Since our very first issue, we have been reviewing recent publications, often of great importance to current events and injustices. Some of these have been the writings of Friends, and others not.
During the first years of publication, Friends Journal reviewed a wide variety of titles and genres. Quaker classics like The Beginnings of Quakerism by William Braithwaite and the first biography of Rufus Jones written by his daughter Mary Hoxie Jones, as well as classics of Christian theology like Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Deep River by Howard Thurman. There were the less famous titles like Light in the Rigging, which was one the first titles to be reviewed and was a novel about a Quaker woman getting rescued by pirates.
Of course, we were also tuned in to the social injustices of the time. In our first year, Friends Journal published a review on The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward, which continues to be one of the best accounts of how those injustices came to be; in 2013 we reviewed Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, which has served in a similar role for the injustices of our time.
One review that stimulated response for several months after its publication was for the pamphlet Towards a Quaker View of Sex, published in 1963 and reviewed by Friends Journal shortly after. The historic pamphlet was reviewed by Lawrence Miller Jr., a friend involved at American Friends Service Committee and Friends General Conference throughout his life. There were a total of four response letters published before the year ended, and discussions continuously for the next three years.
Over the years, the book reviews section has continued to be a mainstay and a place where important publications are recommended to our readers and, hopefully, brought into the lives and conversations of Friends at large.