A Step from Death: A Memoir
Larry Woiwode (5 stars)

One of the finest writers of his generation, best known for his novel Beyond the Bedroom Wall, Woiwode has lived for many years with his family on a farm in North Dakota (he is the state's poet laureate). A Step from Death, a sequel to the memoir What I Think I Did, takes as its point of departure a near-fatal farm accident. Written in the form of a letter to his grown son, who is departing for a stint of duty in Iraq, the book is at once an unsparing self-examination and a testimony to the work of grace.

Christ and Culture Revisited
D. A. Carson (4 stars)

Make room on the shelf next to Andy Crouch's Culture Making and John Stackhouse's Making the Best of It for this penetrating book by Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Carson engages with a stunning range of writers and texts. Never unsure of his Reformed convictions, he is nonetheless a careful reader, exemplary in his treatment of those with whom he disagrees, so that the reader of his book has no excuse for failing to follow suit.

Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Dire Warning—Churchill's First Speech as Prime Minister
John R. Lukacs (5 stars)

World War II: We think we know it all, yet along comes a little book from a masterful historian that gives us a famous incident afresh, and in a way that sheds light on the whole terrible conflict. For readers of history on your gift list, this is a perfect choice—and be sure to set aside a copy for yourself. It's particularly interesting to read Lukacs's book side by side with Nicholson Baker's bestseller Human Smoke, an angry pacifist's account of the war and what led to it.

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John Wilson is editor of Books & Culture.

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