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  • Priest-author tells story of Catholicism in the American heartland

    "The Catholic Church in Southwest Iowa: A History of the Diocese of Des Moines" by Steven M. Avella. Liturgical Press (Collegeville, Minnesota, 2018). 458 pp., $24.95. Imagine, if you will, that the most important Catholic in the world decided to visit your diocese. How would you plan for such a visit? Where would you hold a Mass for, say, 350,000 people? That was the challenge and the opportunity embraced by Bishop Maurice Dingman when he learned that Pope John Paul II would honor the people of Iowa and the American heartland with a visit Oct. 4, 1979.

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  • Books offer antidote to religious stereotypes in difficult times

    "Finding Jesus Among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic" by Jordan Denari Duffner. Liturgical Press (Collegeville, Minnesota, 2017). 130 pp., $19.95. "Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States" by Samira K. Mehta. University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2018). 260 pp., $27.95.

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  • Historian provides riveting account of WWII chaplains from Notre Dame

    "Soldiers of a Different Cloth: Notre Dame Chaplains in World War II" by John F. Wukovits. University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2018). 381 pp., $35. This riveting account of the heroic contributions of 35 chaplains and missionaries during World War II is nearly impossible to put down. The author, John F. Wukovits, is a renowned military historian who melds rigorous research with expert storytelling. The result is an inspiring and richly detailed narrative that reveals the challenges that these religious -- priests along with some brothers and sisters of Notre Dame's Congregation of Holy Cross -- faced.

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  • Book shows human faces of IS victims, atrocities of Islamic caliphate

    "The Terrorist Factory: ISIS, the Yazidi Genocide and Exporting Terrorism" by Father Patrick Desbois and Costel Nastasie. Arcade Publishing (New York, 2018). 197 pp. $24.99. The atrocities of the Islamic State are manifold. While trying to form an Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria its activities included genocide, religious persecution, sexual slavery, the brainwashing of teen prisoners, forced conversions and training teens in the savagery of warfare and terrorism. Although the caliphate is disappearing, its scars remain.

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  • Book recounts Notre Dame's little-known fight against Ku Klux Klan

    "Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defied the KKK" by Todd Tucker. University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2018). 312 pp., $20. This excellent book will engage Catholic readers with the history not only of University of Notre Dame but also of the anti-Catholicism that prevailed in much of America up to and even after the Second World War.

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  • New children's books help little ones know Jesus with prayer, Bible

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The following books are suitable for Christmas giving. "Paul Writes (a Letter)" by Chris Raschka. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2018). 40 pp., $17. It's no surprise author and illustrator Chris Raschka is a two-time Caldecott Medal winner. The watercolor map of St. Paul's travels throughout the Roman empire immediately hooks readers and welcomes them into an ancient biblical world reinvigorated with contemporarily edited prose and gorgeous lettering. St. Paul is introduced to children as a friend, speaking tenderly in a common language. He calls to mind God's love, God's commandments and offers his own divinely inspired lessons. "You reap what you sow. If you begin something out of badness, badness will grow," he said, adding, "Please don't bother me if you don't like this letter." He gently reminds the "busybodies" out there to "please stop that and quietly get back to your own work" and introduces his friends Prisca, Luke and Aquila throughout his letters. Ages 6 and up.

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  • Two new books give parents ideas to help raise kids Catholic

    "The Light Entrusted to You: Keeping the Flame of Faith Alive" by John Wood. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2018). 306 pp., $18.95. "The Tech Talk: Strategies for Families in a Digital World" by Michael Horne. Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, Indiana, 2017). 144 pp., $14.95.

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