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  • Women's history of Christianity does disservice to Catholic beliefs

    "A Women's History of the Christian Church: Two Thousand Years of Female Leadership" by Elizabeth Gillan Muir. University of Toronto Press (Toronto, 2019). 400 pp., $34.95. If you're interested in reading weird and shocking tales, heretical teachings and unusual factoids, then this book will interest you. But it is a deep disappointment for those looking for a celebration of women's contributions to the Christian church. This book neither edifies nor uplifts. If anything, I felt increasingly angry reading about the many injustices perpetrated in the name of faith.

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  • Engaging biography shows religious influences on life, work of FDR

    "A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt" by John F. Woolverton with James D. Bratt. Wm. B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2019). 280 pp., $32. Most Americans would not think of Franklin Roosevelt as one of our more religious presidents. The authors of "A Christian and a Democrat" would agree.

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  • Catholic 'Renaissance man' offers insights on writing

    "The Catholic Writer Today and Other Essays" by Dana Gioia. Wiseblood Books (Belmont, North Carolina, 2019). 213 pp., $25. Dana Gioia is something of a Renaissance man. After an education at Stanford and Harvard, he rose through the ranks at General Foods and retired as a senior vice president. That alone would be a mark of achievement.

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  • Novel helps readers feel the chill of mid-century Minnesota

    "The Ice Harvest" by Sharon Locy. Marymount Institute Press (Los Angeles, 2019). 156 pp., $14.95. One of the great pleasures of reading is being invited to wander through a world of someone else's making. Characters, times and places come alive under a good writer's hand, and an engaged reader takes up residence and settles in.

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