanistan. Since the attack on the World Trade Center, Afghanistan has evolved from a country few people thought twice about to a place that evokes our deepest emotions. TIME magazine photographer Robert Nickelsberg has been publishing his images of this distant yet all too familiar country since 1988, when he accompanied a group of mujahideen across the border from Pakistan. This remarkable volume of photographs is accompanied by insightful texts from experts on Afghanistan and the Taliban. The images themselves are captioned with places, dates, and Nickelsberg’s own extensive commentary. Timely and important, the book serves as a reminder that Afghanistan and the rest of the world remain inextricably linked, no matter how much we long to distance ourselves from its painful realities.

Plenary Assembly, International Theological Commission

*** This was written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy. We have inserted the images.***

Are the bishops, priests and deacons in the Catholic Church in the United States listening to this fellow? How about Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia? If the Pope had said that Catholics must return to the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue only, the U.S., British, Irish, etc. airwaves, TV, radio talk shows, Internet, papers, magazines and pulpits—from the far right to the middle of the road to the far left—would be ceaselessly and volcanically bellowing in all directions. However, the Pope says, “The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately lifeimpossible,” and the silence is so total that you can hear a U.S. drone strike seven thousand miles away in Pakistan—if you care to listen. Communion on the tongue or in the hand is an utter irrelevancy. Christ’s refusal of violence, His overcoming evil with good, thereby making recourse to violence for the Christian impossible is as strong an indictment as can be made on the failure to catechize and spiritually guide the Catholic flock along the Way of Jesus in many countries of the world. Yet all of the Catholic right, middle and a significant percentage of the Catholic left “ho hum” it. The use of calculated silent indifference as a method of refusing to acknowledge that something of ultimate importance is being said is the bread and butter of corporate mass media, I would think that the use of such a methodology by Church leaders would cause them to sleep poorly at night.

Here is Pope Francis on Vatican radio.

(Vatican Radio, 1/15/14) Pope Francis received the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the International Theological Commission on Friday. The three main themes the Commission is addressing throughout the course of its current five-year study period are: the relations between monotheism and violence; the social doctrine of the Church; and, the “sense of the faith.” Speaking of the possible perversions of authentic faith in the one true God, Pope amenFrancis said, “The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately impossible. It is precisely because of [Christ’s] refusal of violence, because of his having overcome evil with good, with the blood of his Cross, that Jesus has reconciled men to God and each other.”

P.S. If you would like a good warm-up piece to read before the International Theological Commission publishes its full text (only a very brief summary has been published at this hour), you might want to read, hopefully read again (!), Violent Monotheism: True or False?  that can be found on either of the two websites below, as Chapter 3 In the book All Things Flee thee For thou Fleest Me, or as Chapter 5 in Christian Just War Theory: The Logic of Deceit. Also as I understand the content of the International Theological Commission’s document, Chapter 5, The Nonviolent Trinity, in All Things Flee thee For thou Fleest Me could be most helpful.