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Sohrab Ahmari was a teenager living under the Iranian ayatollahs when he decided that there is no God. Nearly two decades later, he would be received into the Roman Catholic Church. In From Fire, by Water, he recounts this unlikely passage, from the strident Marxism and atheism of a youth misspent on both sides of the Atlantic to a moral and spiritual awakening prompted by the Mass. At once a young intellectual’s finely crafted self-portrait and a life story at the intersection of the great ideas and events of our time, the book marks the debut of a compelling new Catholic voice.
Recipient of the Independent Publishers Award for Historical Fiction (Gold Medal), the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Historical Fiction (Bronze Medal), and an honorable mention in the category of General Fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him. Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life.
The main theme of Fire on the Water is that conventional measures of military balance, employed by both the general public and many policy experts, underestimate the threat that China’s military modernization poses to the U.S. position in the Asia-Pacific region. Within a decade, China’s leaders will have the military power to hold at risk U.S. interest in East Asia. The U.S. needs to fashion a new and competitive strategy, one that better matches the strengths of the U.S. and its allies against China’s vulnerabilities, in order to maintain a balance of power in the region and convince China’s leaders to pursue a cooperative course. It is not obvious to many observers why a conflict in the region is plausible, or why the U.S. should bear the responsibility for maintaining a forward military presence in the region. China has rapidly emerged as a great power and by doing so, has acquired many vital interests around the world. Following the pattern set by other such episodes in history, China is also acquiring the military means to protect its new interests, a development that puts at risk the interests of China’s neighbors and the United States. The U.S. forward military presence in the region is an increasingly difficult burden to sustain. But in the long run, this approach will be less costly and less risky than encouraging China’s neighbors to balance China by themselves, an alternative that will very likely result in an unstable arms race and a conflict that will damage America’s interests. While it will be in America’s interest to maintain its position in the Asia-Pacific region, China’s military modernization is making it much more difficult for the U.S. to do so. China’s military strategy, centered on its rapidly-expanding land-based and anti-ship missile forces, is exploiting weaknesses in long-standing U.S. force structure and doctrine. Due to a variety of institutional barriers, the U.S. has been slow to adapt to China’s military modernization. Current efforts to respond are impractical, in that they expend U.S. resources against China’s strengths rather than its vulnerabilities. The U.S. needs a new and competitive strategy that will strengthen its alliances in the region and convince China’s leaders that cooperation, rather than military expansion and an attempt at regional hegemony, will be China’s best course. Fire on the Water proposes reforms to U.S. diplomacy, military programs, and strategy that will offer a better chance at preserving stability. The goal of these reforms is to thwart China’s well-designed military modernization plan, bolster the confidence and credibility of U.S. alliances in the region, and thus persuade China’s leaders that China’s best course is cooperation rather than conflict, the outcome that has usually occurred in history when a new great power has rapidly emerged.
This is the story of a glorious defeat. Ordway, an atheist academic, was convinced that faith was superstitious nonsense. As a well-educated college English professor, she saw no need for just-so stories about God. Secure in her fortress of atheism, she was safe (or so she thought) from any assault by irrational faith. So what happened? How did she come to Òlay down her armsÓ in surrender to Christ and then, a few years later, enter the Catholic Church? This is the moving account of her unusual journey. It is the story of an academic becoming convinced of the truth of Christianity on rational grounds Ñ but also the account of GodÕs grace acting in and through her imagination. It is the tale of an unfolding, developing relationship with God Ñ told with directness and honesty Ñ and of a painful surrender at the foot of the Cross. It is the account of a lifelong, transformative love of reading and the story of how a competitive fencer put down her sabre to pick up the sword of the Spirit. Above all, this book is a tale of grace, acting in and through human beings but always issuing from God and leading back to Him. And it is the story of a woman being brought home.
SCMP's reporting team looks back at Hong Kong's most wrenching political crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Anti-extradition bill protests that morphed rapidly into a wider anti-government movement in 2019 left no aspect of the city untouched, from its social compact to its body politic to its open economy. The demonstrations which continued well into 2020 have tested every institution of the city, from the civil service to the police to the courts and even its rail transport operator, and from offices and businesses to universities and schools, and from churches to families and even friends.This book is for anyone seeking to understand not just what Hong Kong has gone through but also the global phenomenon of increasingly leaderless protest movements. Fueled by profound angst about the place of millennial youth in society, widening income inequality, and the speed of digital communications, Hong Kong was in retrospect ripe to be the laboratory for a new-age protest movement, nearly a decade after the Middle East's Arab spring.The essays in the book collectively compose a picture of a society in trauma, bent and broken, but showing signs of an uncanny ability to bounce back. What shape it will be in a few years from now, however, is much harder to predict.Related Link(s)
Only in the glaring light of hindsight does pediatric surgeon Kate Murphy understand that she was groomed for the path she’s taken. Raised by a widowed dad and a misshapen, sometimes comical trio of parental surrogates from Murphy’s Pub, her father’s Irish bar in San Francisco, Kate has never understood how protected she is—but when she learns that her well-meaning family has hidden bitter truths about her mother’s mental illness and death, the rest of her family history unravels. Kate is still recovering from her family’s deception when she becomes involved with Jake Bloom—a charming artist different than anyone she’s ever known. When she experiences his sculptures on Ocean Beach, she is forever changed; in the months that follow, Jake reveals beauty Kate has never noticed, and exposes her to spontaneity, sensuality, and love deeper than she’d imagined it could be. Only Mary K—Kate’s hard-edged best friend who doesn’t miss a thing and names bull when she sees it—is immune to Jake’s charms. She sees the potential for danger in Jake, and, of course, she says so. Caught between her newfound passion and her friendship, Kate dismisses her friend’s warnings. Ultimately, it isn’t until she is in too deep, with a daughter on the way, that Kate understands what Mary K feared on her behalf. Fire & Water is a story of navigating the treacherous territory of passionate love, friendship, and family devotion—and of how love is always a matter of life and death.
Jen Nilsson has an MBA, a nice condo, and a fast-track job at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. If her big product launch goes well next month, she may finally land the marketing director job she's been gunning for. But then her younger sister, Katie, just out of college and estranged from their newly devout parents, blows through the front door, dumping cardboard boxes and a lifetime of personal drama onto Jen's just-swept floor. Family is family, and Jen lets her sister, the embodiment of all that annoys her, move in. Maybe she'll turn aimless Katie into a model adult. But when Jen's own well-laid career plans hurtle off the tracks—a corporate buyout, a layoff, and a disastrous business trip to China—she turns more and more to Katie for support and begins to reassess the place of family, and love, in her life. If You Can Get It explores the quirks and the humanity of the twenty-first-century business world but finds its heart in the deepening relationship of two sisters as different as Elinor and Marianne of Sense and Sensibility.
The average age of the 200 men on board HMS Ardent was 23 in May 1982 when she made a lonely midnight run into Falkland Sound, an hour ahead of the British amphibious group about to retake the Islands. In the crucial hours that followed, her naval gunfire support kept enemy troops and aircraft pinned down at Goose Green and Darwin. Despite a few scares it all looked good. Until 5.44 p.m. At that precise moment, out of the gathering dusk, Ardent came under the most concentrated attack of any ship taking part in the landings. She was hit 17 times in 22 minutes and 1 in 4 of her ship's company was either killed or wounded. She lost a greater proportion of her men than any other fighting unit in the entire war. So why has the British public forgotten her name? THROUGH FIRE AND WATER tells the frigate's story from Christmas 1981 in Amsterdam to her sinking in Falkland Sound -aand beyond. It follows the families who waved off sons, lovers, brothers, husbands and fathers as she left the dockyard. It explains what it was like for British sailors in the Falklands and how it felt for those waiting at home for news. It reflects the sickening fear of being in a defenceless warship singled out for destruction and the feeling of despair of those on board as they tried to save their ship and their mates as bomb after bomb came crashing down. In a war so well documented, THROUGH FIRE AND WATER is the first book to document the dramatic true story of the forgotten frigate. Now, 25 years, it is time to remember the heroic actions of the men on board HMS Ardent.
Weigel tells the dramatic story of Pope John Paul II's battle with communism, creating a landmark portrait of a man who left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church and changed the course of world history.