Book Review: “Kill Boxes: Facing the Legacy of US-Sponsored Torture, Indefinite Detention, and Drone Warfare,” by Elisabeth Weber

  In 2004 a photo of a hooded man, standing on a box, holding out his hands with wires attached, emerged from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The image rapidly spread around the world, becoming an instantly recognizable symbol of America’s use of torture. Graphic artists famously reproduced it alongside a rainbow-colored image of a “wired” dancing girl, listening to her iPod.     In her timely book, “Kill Boxes,” Elisabeth Weber ironically notes the “long history of images uniting figures of torture and sacredness or divinity.” She explores the use of “no touch” “positional” torture in which the terrified victims are forced to inflict suffering on themselves, leaving no marks. When the Abu Ghraib…

Book: Child Migration and Human Rights in a Golden Age

Child Migration and Human Rights in a Golden Age by Jacqueline Bhabha – Princeton University PressIn the last 35 years, migration to the developed world has doubled. Yet, contrary to the current anti-refugee narrative, 83% of migrants remain in their region of original. This book concerns the 11% of the world’s migrants who are younger than 20 years of age, many of them fending for themselves in appalling circumstances, exploited or ignored. Only recently has it been acknowledged that the authorities should consider what is best for the child. Children used to be treated as appendages of their male relatives, as women were (and still are in many parts of the world). Now, children are…

Book Review: New Short History of the Catholic Church’ by Norman Tanner

This review appeared originally in the Independent Catholic News  Book: New Short History of the Catholic Church’ by Norman Tanner Rebecca Tinsley Sunday, June 28, 2015 12:44 am. THE NEW SHORT HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH by Norman Tanner published by Bloomsbury Norman Tanner has given us a learned and impressive survey of two thousand years of history in a mere 239 pages. Yet this reviewer found it strangely bloodless. The most disastrous and dramatic events – the split with Constantinople in 1054 and the beginning of the Reformation in 1517 – are handled with the same measured calm as less traumatic or important milestones. There is little to convey the misery of centuries of…

Book Review: Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel – voices for inter-religious dialogue

This post appeared orginally in the Independent Catholic news Book: Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel – voices for inter-religious dialogue Rebecca Tinsley Thursday, June 25, 2015 2:00 pm. Coexistence and Reconciliation in Israel – voices for inter-religious dialogue edited by Ronald Kronish, Paulist Press, 2015. Since secular leaders have failed to secure peace in the Holy Land, why not give faith leaders a chance? After all, religious identity is central to many citizens in the region, and with sufficient education, and through personal encounters, people may find they have more in common than separates them. This is the message from a collection of essays by a group of brave, patient, determined faith leaders who are…

Book Review: ‘Heroes of the Holocaust’

This review appeared originally on the Independent Catholic news Book: ‘Heroes of the Holocaust’ Rebecca Tinsley Sunday, June 21, 2015 3:40 pm. ‘Heroes of the Holocaust’ by Lyn Smith, published by Ebury Press Lyn Smith’s work deserves a wide audience. For decades she has been interviewing survivors of war- soldiers and civilians- for the Imperial War Museum voice archive. Smith’s dedication has also resulted in a series of books about apparently ‘ordinary’ people who lived through extraordinary times. Although ‘Heroes of the Holocaust’ was published two years ago, it is especially timely as we mark 70 years since the end of World War Two. There is no hyperbole in the way in which Smith’s heroes…

Book Review: The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a radical Pope

This review appeared orginally on The Independent Catholic News Book: The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a radical Pope Rebecca Tinsley Tuesday, June 9, 2015 3:16 pm. “The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a radical Pope” by Austen Ivereigh, publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2105 A recent profile of Pope Francis in Der Spiegel* reports a Vatican whispering campaign against the Argentine pontiff. When Francis highlighted the pomp and ostentation of the clergy, it was “an unspoken declaration of war, especially against the Vatican Curia.” By challenging corruption in the Vatican bank, and ex-communicating Mafia bosses, Francis also confronted Rome’s unsavoury vested interests, the article suggests. Those plotting against Francis accuse him…

Book Review: ‘BLAIR INC: The man behind the mask’

This review appeared originally on the Independent Catholic News Book: ‘BLAIR INC: The man behind the mask’ Rebecca Tinsley ‘BLAIR INC: The man behind the mask’ Francis Beckett, David Hencke & Nick Kochan, John Blake Publishing, 2015 Tony Blair recently resigned from his role as an envoy of the Middle East Quartet. The book under review suggests the former British prime minster used his high profile diplomatic access to oil-producing governments in the Middle East to facilitate rather more commercial activity than peace-making. Living in a permanent Davos-like state since he left Downing Street in 2007, Blair is always on the move, opening doors, enabling deals and accruing vast personal wealth. “Blair Inc” is a…

Book Review: The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis

This review appeared originally on the Independent Catholic News   Book: The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis Rebecca Tinsley The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis by Garry Wills, Viking Books, 2015 Progressive Catholics who hope Pope Francis will reform the Church will find Garry Wills’s latest tome bristling with talking points that might come in handy in discussions with more traditionalist coreligionists. For instance, contends Wills, it is nonsense to say women cannot be ordained because Jesus did not ordain any, when Jesus didn’t ordain men either. Conservative Catholics, on the other hand, would do well to consider Wills’s learned and elegantly written arguments in the spirit of knowing…

Book Review: “Irish London During the Troubles” by Sean Sorohan

This review orginially appeared on the Independent Catholic News   Book: ‘Irish London During the Troubles’ Rebecca Tinsley Irish London During the Troubles’ Sean Sorohan, Irish Academic Press This is a gem of a book which will appeal to anyone interested in the immigrant experience in general or The Troubles in particular. Although focusing on the lives of Irish people living in London in the 1970s and 80s, the reader might wish to draw the obvious comparisons with how British Muslims are regarded, and how they see themselves, in an age of Islamist terrorism. Sorohan interviews a cross section of Irish immigrants in depth, concluding that many retained strong social networks with other Irish thanks…