Top critical review
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Unlike any other Paradox Press Factoid Book
on July 25, 2003
I picked up the Big Book of Martyrs because I love all of the Factoid Books. As a series, they are irreverent, concise, witty, and always interesting.
As mentioned by a few other reviewers, the Big Book of Martyrs treats its subject matter with more respect than other subjects covered by the series. Check out the chapter on Princess Di in the Big Book of Scandal to see Paradox Press at its most scathing. But while poking fun at the foibles of the British monarchy can be entertaining, mocking people who died for their faith is tasteless. So I was relieved to see that the martyrs were not depicted as ridiculous.
However, these are not wholly objective descriptions of the saints' lives. The book seems to have been written by Christians for Christians. I myself am not a Christian, and I was hoping for a more secular approach.
It is still worth reading though. There are plenty of weird stories, such as the woman who woke up with a beard, after praying to be made unattractive. The beard caused her arranged husband-to-be to reject her, allowing her to keep her sworn virginity intact. St. Christopher's story is pretty strange, as well.
I do not recommend giving this book to children, since there are some graphic images, such as St. Stephen being stoned to death.