You think you're tired of books with millennium, Second Coming, Y2K, or end times in the title, think about me, a hapless book-review editor. I've actually had to take a look at every book (144,000 to be exact) that has crossed my desk in the last few months.

I'm so tired of the hype.

Consequently, for this review, I'm announcing The Best Book of the Millennium. That's definition 15b of of: "in respect to" (American Heritage Dictionary, third ed.). That is, the best book about things millennial:

The New Millennium Manual: A Once and Future Guide
by Robert G. Clouse, Robert N. Hosack, and Richard V. Pierard
Baker, 222 pp., $12.99, paper

Historians Clouse and Pierard have teamed up with editor Hosack to give us the most informative—and entertaining—pre-Y2K book on the end times. Combining church history, theology, and cultural analysis, they debunk millennial hype in the hopes of introducing readers to "the meaning of the coming millennial change."

The reader can tell right away this serious intent is going to be delivered with a grin: a quote from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings ends the introduction, and chapter one opens with philosopher Yogi Berra saying, "The future ain't what it used to be."

While outlining millennial views and summarizing the history of apocalypticism (in a way that is actually interesting and readable), they offer sidebars, cartoons, and photos that illustrate the varied and sometimes wacky world of end-times speculation (my favorites: a list of millennial-related Web sites and "The Two Railroads to Eternity" revival chart). Among the many prophetic figures and movements featured are Christopher Columbus (who, as Christophorus, "Christ ...

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