The Art of Conversion

Cécile Fromont (University of North Carolina Press)

In a recent book, historian Mark Noll recounts his growing awareness of “the global Christian story,” a still-unfolding tale full of dazzling complexity, tangled with bitter irony and joyous surprise. Fromont sheds light on one fascinating chapter in this story. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the West African kingdom of Kongo was robustly Catholic, with ties in Europe and the New World. Fromont’s beautifully illustrated book gives us an indispensable look at one site of African Christianity before the advance of colonialism.

Death in the Congo

Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick (Harvard University Press)

Chosen as prime minister of the Congo’s first democratically elected government in June 1960, Patrice Lumumba was killed in January 1961. Young (he was only 35), handsome, fiery, a man of the Left, Lumumba was the most charismatic of the first generation of African leaders who came to power in the hopeful early days of decolonization. “The Congo in 1960,” Gerard and Kuklick write, “shows the roots of empire, and also the exercise of power without mercy”—including, alas, the power of the United States.

Werewolf Cop

Andrew Klavan (Pegasus Books)

Don’t start this novel when you have only a few minutes at your disposal. Once you get into it, you are going to want to hunker down and read. It’s fashionable in some quarters to mock stories that are frankly about the conflict between good and evil. Klavan knows that, yes, the man who sets out to fight evil had better look in the mirror, but that doesn’t give him an excuse to stay on the sidelines. (More: There are no sidelines.) Dark, violent, funny, and compulsively readable.

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