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The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs Paperback – March 27, 2007
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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“An absorbing look at the intersection of world politics and world religion.” (Booklist (starred review))
About the Author
Madeleine Albright served as America’s sixty-fourth secretary of state from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career also in-cludes positions at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She is a resident of Washington D.C., and Virginia.
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That being said, it's important to note that this book has its shortcomings. Those who are expecting a more academic analysis of the issue, buttressed by anecdotes (instead of replaced by them), are left wanting. Albright takes many things for granted that deserve more in-depth examination. For example, consistent with her Catholic upbringing, Albright all but assumes that there most definitely is a God, that most religions ultimately worship the same God, and that religions cause more good than harm. That may all well be true, but in examining conflicts that are all too often rooted in religion, a complete analysis would at least have to address - even if the proposition is ultimately dismissed - the *possibility* that religion is THE problem. Along these lines, it would have made for a much more thought-provoking read if the book had taken the kid gloves off and examined the religious aspects of the subject matter less deferentially (somewhat along the lines of what philosopher Daniel Dennett suggests in his book Breaking the Spell).
As another example of the book's lack of analysis, Albright essentially concludes in a few cursory sentences that it was right to establish the nation of Israel after World War II, essentially because of the harm the Jewish people had suffered. A more complete analysis might have more critically examined whether it was necessary to establish that nation in the Middle East, or why, if the Allied powers deemed it necessary to establish a Jewish state, they couldn't have (for example) bought large contiguous plots of land in the area rather than oust the people who already lived there.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and if you aren't looking for anything more than Madeleine Albright's well-qualified opinion, you will not be disappointed with this book. If you're looking for more provocative critical analysis however, it's probably best to look somewhere else.
This Review Copyrighted 2009 by J. Smith
While I do not agree with all of the opinions in her book, I found the theory about religion being at the root of war very intriguing and accurate. I wish I had thought of some of the concepts in the book myself. She has a knack for bringing out our 'best thinking'.
Most recent customer reviews
Unfortunately, when your biggest complaint about a book like this is that she fails to count Baha'i...Read more