Christmas Shopping 2013
As you look for gifts for loved ones, some recommendations.



An Accidental Life is a gripping novel with scenes inspired by real-life events. In a New Orleans courtroom the best-kept secret in the world is about to unravel, and a young couple’s jet-set lives are about to change. Senior district attorney Peter Jacobs is facing the trial of a lifetime, and his beloved wife Rebecca, a glamorous and driven partner at a major law firm, suddenly finds her life spinning out of control and her new faith tested while facing a once-in-a-lifetime choice about whether and how to combine career and family.

New from lawyer-turned-novelist Pamela Binnings Ewen, An Accidental Life is fiction based on fact: the testimony of registered nurse Jill Stanek before a U.S. congressional committee confirming that it was routine for doctors in Chicago’s Christ Hospital to have nurses take infants born alive during abortions down to a “soiled utility room” and leave them to die. This novel has it all: intellectual drama, romance, suspense, moral dilemma, and good character development. It would make a great gift for women who are searching for role models on how to navigate a life that honors family, faith, and a meaningful career.

Dorinda C. Bordlee is a co-founder of the Bioethics Defense Fund.


The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life: I’ve placed Rod Dreher’s heart-rending masterpiece in the very short list of books that have changed my life. I reviewed the book for the dead-tree edition of National Review, expecting it to be a rather conventional story of one woman’s battle with cancer. Instead it’s a tonic to the Lean In ambition of our times, providing the reader with a sense of purpose and place as we live in and serve our own communities.

1914: Catastrophe Europe Goes To War: Max Hastings’s latest book could well be subtitled “The Year the West Began to Die.” I’ve read many books on the start of World War I, but none so clearly argued and none so vivid. Rather than fall for the modern revisionism that blames World War I on, well, everyone, Hastings convincingly puts the blame on Austria and Germany, demonstrating how their actions left the Western powers with a series of bad choices. Once the war starts, the writing grows even more vivid, and we can see the beginning of the end of European dominance, as hundreds of thousands of young men die in futile offensives, convinced the human spirit can overcome the machine gun. They were wrong.

The Screwtape Letters: On the 50th anniversary of C. S. Lewis’s death, it’s only fitting to remember him with one of his best, most insightful, and most imaginative works. In Screwtape, an older devil gives advice and counsel on the human condition to a younger devil, who is assiduously trying to tempt his “patient” away from God. I dare you to read it without seeing the worst of yourself reflected in the various summations of human sin. The book is a bracing tonic against self-love, pointing us to our one, eternal hope. As timely as it was when it was published in 1942 today, read it and be enlightened, delighted, and — most important – humbled.

— David French is a lawyer, writer, and veteran of the Iraq War. He is a co-author, with his wife, of Home and Away.


This wonderful exercise annually gives me plenty of choices for family and friends, and annually I recommend that you treat your favorite people to the Gabriel Allon novels of Daniel Silva, the Aubrey–Machurin stories from Patrick O’Brian, and the Sharpe series from Bernard Cornwell. Give the first of each series — The Kill ArtistMaster and Commander, and Sharpe’s Tiger, respectively — a try to see if the taste is there. If it is, well, the future addict will thank you.

Two other choices for those who, like me, have already finished off each book in all of those wonderful series.

First, the novella An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, never — never — fails to enchant whomever I have given it to.

And David Mamet’s new trilogy of novellas, Three War Stories, grips the reader and leaves him much sadder, and wiser. America’s wonder-worker in words strikes again.

— Hugh Hewitt is the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show and the author of the forthcoming The Happiest Life: Seven Gifts, Seven Givers, and the Secret to Genuine Success.


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