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Coincidentally Hardcover – June 1, 2007

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"Buy and save this book . . . valuable in the future as a Rutler First Edition."  —WM. F. Buckley, Jr.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824524403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824524401
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Miller VINE VOICE on August 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read Fr. George W. Rutler's books and column in the past I knew I was sure to enjoy his latest book Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections and ordered it as soon as it come out. The book contains fifty columns that originally appeared in Crisis Magazine and while I had read some of these columns before I enjoyed reading all of them together. Plus the lengthy preface was fun to read itself and provide a good introduction to these short essays.

The types of coincidences Fr. Rutler has detailed are not the sort that make conspiracy theorists shout Aha! They are instead the more mundane type of linking births, deaths, anniversaries, etc with other people and events. Each essay is built around a topic and you are soon immersed in a roller coaster ride through history. His command of history is breathtaking as he relates stories of people and events and links them together, albeit loosely, through coincidences of dates and even the numeric addition of the numbers in a date. Each essay runs about four pages and I kept telling myself that I would just read one more for now and then just going on and reading the next. His wit sparkles through and I found myself laughing over and over.

The annoying thing about the book is that it sharply illuminated how little I know about history, especially world history. Though I suspect a history professor might also feel a bit ignorant reading through this book. I would certainly have enjoyed to have had Fr. Rutler as a history professor instead of the social studies teachers that had little zeal for illuminating the grand adventure of history.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Joe on August 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Don't Know Much About History" is Ken Davis's humorous history book which recounts various discrete events in the short human history of our world. It has sold rather well. "Coincidentally" does something very similar, yet different. The similarity is that it tells of history. The difference is that it hardly allows history the convenience of remaining discrete. Fr. Rutler rises thirty thousand feet above history, surveys something like a massive mosaic of humor, and jots it all down in this book.

The trouble -- the very serious trouble -- with George William Rutler's trim volume is that it simply cannot be served adequately in review. You must read it. Let me quote from an essay called "Neither Up nor Down," from the book.

"In 1996, the School Board of Oakland, California caused a stir by trying to recognize a dialect of English as a separate language. According to the New York Times, this form known by the neologism 'Ebonics' has several characteristics, which include the use of a pronoun instead of the infinitive 'to be,' dropping standard conjugations, eliminating subject-verb agreement, and replacing the qualifier 'if' with the imperative 'do.' The adventurous syntax produces such lines as: 'My friend he smarter than you. He have more brains. I ask him do he knows the answer.' There is much to this that I find beguiling, especially since I have long advocated the Tudoe first person negative 'ain't,' which in fact enjoyed a minor revival in country-house circles of the 1920s: pace Lord Peter Wimsey. It can also be argued that what seems an abuse of certain infinitives actually has roots in the Elizabethan subjunctive...."

Now, per the title of his book, Fr. Rutler's essays all describe impossible coincidences that span great temporal and geographical lengths.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's a very rare thing to find a book that is not only funny but smart at the same time. I did a lot of chuckling while reading Fr.Rutler's book but I was learning at the same time. You'll be just a little bit smarter by the time you get to the last page. The shinning star of the whole book is his chapter on the Million Man March. The good padre's rapier wit slices and dices without writing a single harsh word shows what a joke that key note speech of the march really was. Brilliant.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M Pav on August 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of Fr. Rutler's from his television series or would just enjoy a literate, amusing jaunt through selected events and personalities in history, give this a try. (Don't expect this to be a serious look at coincidences, that is not the purpose.) It made me laugh enough that I read it twice, and on the second read-through I uncovered things I missed the first time around.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Athanasius on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Magnificently written, erudite, and witty is "Coincidentally". What it isn't, or rather of what it doesn't consist, is coincidences.

I don't have Father Rutler's intellect (who does?) and no doubt I'm being obtuse, but the coincidence of, for example, "...all the published poems of Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of 'The Yellow Rose of Texas' is obscure to the point of invisibility. An intriguing little oddity, to be sure, but with what does it coincide? Another example: "As Washington Irving...told the tale of a headless horseman in 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow', it is apposite that Sir Paulus Irving...was captured in 1777 at Saratoga, where Benedict Arnold was wounded on October 7 in a leg, the knee of which had previously been shot at Quebec". It is? Or what about Father's reference to a Madame Recamier, who "had a sofa named after her and died on the same day and month in 1849 as the day and month in 1920 when the Chicago entrepreneur Alphonse 'Al' Capone shot James 'Big Jim' Colosimo". Huh? Or " the Senate was ratifying the United Nations Charter on July 28, 1945, a B-25 crashed in to the 79th floor of the Empire State Building". You don't say. Or "Helen Keller closed her vacant eyes in death on the centenary of President [Andrew] Johnson's acquittal". Most extraordinary.

Father's book comprises such, er, coincidences, which strike me as being singularly lacking in coincidence. Don't get me wrong: I rather liked "Coincidentally", finding it delightfully quirky and old-style eccentric, as well as chock-full of interesting information and anecdotes.
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