Media Jones: Books

Six Books on Religion


My Holy War: Dispatches From the Home Front

By Jonathan Raban.

Since 9/11, Raban has emerged as one of the more enlightened observers of 21st-century fanatical religiosity. In this “irregular personal diary,” the New York Review of Books essayist reflects on the connection between the Iraq war and the legacy of American Puritanism as well as on the religious fervor that impels believers to kill and die. These pieces offer an insightful, if alarming, guide to “our new era of religious ferocity.” – Julian Brookes

The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam From the Extremists

By Khaled Abou El Fadl.

Law professor and Islamic jurist Abou El Fadl’s prescription for “reviving the soul of Islam” and opposing violent fundamentalism is groundbreaking in the clarity of its ideas and refreshing for its lack of cant. Mother Jones and the National Review rarely see eye-to-eye, but we both agree on this essential title. – Marc Herman

Not in Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America

By Christine Wicker.

Wicker explores Americans’ search for alternative spirituality in its many forms, from online hoodoo classes to parties for self-described vampires. Though her tongue is never far from her cheek, she concludes it’s worth paying close attention to a trend followed by millions that “most of us don’t even know [is] happening.” – April Dembosky

What God Has Joined Together? A Christian Case for Gay Marriage

By David G. Myers and Letha Dawson Scanzoni.

This treatise sometimes comes across as an argument for why marriage would be good for gays, rather than vice versa. But it’s a nice intro to progressive Christian perspectives on why “reparative therapy” doesn’t work, why the Bible isn’t as antigay as Pat Robertson would have us believe, and why “gay Christian” isn’t an oxymoron. – Peter Meredith

Untouchables: My Family’s Triumphant Journey Out of the Caste System in Modern India

By Narendra Jadhav.

Born at the bottom of India’s social hierarchy, Jadhav was destined for a life of poverty and menial labor. But his parents fought back, helping him rise to become a world-class economist and an eloquent champion of full equality for 165 million “untouchables,” one-sixth of all Indians. His memoir is an inspiring page-turner about taking on 3,500 years of Hindu tradition. – Dave Gilson

Buddha (Volumes 1-8)

By Osamu Tezuka.

Finally available in English, this 3,000-page masterpiece by the godfather of Japanese comic books isn’t Siddhartha with speech bubbles, but a high-spirited, elaborately scripted melodrama starring a nonviolent superhero who takes the occasional meditative pause. And at 25 bucks per beautifully packaged volume, Buddha—like its namesake—will challenge you to curb your desire for worldly goods. – Dave Gilson

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate