From the war on poverty to famine in the Ukraine, from the political world of the Book of Samuel to Darwinian evolution and living the best life possible—these are the varied topics covered by the 2017 World News Group Book of the Year winners.
WORLD’s book committee chose 30 titles out of hundreds of submissions as its Book of the Year honorees, with five garnering top votes in the following categories:
• Understanding America category: Peter Cove’s Poor No More (Transaction)
• Understanding the World category: Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine (Doubleday)
• History category: Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes’s The Beginning of Politics (Princeton)
• Origins category: Tom Bethell’s Darwin’s House of Cards (Discovery)
• Accessible Theology category: David Gibson’s Living Life Backward (Crossway)
“Each of these books helps the reader learn more and dive deeply into a specific topic,” said Marvin Olasky, WORLD’s editor-in-chief. “They enlighten and engage the reader.”
Cove’s Poor No More focuses on the decades of failed anti-poverty campaigns and opines about a better system of focusing on job placement skills. The Red Famine, by Applebaum, focuses on the 1932-33 Soviet bloc famine that was caused by government policies and how it particularly savaged the Ukraine.
The Beginning of Politics mines the story of Israel’s first two kings to unearth a natural history of power. Halbertal and Holmes show how the beautifully crafted narratives of Saul and David cut to the core of politics. In Darwin’s House of Cards, Bethell depicts the theory of evolution as a nineteenth-century idea past its prime, propped up by logical fallacies, bogus claims, and empirical evidence.
Gibson’s Living Life Backward explores the Book of Ecclesiastes for wisdom and is written to shake up our expectations and priorities for what it means to live “the good life.”
Other finalists include:
Understanding America: Karl Zinsmeister, The Almanac of American Philanthropy (Philanthropy Roundtable); Benjamin Barton and Stephanos Bibas, Rebooting Justice (Encounter); Daniel Drezner, The Ideas Industry (Oxford); Henry Olsen, The Working Class Republican (Broadside); and Gene Dattel, Reckoning with Race (Encounter)
Understanding the World: Emma Reyes, The Book of Emma Reyes (Penguin); Paul Kengor, A Pope and a President (Intercollegiate Studies Institute); Ian Johnson, The Souls of China (Pantheon); Walter Scheidel, The Great Leveler (Princeton); and Condoleezza Rice, Democracy (Twelve)
History: Victor Davis Hanson, The Second World Wars (Basic); John Cogan, The High Cost of Good Intentions (Stanford); Norman Ohler, Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich (Houghton Mifflin); Eric Metaxas, Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World (Viking); and Yuri Slezkine, The House of Government (Princeton)
Origins: J. Scott Turner, Purpose & Desire (HarperOne); Jonathan Wells, Zombie Science (Discovery); and two multiauthored books, Theistic Evolution (Crossway) and Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (Zondervan)
Accessible Theology: Nathan Busenitz, Long Before Luther (Moody); Kenneth Samples, God Among Sages (Baker); Brett McCracken, Uncomfortable (Crossway); Christopher Wright, Hearing the Message of Daniel (Zondervan); and Thomas Robinson, Who Were the First Christians? (Oxford)
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