Village of Secrets

Caroline Moorehead (Harper)

The remote French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon—where pastor André Trocmé, his wife, and the local network they headed hid many Jews and other targets of the occupying Nazis and their French collaborators during World War II—has been the subject of numerous articles, books, and films. But Moorehead’s Village of Secrets is the best account I’ve seen in any medium. Emphatically not a debunking, this telling of the story is nonetheless deeply nuanced. And Moorehead is particularly interested in the way various streams of Christianity motivated the rescuers.

Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil

James Runcie (Bloomsbury)

This is the third volume of the Grantchester Mysteries, a series begun with Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death and continued with Sidney Chambers and The Perils of the Night. Each volume consists of short stories; taken together, they constitute a lighthearted but theologically rich fictional chronicle of modern Britain, beginning in 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. The stories center on Chambers, an Anglican priest who often finds himself involved in murder investigations. Deft, witty, yet unconstrained by the literary hipster’s horror of being thought uncool, they are quite delicious.

Life After Faith

Philip Kitcher (Yale University Press)

There’s a familiar image of the Academic—pedantic, narrow, or, in a more recent guise, intolerably smug and self-righteous. And there are professors who fit that description. But then there are people like Kitcher, a professor of philosophy who has also written books on James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. He concludes his new book, subtitled “The Case for Secular Humanism,” by insisting that a “secular worldview ought to be forged in dialogue, even in passionate interaction, with all that has been most deeply thought about what it is to be human—including whatever can be refined out of religious traditions.”

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