Books

A Crown of Life: A Novel of the Great Persecution

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A Crown of Life is an epic romance spanning ten pivotal years in the history of the world, beginning in 303, when churches were closed, scriptures were confiscated, and Christians were forbidden to assemble and later forced to prove their loyalty to the empire by offering a sacrifice to the government’s gods. Thousands chose death instead, in what has been known since as the Great Persecution.

Vividly written, with surprising twists, heart-pounding drama, a colorful cast of endearing characters good and bad, and profound insight into life’s deepest mysteries, A Crown of Life is an inspiring tale of Christian faith in the face of death.

Praise for A Crown of Life:

“Wow, what a great novel! … suspense and excitement (battles! romance! martyrdom!) … It’s not only a great story, but also a great survey of the history of the Roman empire at that time, down to the details of clothing and food. Highly recommended.” — Frederica Mathewes-Green

As a professor of New Testament and early Christianity, I began reading this book with a bit of skepticism: would it be just another cheesy sword-and-sandals tale? However, I was soon won over by the characters, the plot, and the evident care given to placing known historical people and events into context. When I taught Revelation, from which the title of this book comes (“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life,” 2:10), I recommended Mitchell’s book to my students. When I read about the recent trial of Mariam Ibrahim, an Orthodox Christian sentenced to death for refusing to recant her faith, in many ways it sounded just like the trials in Crown of Life (and Eusebius’ Church History Bk. 8). Holy martyrs, pray for us.” Anonymous

“It is outstanding. I finished it last week. I had been reading it with my wife which is why it took so long. I absolutely loved the book. It was inspiring and humbling, and should be for anyone trying to pursue their own Christian walk.” — Ryan Steinbach

“What a magnificent book! Cannot recommend enough. Don’t be afraid of the number of pages. Every one draws you farther and farther into the story.” — E.A. Hall

“The drama of the romance never lets up. . . . The first sentence pulled me in and after a few pages, I was hooked. These characters come to life, and the plot keeps moving, so that I couldn’t put it down.” D. Peters

“I could not put this down! It was such a vivid description of the times and places and predicaments early believers experienced. The contrasts between pagan and Christian thinking, between life in Roman cities and the village or the mines made reading that much more compelling. Add all the drama, action, intrigue and plot twists and you have a really, really great book.” — N. Young

Eight Ways to Run the Country

Eight Ways to Run the Country

“Mitchell has written, in my opinion, the best explanation of the political spectrum. It makes sense of all the major mysteries: why left-liberals are opposed to the major threats to liberty in one instance, then switch over to the side of tyranny, allowing conservatives to seemingly fill the gap in the power dynamic; why conservatives favor some liberties and not others; where libertarians fit in all this. He surveys the history of Western politics, shedding light on centuries of shifting alliances and political orientations from antiquity through the Protestant Reformation to the American Revolution, the 1960s, and modern times.” — Anthony Gregory, Independent Institute

Political partisans want you to choose only between Left and Right, Red and Blue, Us and Them. But the reality is that Americans are deeply divided in more ways than one, and the savvy voter, no less than the savvy politician, must make more sense of things. Eight Ways to Run the Country explains what conventional political theory cannot, offering a profoundly illuminating look at our political past and our present differences.

“Whether a pro-politico, a C-Span junkie, or a political neophyte, Brian Mitchell’s Eight Ways to Run the Country is the best shortcut I have seen to really knowing what you are talking about when it comes to the complicated 21st century political landscape.” — Daniel McAdams, Washington Examiner/Examiner.com

“One of my fed. colleagues gave me his book earlier this year, and I was fairly shocked after reading it that I had never heard of him beforehand, or that his book wasn’t in every PolySci 100 class in America. This is one of the most thoughtful, accessible, interesting depictions of our prominent political categories you could ever hope to find. From neoconservatism to communitarianism to theoconservatism, anyone with an interest in politics will find this a great read.” — Goodreads

“Wow. This book was cool! I’ve been very dissatisfied with the current “Left/Right–Republican/Democrat” split. I think it really no longer serves us well, if it ever did. This book has a fascinating theoretical model of political belief and tradition, along two axes–one “archy/anarchy” and the other “kratos/akrateia” with a resulting placement of eight different political traditions around the “compass” Most interesting, although I still really don’t know exactly where to place myself (Most likely, if anyone is interested–PaleoLibertarian)” — Goodreads 

“The old classifications of Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal no longer apply. In this book, Mitchell breaks down America’s ideological landscape into 8 “parties,” and talks about the distinction between power (kratos) and authority (arche). This helps to shed light on the controversies that revolve around “separation of church and state” arguments, which seem to be happening more and more. It’s a short book that will really change the way you think about politics.” — Goodreads 

Eight Ways doesn’t do away with Left and Right, but it defines them in better terms and adds a whole new dimension to explain what Left and Right can’t. It correctly pegs the ideological poles and thus brings easy-to-understand order to the dizzying diversity of political perspectives. It places neoconservatives into historical context, illuminating both what they share with other conservatives and how their differences have wrought a change in the character of the Right. It explains the recurring attempts to define an independent, non-ideological center. It provides the best definition of populism to be found. Finally, it relates the political heritage of the American Founders to the politics of today.

Eight Ways identifies four main traditions in the American political experience:

· Republican constitutionalism — stressing traditional values and decentralized power

· Libertarian individualism — stressing personal liberty and property rights

· Democratic progressivism — stressing popular sovereignty and social renovation

· Plutocratic nationalism — defending dominant commercial interests and national power

From these four main traditions, the author traces eight contemporary ideological perspectives: communitarians, progressives, radicals, individualists, and four varieties of conservatives. The author uses the color and drama of well-known individual examples to illustrate each ideology in concrete, everyday language. The result is an entertaining and insightful assessment of each ideology’s strengths and weaknesses that may forever change the way you think about politics.

 More praise for Eight Ways:

“Are you tired of the media’s unrelenting oversimplification of American politics? Are you sick of Republican versus Democratic, with everything being painted in ruby red and bright blue? If so, then stretch your mind and read this stimulating book. Brian Mitchell creatively paints the complex portrait of American political thought, from left to right and everything in-between and outside the lines.” — Larry J. Sabato, Director, University of Virginia Center for Politics

“If you prefer nuanced analysis to fatuous conventional wisdom, pick up a copy of Eight Ways to Run the Country. You’ll gain more insight into the current state of American politics from Brian Mitchell’s book than you would from a year’s worth of punditry on the cable news shows.” — Ken Silverstein, Washington Editor, Harper’s Magazine

“With this book, Brian Mitchell has made the lives of us pundits easier, by helping us understand the different kinds of political animals populating Washington—neos, paleos, radicals, populists, and all the rest. But outside-the-beltway readers can ‘eliminate the middleman’ by reading this book, thus gaining for themselves the taxonomic tools needed to know the D.C. bestiary. Such widespread empowerment might be bad for the punditical priesthood, because better information is vital for the success of representative democracy.” — Jim Pinkerton, Columnist for Newsday and Senior Fellow, New America Foundation

“Veteran reporter Mitchell refines current conventional wisdom about the Right and the Left in American politics. He begins by exploring the historical context for the current political positions and personalities, and the influence of economic and social contexts. Mitchell identifies four main political traditions … [that] have actually given rise to eight distinct political perspectives, and Mitchell devotes a chapter to each…. Readers will enjoy trying to find themselves on the various scales provided.” — Booklist

“Dissatisfied with prior schemes for categorizing political ideologies, Mitchell proposes his own typology. He begins by boiling down political differences down to support or opposition to arche (the concept of rank) and kratos (the use of force by the state and others) and then deriving from this distinction the four political traditions of the Anglo-American experience: republican constitutionalism, libertarian individualism, progressive democracy, and plutocratic nationalism. Further identifying intermediate steps between them, he argues that the contemporary American political scene can be characterized as consisting of eight political perspectives: individualist, paleolibertarian, paleoconservative, theoconservative, neoconservative, communitarian, progressive, radical, and individualist. He offers a chapter on each of these perspectives, detailing how they are the result of differing attitudes towards arche and kratos and the positions this leads them towards.” — Reference & Research Book News

2 Responses to Books

  1. Joanna says:

    Thoughtful & provoking book. There are really 9 ways, if you read closely. The populist is one of the 8 (9) ways.

  2. Pingback: Jim Webb wises up, a little. » Brian Patrick Mitchell

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