Monday, August 30, 2010
Jess' Review: Journeys into Justice (Nile Harper)
Title: Journeys into Justice: Religious Collaboratives Working for Social Transformation
Author: Nile Harper
Publisher: Bascom Hill Publishing Group, 2009
Notes: I received this book to review from the publisher.
Journeys into Justice analyzes the role of Protestant Christianity in social justice movements in the United States. This academic book offers case studies of Christian social justice movements ranging from local to international, in particular highlighting their successes and failures.
This book is an interesting one because it has a relatively niche audience. Its case studies aren't particularly riveting for anyone who is looking for a light read. This is an academic, research-oriented book, which is a major downside of this book. If it were organized in a more narrative format, I think its reach would be much greater.
However, the content of the book is interesting. Social justice supporters and people interested in social change movements can find an incredible amount of examples, and may be more likely to include religious organizations and communities into their aims. Harper also acknowledges the power of inclusivity in regard to interfaith initiatives, which is something that lends more credibility to the book (and to Harper's research).
I do question Harper's strong focus on the successes. While it's true that there are numerous warnings about starting social justice movements and sustaining them, I think that this book presents the positives without fully elucidating just how these movements became so successful. The history and background offered with each case study barely scratches the surface.
Harper's book is a good start, and I would be curious to read future editions to see how these movements progress. I occasionally found the different studies' authorship to be frustrating, since Harper's style differs considerably from some of his compilation peers. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in social justice, community engagement, or sociology, especially when pared with other similar texts.
Rating: 3 stars