An excellent book... even for non-believers,
This review is from: The Vicar of Baghdad: Fighting for Peace in the Middle East (Paperback)
For some reason the word instantly brings up associations with long, droning sermons by people who have a captive audience and want to tell you all the ways in which your life is at fault. Not that this is a problem (as we are all in need of perfecting), it's just often books by vicars can often be a case of 'those who say the most have the least to say'.
But what is refreshing about this book is that the author has true humility. Andrew White doesn't preach, he doesn't ramble on at length and yet he imparts excellent lessons on the Middle East and how to bring peace (which he admits has no rhyme, reason or formula).
What's more, the book is a true reflection of the man himself. Having had the honour of seeing him preach, it is fair to say that he has a compelling quirkiness which can be often lost in writing but here his easy charm and extraordinary bravery come across well.
And all this is within 200 pages - a neat, short book that is easy to read and yet also has a great deal of economy of language in conveying the full story of his times as Vicar of Baghdad. Furthermore there are no unnecessary diversions, and yet there are still a number of interesting stories, such as his meeting with an Al Qaeda leader who enigmatically told him "Those who cure you, will kill you" (the meaning of which is explained in the book).
So, even if you've been put off books with 'Vicar' in the title and don't consider yourself religious, this book is still a fascinating read. White himself does admit that Religion is responsible for a lot of the violence in the Middle East, but also that there is no possibility of understanding the Middle East (or bringing Peace) without it.