Courageous DVD

Call number: PN 1997.2 .C68 2012


Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God’s promise to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.” Souls will be stirred, and hearts will be challenged to be … courageous!

Fireproof DVD

Call number: PN 1997.2 .F57 2009


A feel-good drama, Fireproof has a strong agenda: stay married, lead an honest life, and let your faith in a higher power help guide you. A still boyish-looking Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) stars as Caleb Holt, a mercurial-tempered firefighter whose marriage is on the rocks. He clearly enjoys his status as a hero, but it comes at the expense of his marriage. His wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is tired of the distance and wants him to make more of an effort at home, rather than surf porn on the Internet and hoard his earnings toward his dream fishing boat instead of helping out her disabled mother. Faced with impending divorce, Caleb’s dad challenges him to follow the “40-day love dare,” in which each task (cook her dinner, say nothing negative, etc.) is meant for him to better understand love and commitment and try and win his wife back.
The third film by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Fireproof is the siblings’ most polished feature. Cameron does a fine job of making Caleb real and believable, even when we’re not always liking him. Though saddled at times with maudlin lines, Cameron adds emotion and range to his role. There is a not so subtle theme that the Holts–who at the beginning of the film are agnostic–needed religion to save their marriage. Clearly, Fireproof believes in its agenda and was made with the Christian audience in mind. Whether secular audiences will fall under its spell as well is debatable. But no one should walk away from the film offended. –Jae-Ha Kim

Cropsey DVD

Call number: HV 6762 .N7 C76 2011


The spine-tingling documentary CROPSEY peels back the layers of fact and fiction behind one of New York’s most disturbing unsolved mysteries. Growing up on Staten Island, NY, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio had often heard the legend of “Cropsey.” For the kids on the island, he was the escaped mental patient who lived in the tunnels of Willowbrook and came out late at night to snatch children off the streets. “Cropsey” remained just that, an urban legend, until the summer of 1987, when Jennifer Schweiger, a 13-year-old girl with Down syndrome, disappeared from her neighborhood. She was found buried in a shallow grave five weeks later on the grounds of Willowbrook. In “Cropsey,” Brancaccio and Zeman return to Staten Island to undertake their own investigation of Jennifer and four other missing children as well as the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances. Brancaccio and Zeman skillfully combine a riveting true-crime drama with a personal exploration of the Cropsey myth, uncovering a reality more terrifying than any urban legend.

Unforgotten – 25 Years After Willowbrook DVD

Call number: HV 3004 .U53 2002


 It was a nightmare that shocked not only New York, but all of America. The public outcry about the Willowbrook State School for people with developmental disabilities resulted from Geraldo Rivera’s expose after he had entered Willowbrook with a film crew in 1972, using a stolen key. UNFORGOTTEN takes us on a tour of  the facilities and interviews residents and their families about the inhumane treatment that shocked our nation. “The integration of the developmentally disabled into mainstream society; I think that is the triumph of the Willowbrook saga.”— Geraldo Rivera

A quiet revolution : the veil’s resurgence, from the Middle East to America / Leila Ahmed

Call number: BP190.5.H44 A46 2011

In Cairo in the 1940s, Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn. To them, these coverings seemed irrelevant to both modern life and Islamic piety. Today, however, the majority of Muslim women throughout the Islamic world again wear the veil. Why, Ahmed asks, did this change take root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West? When she began her study, Ahmed assumed that the veil’s return indicated a backward step for Muslim women worldwide. What she discovered, however, in the stories of British colonial officials, young Muslim feminists, Arab nationalists, pious Islamic daughters, American Muslim immigrants, violent jihadists, and peaceful Islamic activists, confounded her expectations.
Ahmed observed that Islamism, with its commitments to activism in the service of the poor and in pursuit of social justice, is the strain of Islam most easily and naturally merging with western democracies’ own tradition of activism in the cause of justice and social change. It is often Islamists, even more than secular Muslims, who are at the forefront of such contemporary activist struggles as civil rights and women’s rights. Ahmed’s surprising conclusions represent a near reversal of her thinking on this topic. Richly insightful, intricately drawn, and passionately argued, this absorbing story of the veil’s resurgence, from Egypt through Saudi Arabia and into the West, suggests a dramatically new portrait of contemporary Islam.

Act of Congress : how America’s essential institution works, and how it doesn’t / Robert G. Kaiser

Call number: HG181 .K35 2013

This is an account of how Congress today really works, and doesn’t, that follows the dramatic journey of the sweeping financial reform bill enacted in response to the Great Crash of 2008. The founding fathers expected Congress to be the most important branch of government and gave it the most power. When Congress is broken, as its justifiably dismal approval ratings suggest, so is our democracy. Here, the author, whose career at The Washington Post has made him a keen and knowledgeable observer of Congress, takes us behind the sound bites to expose the protocols, players, and politics of the House and Senate, revealing both the triumphs of the system and (more often) its fundamental flaws. This book tells the story of the Dodd-Frank Act, named for the two men who made it possible: Congressman Barney Frank, brilliant and sometimes abrasive, who mastered the details of financial reform, and Senator Chris Dodd, who worked patiently for months to fulfill his vision of a Senate that could still work on a bipartisan basis.
Both Frank and Dodd collaborated with the author throughout their legislative efforts and allowed their staffs to share every step of the drafting and deal making that produced the 1,500-page law that transformed America’s financial sector. The author explains how lobbying affects a bill, or fails to. We follow staff members more influential than most senators and congressmen. We see how Congress members protect their own turf, often without regard for what might best serve the country, more eager to court television cameras than legislate on complicated issues about which many of them remain ignorant. In this book the author shows how ferocious partisanship regularly overwhelms all other considerations, though occasionally individual integrity prevails.