THE HOSPITAL BY THE RIVER: A Story of Hope
Dr. Catherine Hamlin, with John Little
Kregel Publications,
320 pp., $15.99

Stories of Changed Lives


In this moving memoir, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Catherine Hamlin (called "the Mother Teresa of our age" by The New York Times) details the astonishing work she and her husband, Reg, have accomplished in Ethiopia. They and their team have restored the health of more than 25,000 women who were social outcasts because of crippling injuries from obstructed labor (fistula).

"Imagine the suffering these women endure," Hamlin pleads—and, through her eyes, we can. The medical descriptions are not for the faint of heart. The book is a memoir, with details of Hamlin's family history and everyday life in Ethiopia. But the best moments in the book are the stories of how treatment changed the lives of otherwise despairing women.

The stories become all the more poignant when Hamlin makes us aware that most women with fistula can be helped at a cost of only about $300.

Rich in detail, full of jarring contrasts (wealth and poverty, for example), and profoundly inspiring, this is missionary memoir at its best. Be warned: You'll be moved to open your heart and your wallet.

THE LAST WORD AND THE WORD AFTER THAT: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity
Brian D. McLaren
Jossey-Bass,
224 pp., $21.95

Rethinking Hell


Brian McLaren, the premier teacher of the emergent movement, concludes his fictional trilogy with a work that grapples with difficult questions about hell and universalism.

In extensive introduction and endnotes, McLaren adds context to the story, saying he is "more interested in generating conversation than argument, believing that conversations have the potential to ...

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