Let me admit upfront that my annual summer reading plans almost always turn out to be a bit over aggressive. I expect this year will be no different.
That said, here's the list I've come up with for the next three months or so.
Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas (Riverhead Books, 2005). A wide-ranging interview with the amazing lead singer for the Irish rock band, U2, this book tells the story of his life in a provocative format that makes it a page-turner.
Harold V. Bennett, Injustice Made Legal: Deuteronomic Law and the Plight of Widows, Strangers and Orphans in Ancient Israel(Eerdmans, 2002). Were the provisions of the Law of Moses that seemingly sought to protect the vulnerable in Israel actually legal measures to protect the status quo and the landed interests of the nation? Challenging read.
William Easterly, The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (Penguin Press, 2006). A controversial assessment of why so little progress has been made in Third World economic development and systemic poverty elimination.
John Hope Franklin, Mirror to America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005). The autobiography of the influential African American historian.
David Halberstam, The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship (Hyperion, 2003). One of America's great historians and storytellers turns his attention to the remarkable friendship enjoyed by four Boston Red Sox teammates across the years--Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr.
Richard T. Hughes, Myths America Lives By (The University of Illinois, 2004). Professor Hughes provides an important historical survey of why Americans believe what they do about their nation and themselves.
Eric O. Jacobsen, Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith (Brazos Press, 2003). A theological reflection on faith and the principles of new urbanism's community planning and design.
Michael Lerner, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country From the Religious Right (Harper, 2006). Rabbi Lerner shares his vision for a renewed America based on a socially engaging faith and spirituality.
Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). A wonderful source for a solid understanding of America before the European invasion.
John McWhorter, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (Gotham Books, 2005). An analysis of the current crisis in Black America that resulted from the unintended consequences of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (Viking, 2006). Latest from the author of the now classic, Wealth and Democracy, Phillips sketches in careful detail the relationship between American religion, politics and economics.
This is an ambitious list that I'll get through eventually, even if I fail this summer!
Any summer reading plans you'd like to share? Feel free to do so here.
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A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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