Monday, September 19, 2011

The Book That Made Your World

The Book That Made Your World

by Vishal Mangalwadi

When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it. I attribute this to several factors, one being I was reading other books that seemed more interesting at the time. Another being the book's foreword that didn't interest me at all. But then I started reading the prologue, and looked up Mangalwadi's biography and was fascinated. Mangalwadi states that the book celebrates the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, but that his book isn't solely about the Bible, but about art, music, and literature that influenced the world we live in today.

In the first chapter Mangalwadi talks about how Kurt Cobain's album Nevermind, and his suicide later on, paints a portrait of a generation that had lost its way, that had decided that life was essentially meaningless.

Mangalwadi talks more about his personal story in Part 2 of the book. He and his wife, Ruth, picked up their somewhat affluent life and moved to rural India, an area that was known for gang violence and poverty. The two felt God had called them to serve these people and show them His love. One story in this section of the book that I don't think I will ever be able to forget is that of the infant named Sheela. Sheela was a little girl who was being starved by her parents because they felt she was more of a liability than a gift to the family. They felt they didn't have enough money to raise her, then pay her dowry for a future marriage, so they chose the route of slowly killing her. 

As I got further into the book, though, I discovered that my first opinion of the book had returned. I am sure there is is interesting information in the book; however, it is so lengthy and packed with historical details, it seemed like a chore to wade through it. Don't get me wrong - I love history, and I love reading about the "whys" and "hows" of things. I think this book would be better suited to a Bible/Theology/History class, as a lot of the information the author presents would be good for a discussion format.

Would I recommend this book? I definitely can't say that I "can't recommend" this book, because there is nothing inherently wrong with it. I think I just got bogged down in all of the details and lost interest after a few chapters.

About the author:

Vishal Mangalwadi (1949-) is an international lecturer, social reformer, political columnist, and author of thirteen books. Born and raised in India, he studied philosophy at universities, in Hindu ashrams, and at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. In 1976 he turned down several job offers in the West to return to India where he and his wife, Ruth, founded a community to serve the rural poor. Vishal continued his involvement in community development serving at the headquarters of two national political parties, where he worked for the empowerment and liberation of peasants and the lower castes.

His first book, The World of Gurus, was published in 1977 by India's Vikas Publishing House, and serialized in India’s then-largest weekly, Sunday. It was Mangalwadi’s books, In Search of Self and India: The Grand Experiment, that first brought his works to the attention of the American public. In demand worldwide, Vishal is a dynamic, engaging speaker who has lectured in 32 countries. He enjoys simplifying complex ideas and inspiring despairing hearts with hope.

Vishal and Ruth are currently in the United States exploring The Soul of Western Civilization - the Bible. This study was inspired by Vishal and Ruth's recognition of India's need for the reforming power of the Bible. The first fruits of their research are available in (i) Eight-Part lecture series "The Book of the Millennium" and (11) Eleven-part lecture series "Must the Sun Set On the West?" available from

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookSneeze. 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."

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