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David Orr and David Lempert

Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru. Kimberley Theidon, 2013, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN: 9780812244502, 488 pp., Hb. £49.00.

Facing the Torturer. Francois Bizot, translated by Charlotte Mandell and Antoine Audouard, New York: Alfred A. Knopf: 2012, Hb. U.S.$25.00, ix, 212 pp., ISBN: 978-0-207-2350-5.

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Russell Edwards and Melina Taylor

Liquid Bread: Beer and Brewing in Cross-cultural Perspective. Wulf Schiefenhövel and Helen Macbeth. (eds), New York: Berghahn (The Anthropology of Food and Nutrition Volume 7) 2011, ISBN: 978-1-78238-033-7, 264pp., Hb £75.00, U.S.$120.00, Pb £16.50, U.S.$26.00.

Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru. Kimberly Theidon, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-8122-4450-2, 461pp. Hb $75.00, £49.00.

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Jonathan Magonet

The Book of Esther hardly needs an introduction. However, at first glance it is easy to dismiss it as belonging to the kind of extravagant storytelling we associate with the oriental world, something out of the ‘Thousand and One Nights’. Nevertheless, we must be careful not to project our western prejudices onto this kind of literature, which, in its own way, seeks to instruct as well as entertain. Within the Hebrew Bible the Book of Esther might be classified as wisdom literature, illustrating how a wise man turns the tables on his deadly enemy in the struggle for power in a world of palace intrigues. Moreover, it is especially significant as the only book to be set in the diaspora, exploring the implications of this new reality of exile with its opportunities and dangers.

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Nina Witoszek

Religion has long stood at the center of debates on the environmental crisis of late modernity. Some have portrayed it as a malade imaginaire, providing divine legitimation for human domination and predatory exploitation of natural resources; others have looked up to it as an inspirational force that is the essential condition of planetary revival. There is an ongoing battle of the books on the salience of religion in the modern world. Some trendy volumes declare that God Is Back (Micklethwait and Wooldridge 2009). Others advert to The End of Faith (Harris 2004, harp the theme of The God Delusion (Dawkins 2006), or claim that God Is Not Great (Hitchens 2007). Both sides provide ample evidence to support their adversarial claims. In much of Canada and Western Europe, where religious establishments have courted or colluded with the state, religion has come to be viewed as the enemy of liberty and modernity. Not so in the United States, where the Jeffersonian separation of religion from politics forced religious leaders to compete for the souls of the faithful—and thus to make Christianity more reconcilable with the agenda of modernity,

individualism and capitalist enterprise.