Our Great God and Saviour   -  
Eric J. Alexander

About this book, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson wrote, "Prepare to enjoy a feast of good things."

Eric Alexander's great concern in this series of studies is that Christian believers should know how rich they are in their gracious God and Saviour, and in his perfect work of salvation. Each study brings out a fresh aspect of this theme, as we contemplate in turn the character of God, the salvation of God, and the church of God. These warm and pastorally-directed studies will provide satisfying food for the hearts and minds of Christian readers everywhere.

ERIC ALEXANDER has been a minister of the Church of Scotland for over fifty years and has served churches in Glasgow, the city of his birth, and Newmilns, Ayrshire. Although retired from parish ministry, he continues to preach at conferences in the United Kingdom and overseas. In 1961 Eric was married to Greta Connell and they have a daughter and a son.

Am I a Christian ?   -   James Fraser

In this book Heaven on Earth, Thomas Brooks wrote,

A man may be a true believer, and yet would give all the world, were it in his power, to know that he is a believer. To have grace, and to be sure that we have grace is heaven on this side of heaven.

James Fraser endured a long conflict with doubts. This little book, taken from his memoirs (Memoirs of the Rev. James Fraser of Brea, found in Scottish Puritans: Select Biographies, volume two), is a helpful record of how he overcame his fears, and arrived at a firm assurance of his salvation in Christ.

The Protestant Revolution - From Martin Luther to Martin Luther King Junior
William G. Naphy

When Martin Luther nailed 95 criticisms of the Catholic Church to the door of his local church in 1517 he sparked not just a religious Reformation, but an unending cycle of political, social and economic change that continues to this day. By challenging the authority of the Pope, Luther inadvertently unleashed a revolutionary force: the power of the individual to determine his or her own thoughts and actions. Over four centuries later, the Protestant minister Martin Luther King Jr was acting on the same revolutionary principle when he rejected racial discrimination and spearheaded the US Civil Rights Movement.

The legacy of the Reformation is all around us, influencing our work life, our family life, even our sex life, as well as our political views and sense of national identity. From literature to science, from gay marriage to the 'War on Terror', a vibrant struggle for Protestant principles is alive in Britain, America and the developing world. This is the story of the Reformation and its lasting legacy - in effect, how Protestantism created the modern world.

In conclusion, it is a well-written book. If you are interested in Protestant religious history then this book will give you a good overview.

My God is True!   -  Lessons learned Along Cancers Dark Road   -   Paul D. Wolfe

Cancer ! Nearly everyone knows someone who has had it. But do we know well the Bible's teaching that will strengthen us in the face of it? Everyone undergoes testing and trials. But do we do so trusting firmly in the goodness, wisdom and power of God? Here is a book that will help.

My God Is True! is one man's chronicle of cancer and the lessons he learned through it. In these pages Paul Wolfe tells his story of diagnosis, treatment and survival, and he points to the glory and grace of God along the way. Above all he points to the faithfulness of God, whose promises will certainly prove true. Read this story and be reminded that there is good reason - even in the midst of suffering - to worship and rejoice.

From the Foreword by DR. SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON:

One of the hallmarks of "My God Is True!" that makes it stand apart, is not only the engaging modesty with which the story is told, but the framework within which it has been written - a deep sense of the undergirding sovereignty and grace of God, his faithfulness, and his wisdom - a recognition that his ways are higher, deeper, and wise than ours. While this is the story of a young man's pain, his struggles, his journey through a valley of deep darkness, it is also a story of love - Paul's love for Christ, his shared love with his wife Christy and their family circle. It is a testimony to what it means to belong to the living fellowship of Christ's people, the church."

A Way to Pray:   A Biblical Method to Enrich your Prayer Life
Matthew Henry

Most evangelical Christians know of Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible, but few are as familiar with his A Method for Prayer, with Scripture Expressions Proper to Be Used under Each Head (1710). This work has been drawn almost entirely from Scripture (with references cited), arranged under various headings, to help Christians to pray in harmony with the truth of God, revealed in his Word. First published three hundred years ago, it has been revised and updated by O. Palmer Robertson to allow the language of prayer to be expressed in today's idiom. It is sent out in the confidence that God will continue to honour his own Word, as it is redirected back to him in the form of heartfelt prayer.

FROM THE INTRODUCTION, by O. Palmer Robertson
Prayer in this form is nothing more and nothing less than what the old Puritans called 'pleading the promises'. God has made promises to his people. His people respond by redirecting those promises to the Lord in the form of prayer. How could a God who is faithful to his word fail to answer prayers of this kind? He has promised. He will honour that promise. If Christians would join together and form their prayers with the maturity and insight provided by Scripture itself, the impact on the world could not be measured.

John Calvin   -   Institutes of the Christian Religion   -   Henry Beveridge

At the age of 26, Calvin published several revisions of his Institutes, a seminal work in Christian theology that altered the course of Western history and that is still read by theological students today. It was published in Latin in 1536 and in his native French in 1541, with the definitive editions appearing in 1559 (Latin) and in 1560 (French). The book was written as an introductory textbook on the Protestant faith for those with some learning already and covered a broad range of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments to justification by faith alone. It vigorously attacked the teachings of Roman Catholicism and other heresies, to which Calvin says he had been "strongly devoted" before his conversion to Protestantism. The over-arching theme of the book--and Calvin's greatest theological legacy--is the idea of God's total sovereignty, particularly in salvation and election.

John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism or Reformed theology. In Geneva he rejected the authority of the Pope, established a new scheme of civic and church governance, and created a central hub from which Reformed theology was propagated. He is renowned for his teachings and writings.

The Penguin History of the Church:   The Reformation   -   Owen Chadwick

The beginning of the sixteenth century brought growing pressure within the Western Church for Reformation. The popes could not hold Western Christendom together and there was confusion about Church reform. What some believed to be abuses, others found acceptable. Nevertheless over the years three aims emerged: to reform the actions of churchmen, to correct errors of doctrines and to improve the moral awareness of society. As a result, Western Europe divided into a Catholic South and Protestant North. Across the no man's land between them were fought the bitterest wars of religion in Christian historyThis third volume of ‘The Penguin History of the Church’ deals with the formative work of Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, and analyses the special circumstances of the English Reformation as well as the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation.
Chadwick outlines the early developments and the 'cry' for reform in the face of the absurdities, scholasticism and abuses of the Church at that time. He also discusses the personality and character of the major actors, putting flesh on Luther (and bone on the austere Calvin). The dark events of England are treated particularly well, not a good time for the monastaries of course, and the Catholic 'counter-reformation' and the radical 'anabaptists' receive good treatment. The Reformation will never be an 'easy' subject to study and technical language will always be inevitable. With this in mind, Chadwick's history is a great achievement and is certainly worth reading.

Reverend Owen Chadwick is considered one of the foremost historians of church history. He is a former Regius Professor of Modern
History at Cambridge and was Vice-Chancellor of the university. He is also an ordained Anglican priest.

Worldly Saints:    The Puritans As they Really Were   -   Leland Ryken

The Puritans are seen by many as being the pinnacle of Christianity, however, they were not perfect. Mr. Ryken has written a most readable and enjoyable history of the Puritans. He does not shy away from clear problems that they had.

Of interest most was his demonstration through his scholarship that society under the Puritan "Ideal" had problems, but was infinitely better off than most other areas in western Europe. John Calvin and his followers in Switzerland were clearly extreme in their use of scriptural discipline. The American Puritans were fanatics of control and discipline. The English Puritans were more well rounded in how they were to effect their society.


With all that said, Mr. Ryken has shown that the Puritans were not only good people, but may have been the true moral fiber of their different cultures. There seems to be an underlying truth that where the Puritans had the most influence, the people were the most safe and taken care of by the clergy.

Were there mistakes in the Puritan movement? Yes, a mistakeless society or movement is the figment of a deranged imagination or science fiction. The Puritans were human. They did wrong. When they were shown the wrong, from a biblical perspective, they repented and made the change.

Modern revisionist historians have made much of the Puritan intolerence's for many things. If these historians would just read Mr. Ryken's book they would see, if they are honest, that the Puritans were very honorable and did stick to what they truly believed to be true.


Beyond The Banners:  The Story of The Orange Order    -    Mattison, Scott & Hume

A new book has been published, telling the story of the Orange Order across the world.
Beyond The Banners has been published in a joint venture by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Booklink, an international publisher based in
The 144 page hardback is a full colour, high quality production, which features photographs and images of many artefacts held by the Orange Order.
Beyond The Banners focuses on the Institution worldwide, including countries where lodges no longer exist, such as Malta, Cuba, Brazil, India, Nigeria, the Philippine Islands and South Africa.

The publication places the Orange Order in the context of Irish history and world society. It was launched at a reception last night, Thursday, June 11, in Carrickfergus, the town where William, Prince of Orange landed before the Battle of the Boyne.

The authors of the book are Jonathan Mattison, David Scott and David Hume. It was financed by the Educational Affairs Committee of the Grand Lodge.The cover of the publication is an impressive specially commissioned piece of artwork, produced by graphic artist Kyle Thompson. It is an iconic image of William arriving in choppy seas in Belfast Lough with Carrickfergus in the background.

The coffee table book includes chapters on The Glorious Revolution, early Orange Societies, the foundation of the Loyal Orange Institution, fraternal bonds across the world and famous Orangemen. There are also sections on Orange Halls, banners and regalia.

The publisher of the book, Claude Costecalde of Booklink in Holywood said:
"I have worked on a number of other big publications such as Presbyterians in Ireland and Stormont, the House on the Hill and they have been very successful. I believe that the image of the Orange Order has been unfairly dented over the years and I trust that this book will redress the situation.
As a Frenchman, I have been fascinated by the Orange Order and it has been a privilege to work with so many committed people.

This book will be unique. Beyond The Banners is a wonderful gift, a reference book and a comprehensive guide to the history of an organisation that has been an important part of society for more than 200 years."


                   This book can be purchased by clicking the picture below



Orangeism:   The Making of a Tradition   -    Kevin Haddick-Flynn

Events centred around the Drumcree Parish Church and the Garvaghy Road have focused worldwide attention on the Orange Order and the Loyal orders in general. Much of the history of the Order remains untold and unexplored. In this study of the history of Orangeism, Kevin Haddick-Flynn presents the reader with a comprehensive and definitive account of the Order from its foundation in the 17th century through centuries of growth and conflict and brings us right up to 1999 and the turmoil of recent Drumcree years.
Issues which he examines include the origins of the order, Ireland before and after William, the creation of the first Orange Societies in Ireland, the links between Orangeism and Freemasonry, the growth of the Orange Order outside of Ireland, the role of this "non-political" society in the politics of the state, Orangeism in the 20th century and there is a particular focus later in the book on the events of the last four years in Northern Ireland. The author was allowed access to the Grand Lodge Library in Belfast and the this book is a culmination of five years research. Over the course of 15 chapters he examines every aspect of the order in this examination of the institution of Protestantism and he aims to produce an objective account of the Order.


The Faithful Tribe    -   An Intimate Portrait of the Loyal Institutions
Ruth Dudley Edwards

To most outsiders, grown men parading in bowler hats, white gloves, coloured sashes or collarettes, rolled umbrellas and banners showing scenes from the Old Testament or from a war that ended three centuries ago, are anachronistic, silly and provocative; to their enemies they are triumphalist bigots; to most of their members, the lodges' parades are a commemoration of the courage of their forefathers, a proud declaration of their belief in civil and religious freedom, a demonstration of their Britishness, a chance to catch up with old friends and a jolly day out.

Ruth Dudley Edwards is an unlikely Joan of Arc for the Orangemen, but that she is; a trusted and liked sympathizer, a woman, a Catholic from southern Ireland; She writes a fond but not uncritical, indeed rather exasperated, portrait of the Order.
The book intends to appeal not only to Orangemen and their sympathizers but to all those intrigued, horrified or scientifically interested in the clans.


The Orange Order   -   Mervyn Jess

A highly illuminating and optimistic book -- The Sunday Tribune 

A thought provoking book that should be enjoyed by anyone who likes having their preconceptions challenged. -- The Irish Mail on Sunday

Reflects an impressive understanding of the nature and culture of the institution ... the great strengths of the book are its attractive readability and its wealth of interview quotation, from Orangemen and opponents alike. In letting these voices be heard, Jess has produced a fresh and vivid account -- The Irish Times


William and Mary   -   John Van Der Kiste 

Mary (1662-94), daughter of James, Duke of York, heir to the English throne, then 15, is said to have wept for a day and a half when she was told she was to marry her cousin, William (1650-1702), son of William II of Orange (1626-50), Stadtholder of the Dutch republic, and Mary, eldest daughter of Charles I of England, who was eleven years older than her. In November 1677, on William's 27th birthday, they married in a private ceremony at St James's Palace. William was solemn, James gloomy, Mary in tears, and only King Charles appeared cheerful.

This dual biography deals with both the "life and times" of the monarchs, and with England's place in Europe. Interests of the subjects, outside the constitutional, are dealt with, as well as their personal relationships: Mary's troubled personal relations with her father, James II; and the relationship between Mary and her sister and husband's successor Anne. The book also examines the personal and political relations between William and his uncle Charles II, and between William and Mary and Charles' illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth. 

Revolution:   The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy 1688-1720   -   Tim Harris

'Gripping ... a much-needed reinterrogation' Daily Telegraph

'A magisterial work...confident prose, trenchant insight and vivid illustration' Independent

The revolution of 1688 was for centuries considered the foundation of the modern British state and constitution. In 1788 and 1888, there were great national celebrations to commemorate it. In the 1960s it fell out of fashion, first with Marxists historians, and then with conservatives, who argued it was merely a coup d'etat within the ruling class.

Tim Harris's book is one of a number putting the revolution back into proper historical context, and explaining how fundamental it was not only in the political and social development of Britain, but also in Scotland, Ireland and in the American colonies. Harris explains how the Stuarts' ideology of the absolute divine right of kings gave way to the constitutional rule of law to which everyone was equally subject, with an independent judiciary, division of powers, free speech, popular elections and parliaments. Of the current crop of popular histories of the revolution, this is probably the best in terms of balanced overview, and in presenting a conventional "narrative history". It's probably the best general history book on the subject at least since David Ogg's work in the 1950's.


The Last Revolution:   1688 and the Creation of the Modern World   -   Patrick Dillon

The last successful invasion of England; mobs burning Catholic chapels; one king, James, driven from his palace by night while another, William, rode in at the head of a foreign army; the events of winter 1688 were among the most dramatic in our history. The settlement which followed would place England decisively on the path to freedom, toleration, parliamentary democracy and empire. Few moments have done so much to shape this country as the Glorious Revolution. But 1688 would change England in other ways as well. This was the time of Isaac Newton's scientific breakthroughs and John Locke's philosophy. The 1690s would see free market ideas emerge, the first stockmarket boom and bust, the end of press censorship and the arrival of religious toleration. Newspapers were opening. London was becoming a mecca for leisure and conspicuous consumption.

In decisive ways, the modern world was formed in these turbulent years. Weaving political drama in with the lives of scientists and revolutionaries, stockjobbers and refugees, "The Last Revolution" paints a vivid canvas of England's last great political struggle, a struggle which often, at the time, seemed far from glorious. Here are the political exiles who plotted against James II, and the financiers who established the City; here are philosophers and gamblers, actors and entrepreneurs and not least,- traditionalists defending cherished values against The Moderns. Closely researched, teeming with dramatic incident and vivid character, "The Last Revolution" brings to life the revolutionary world of the late seventeenth century. It offers timely reminders about religious toleration and the political freedoms on which we depend, and, finally, provides a brilliant insight into the emergence of the dynamic, constantly changing world we inhabit today.  


The Ulster Crisis:   Opposition to Home Rule in Ireland    -  
A.T.Q. Stewart

A.T.Q. Stewart established his well deserved reputation as an objective, erudite scholar with this small book. Unlike many academic historians however,he also writes well. He treats his subject not as a sounding board for a trendy, modern "ism", but instead as an objective event in the past. He examines not only what happened, but why it happened. This volume examines the rise of Ulster Loyalist resistance to Irish Nationalist "Home Rule", which the Northern Irish Loyalists rightly saw as the short road to independence for Ireland from the Empire. Their threatened armed "rebellion" against the British government so as to (ironically) achieve their aim of remaining British, ultimately set in motion the events of 1916 and later 1968/69.

Stewart treats his subject dispassionately and with great insight and detail. At the same time Stewart describes events almost as a journalist would have done. One can almost see the gun runners unloading the rifles off the docks in the darkness from his narration. Ultimately, he also describes how the participants faired. The nascent Volunteers marched off to meet their doom on the Somme. The peaceful Nationalists were ultimately politically outflanked by Sinn Fein who revolted in 1916, a mere six weeks before their counterparts went over the top in Flanders. The British Officers who threatened to resign at Curragh Barracks rather than enforce what they saw as an unpatriotic law, lost not only their lives but their world.
The whole book is well researched and does not assume the reader already knows a lot about the Home Rule crisis. Written in 1969, it is quite possibly one of the best books written about the Home Rule period.


1 July 1916   -   The First Day on The Somme   -   Martin Middlebrook

On 1 July, 1916, a continuous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme. The walked into No Man’s Land and began to walk slowly towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns and defended by thick barbed wire. By the end of that day, as old tactics were met by the reality of modern warfare, there were more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatalities. Martin Middlebrook’s classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources, local newspapers, autobiographies, novels and poems from the time. Most importantly, it also takes in the accounts of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror. Compelling and intensely moving, it describes the true events behind the sacrifice of a generation of young men - killed as much by the folly of their commanders as by the bullets of their enemies.

Do not be mistaken by the title of this book: this is not merely an hour-by-hour account of 1 July 1916. No, crucially, in this book Middlebrook gives a comprehensive and most valuable background to Kitchener's Army: the origins of those unfortunate enough to be present, how they were structured, and what was hoped to have been achieved on this the most costly day in British military history. As is usual with Middlebrook, first-hand accounts are in profusion and lend the volume the presence and immediacy that is so characteristic of this author's accounts of armed conflict. Make this the first book you read about the BEF in WWI, particularly if you intend to visit the area. Thoroughly recommended. 


The Road to The Somme  -  Men of the 36th Ulster Division Tell Their Story
Philip Orr

When the Ulster Division left Picardy after the Battle of the Somme in July 1911, they had lost over two thousand men, and more than three thousand had suffered injuries. Their tragic story, and great bravery, has since become iconic in Ulster Protestant tradition and mythology. This new updated edition of Philip Orr's definitive book traces the events that led up to the Somme - from the birth of the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1912 to the division's formation, training and journey to France - to the battle itself, and its aftermath, when local newspapers were filled with the long lists of victims and the Twelfth parades were replaced by a five-minute silence across Ulster at noon. Based on Philip Orr's interviews with Somme veterans, this is the soldiers' story, told in their eloquent voices, exposing the reality of that bloody summer and its devastating and far-reaching impact on a close-knit community.



Philip Orr is the author of a number of successful books, including Field of Bones: An Irish Division at Gallipoli and Tom's Story: Sentry Hill and the Great War. He is currently working on a study of the relationship between the Loyalist working class and the church, New Loyalties, which will be published in 2008 by the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland. 

British Voices: From The Irish War of Independence 1918-1921
William Sheehan

It's not every day one gets to read from the British point of view on a bloody conflict between 1918 and 1922. While a huge majority of works since the 1960's on Irish history covering the period have been from the IRA, the IRB and Nationalists' views (including the Unionists of Ulster/Northern Ireland), very few have bothered to cover the actual view point from the ordinary British servicemen as well as the officers, the military command in Dublin Castle and of course the barracks/garrisions surrounded by a hostile landscape in the country. It does cover letters, diaries and opinions of those sevicemen and officers who certainly felt they were winning a war against the IRA only to be let down by the British Government.

This excellent book provides a much needed exploration from the British Army's perspective of the war in Ireland from 1918-1921. Sourced from diaries, lectures and interviews the author builds a useful compendium of first person accounts of the troubles from such luminaries as Percival (of Singapore notoriety), at the time a successful Intelligence Officer with the Essex Regiment, and Montgomery. Most of the accounts are from officers, which is a pity, but the book leads with the diary entries of Pvt J P Swindlehurst of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

In the popular fiction of the small and big screens the war has been depicted almost wholly from the perspective of the Irish Republican movement, with the Crown Forces subject to crude stereotyping and caricature in overtly partisan films like 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley'. Often these treatments are more about 'Brit-bashing' than any real attempt to get under the skin of the period. Mr Sheehan's book goes no little distance to restoring a long needed balance and is refreshing in its objective and impartial handling of the evidence.

Recommended and essential reading for those who want a balanced view of the conflict.

Crisis and Decline:  The Fate of Southern Unionists    -   R.B McDowell

Crisis and Decline is an engrossing and much-needed study of the Unionist(largely Protestant) community in the south of Ireland from the 1880s through Irish independence and the civil war to the 1930s. The author, a fellow at Trinity College Dublin, draws heavily from first-person sources as well as government and economic statistical abstracts to paint a thorough, if not quite complete picture of a once-powerful minority.
Beginning with the Unionist convention in Dublin in 1885, it follows the political and economic trajectory of the Southern Unionists from the birth of the Unionist Party through the Home Rule bill debates, their abandonment by the Ulster Unionists in 1918 and the British withdrawl from the 26 counties in 1922.

More interesting, however, are dozens of first hand accounts and testimonies of the southern minority's experiences during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War. Collected from all walks of life and all regions of the 26 counties,the book paints a vivid picture of a once-vibrant community in disarray. The author has also included an autobiographical sketch of his days at Trinity in the 1930s and 40s, an interesting account of the Trinity and Dublin of the Emergency period, of special interest to those familiar with or seeking historical/social background to the Dublin and Trinity College of Donleavy's The Ginger Man.

This book may be a disappointment to those seeking a deeper analysis of the effects of the decline of the Protestant community in the 26 counties on the economic, political, and cultural life of the Irish Republic and its implications for current developments in Ireland as a whole.

While good use is made of empirical/statistical evidence, it is nevertheless intended to be a largely anecdotal history, at which it succeeds. Crisis and Decline is a worthwhile read for all those interested in the history, politics,culture and society of Ireland in the decades immediately preceding and following independence. 

The Year of Disappearances:    Political Killings in Cork 1920-1923
Gerard Murphy

Every spy who was shot in Cork was buried so that nothing was known about them. They just disappeared. These are the words of an IRA commander recalling the War of Independence in Cork city. The Year of Disappearances examines this claim and others like it. It uncovers a web of suspicion and paranoia that led to scores of men and boys, mostly Protestants, being abducted from their homes before being executed as enemies of the Republic and their bodies buried. While some of this took place during the War of Independence, most of it happened the following year, during the so-called Cork Republic . The net result was to change the demographic of the south-eastern corner of the city for ever, with hundreds of families fleeing and up to fifty individuals buried in unmarked graves in surrounding areas. Using a wide range of previously untapped sources, Murphy shines new light on one of the darker episodes of twentieth-century Irish history. The Year of Disappearances is a groundbreaking book that deepens our knowledge and understanding of the War of Independence. It subverts many myths and examines realities long hidden. 

It is also by the way, a fabulous read and stands out from most history books because of its narrative structure as Murphy gradually uncovers the truth out of a mishmash of lies and half-truths that had been accepted as fact for eighty years.

If you're going to buy one book on Irish history for this year, this is the one to get. 

              Most of these books can be purchased by clicking the following links: