BOOK REVIEW: A book I wanted to recommend but can’t …
“Their Name Is Today” is a book by Johann Christoph Arnold (published by Plough Publishing House) I wanted to be able to recommend. After all, the topic of “Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World” is an important and overlooked one.
Arnold is a very good writer.
Surely, this would be a book I would be ready to recommend before even finishing reading it!
But, alas, I just cannot recommend this book to you.
The topic is aptly described on the back cover of the book: “Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that threaten to deny children a healthy, happy childhood, courageous parents and teachers can turn the tide.”
The chapter topics, and the issues raised in the chapters, are all significant — from the world being “against” children, taking a swipe at poor education standards, the issue of pushing academics too much, the role of fathers, and even railing against technology and advertising aimed at children, along with other subjects — all content that matters, and, I think, Arnold is mostly right about.
But it’s how Arnold makes his arguments that keeps me from being able to recommend this book to you.
To state it concisely, the tone of this book is one of a person complaining. It sounds like posts you would read on Facebook griping about all these issues. What it doesn’t include is surprising. Since Arnold is a pastor, I had hoped perhaps he would bring the truth of the Bible to some of the issues he raises, but this book is remarkably absent scriptural support. Okay, so how about some significant data from studies that could really make his arguments for him? Those are largely missing as well.
There are some quotes from some people, and some of those people are in positions to speak somewhat authoritatively on the issues raised, but even those are often opinions. Some sources quoted are along the lines of a teacher he knows. Quoting one teacher who believes what he does, even if it is from experience, hardly makes for a source from which to make a solid argument.
Instead, it’s mostly a book from a man railing against things that affect childhood.
Some of these railings you might agree with, others you might not. Arnold seems to be against corporal punishment, not fond of technology, and generally takes an “old school” approach to raising children in 2014.
He has some good ideas, but again, the book reads like a man complaining.
I don’t know about you, but I hear enough general complaining on a daily basis. Give me something that makes a substantive argument along with some substantive answers and then you’ve given me something I can do something with.
In this case, Arnold hasn’t, and so I suggest you pass on this book.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not required
to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are
my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal
Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use
of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”