It is one thing to have faith in Jesus, say in his resurrection, or that he is divine. It is quite another to understa nd Jesus. Paul understood Jesus. Considering the circumstances, it is puzzling just exactly how he did that. More puzzling still, how did Paul get so much of the rest of the world to try to do the same.
Of Love, Hate, and Book Reviewers: A Tale of Taylor Caldwell
Peter B. Gemma
Janet Reback, a/k/a Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), was one of the most popular novelists in America. In a New York Times/Publishers Weeklylist of 40 all-time best-selling fiction authors from 1900-1999, she clocks in at number 17, ahead of Ernest Hemingway, Dean Koontz, Tom Clancy, and John Steinbeck.
Publisher’s Weekly ranked Caldwell’s books among its annual top ten fiction bestsellers eight times, outperforming such entries as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Allen Drury’s Preserve and Protect, and Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge.
For almost 30 years Athens kept the aristocratic Pericles in power. They loved him for his smartness, his altruism and his personal avoidance of corruption. The details, though, matter. In the tradition of Solon, at a most turbulent time of engagement with the enemy City-State Sparta seeking advantage, Pericles exemplified a particular ideal of democracy. We know it as the Age of Pericles for good reason.
With the rise of the industrial civilization in the world, about 200 years ago, there also arose a social body which we know as the middle class. Before that, most of the world suffered under a feudal system in which the people were truly slaves of their governments in all things. There was no strong buffer between them and their despotic rulers, no assurance of freedom to pursue commerce and to live decently, to keep the fruits of their labor and hold the pain of tribute at a minimum. The middle class made the dream of liberty a possibility, set limits on the government, fought for its constitutions, removed much of governmental privilege and tyranny, demanded that rulers obey the just laws as closely as the people, and enforced a general civic morality.
That was the late novelist Taylor Caldwell’s take on her phenomenally successful career, but she is no longer a well-known name among avid fiction readers. Then again, who hears much about Irving Wallace or even John Dos Passos these days?
Among fiction writers who hold the all time record of appearing on the New York Times bestseller list, Taylor Caldwell is in position number five (Tom Clancy is ninth; Dr. Seuss logs in at 17). At one point, Fawcett Publishing House had 25 million paperback copies of 25 of her titles in print, including two that were serialized for television, “Captains and the Kings” and “Testimony of Two Men” (4.5 million and 2.7 million copies respectively).