The following post is from the Book Review Team of Greg Enas and Russ Pulliam, who annually submit a list of brief reviews of some of the books they read in the year. Note that these selections are not necessarily books published this year, but ones read in 2020 with great benefit.
Greg Enas has a Ph.D. in statistics and worked for many years at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, running the research numbers on new drugs to make sure they worked effectively. He also likes to read books, about 100 a year. Russell Pulliam is an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic. Russ serves as a ruling elder in the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis. most notably, they are both saved by grace, not by works.
Labyrinth of Ice | Buddy Levy
How strong men came together with a will to live in the midst of horrible deprivation during an expedition to the Arctic Circle in the late 19th century.
Bonds of Salvation | Ben Wright
The American Colonization Society, which founded Liberia and helped facilitate British freemen to Sierra Leone, waned in the 1830’s as southern churches grew tired of their taxes supporting freed slaves from the north.
Every Drop of Blood | Edward Achorn
There wasn’t much applause at the end of Lincoln’s inaugural speech on March 4, 1861, just a timeless signature etched on our history for which we all are still held account.
Abraham Lincoln: As A Man of Ideas | Allen Guelzo
Illuminates how Lincoln was formed under the tutelage of the ancient classical thinkers as well as his father, an extreme Separatist Baptist.
A Holy Baptism of Fire & Blood | James P. Byrd
How the Bible was used differently by North and South, assassins and abolitionists, preachers and business leaders, in the Civil War to justify their actions.
Thaddeus Stevens | Bruce Levine
A relatively unknown hero amongst heroes, Stevens grew up in a Baptist home in Vermont, ultimately helping to lead the charge to abolish slavery and set captives free.
The Zealot and the Emancipator | H.W. Brands
John Brown’s foolhardy acts and convictions eventually helped shaped Abraham Lincoln’s thinking, codified in his Emancipation Proclamation and animated his determination to prevail in War.
The Last Campaign | Thurston Clarke
A fascinating look at the backstory behind Bobby Kennedy’s impromptu speech on April 4, 1968 in Indianapolis, the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
In Cold Blood | Truman Capote
The chilling account of the 1959 murder of four family members in rural Kansas, lives snuffed out so cruelly - was God there?
Rocket Men | Craig Nelson
Incredible tale of the families behind Apollo 11’s flight to put man on the moon at huge personal, financial, political, and intellectual cost.
Bavinck, A Critical Biography | James Eglinton, 2020.
A key theme is his response to modernism, working within the Dutch culture rather than separating. Yet he stuck with the Scriptures when many others just went with the cultural flow of the more respectable modernism.
Gentle and Lowly | Dane Ortlund, 2020.
The grandson of Anne Ortlund (Children Are Wet Cement), Ortlund develops grace doctrines so well --- how Christ loves us more than we can realize.
7 More Men | Eric Metaxas, 2020.
A gifted biographer, with a keen eye for greatness in the sight of the Lord.
Calvin, by Bruce Gordon, 2009.
The author sets Calvin’s context very well and shows the slow, steady progress of the gospel in his lifetime. Calvin had daily challenges in Geneva, with deep friendships that challenge his popular image.
R.C. Sproul, A Life | Stephen Nichols, 2021.
Sproul laid the foundations for the Young, Restless and Reformed movement before many of the beneficiaries were born.
Messiology, The Mystery of How God Works Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense To Us | George Verwer, 2016.
Founder of Operation Mobilization, Verwer has a way with words, with very practical ways to grow in Christ.
First Wives’ Club: Twenty-first century lessons from the lives of sixteenth century women, by Clare Heath-Whyte, 2014.
One of her three solid books on the wives of better known Christians, with lessons for men and women.
Contentment, Prosperity and God’s Glory | Jeremiah Burroughs, 2013.
A companion to his better known Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. Here he tackles the danger of spiritual complacency when God is blessing us.
The Bully Pulpit, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism | Doris Kearns Goodwin, 2013.
A great history of the early progressive movement and how it went off the rails in 1912.
The White Chief of Cache Creek | Faith Martin and Charles McBurney, 2020.
Solid research, much detail, about the challenge of mission to Indians in Oklahoma.