Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
The Religions Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

The Religions Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

Spring 2014 Non-Fiction
Ages: 13 & Up
Publisher: DK Publishing
ISBN: 978-1465408433
Hardcover Price: $25.00

Dorling Kindersley (DK) is a "knowledge" books machine. For decades it has produced easy-reading explanations of almost everything, the kinds of encyclopedic references for children and adults that are condensed, digested, illustrated and simplified.

One of its new series of Big Ideas Simply Explained books aimed at adults but perfectly suitable for teenagers, this volume surveys religions and major figures in the history of religion, from the earliest roots in primal religion and animism to the major religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, to more modern and minor movements such as Transcendental Meditation, Falun Dafa and Scientology.

The book offers succinct, straight-forward, unbiased explanations of the religious beliefs, thinking and movements as well. One chapter explores the development from monolatry to monotheism; another explores how some religions use ritual and repetition toward certain ends. Each page is quite literally overloaded with text, plus pull quotes and visuals, adding up to a comprehensive guidebook to beliefs and spirituality, in history and now, worldwide. The timelines especially prove helpful in positioning religions and relevant events over the ages.

For students in search of an overview CliffNotes-type reference on the world's religions, this book is heaven-sent—or something like that. Got theology? It's here...without being preachy.

Don Oldenburg   ©2014 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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