Books in Brief

March 2021

Let Us Dream resonates with themes familiar from Pope Francis’s other work: the importance of looking to those on the margins to lead us as we pursue change; of listening with open hearts and engaging in dialogue; of caring for our collective home. Yet this contemplative volume is still deeply moving, at times even radical, explicitly advocating economic reordering to provide land, lodging, and labor for all, reminding us that every “concrete act of mercy is an act of justice.” Francis urges us to meet the global crisis we face by choosing fraternity and community over individualism and profit—even when that requires us to face the suffering on the edges of our communities that we too often ignore.

Let Us Dream
The Path to a Better Future

Pope Francis and Austen Ivereigh
Simon & Schuster
$26 | 160 pp.

 

“If you do what you love,” so the saying goes, “you’ll never work a day in your life.” Labor reporter Sarah Jaffe uses her new book, Work Won’t Love You Back, to flip this particular canard on its head, arguing that the myth of “doing what you love” sets up an often unattainable or insupportable ideal of work: if your job is your passion, that should make up for low pay, long hours, or poor working conditions. Structured as a series of case studies, Jaffe’s book examines particular jobs and industries that tend to be most afflicted by this labor of love rhetoric (nonprofits, tech workers, and internships, to name a few). By highlighting subsets of the modern workforce, Jaffe hopes to shed light on questions that affect all workers: How do we build lives that have purpose and joy outside of the workplace? 

Work Won’t Love You Back
How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

Sarah Jaffe
Bold Type Books
$30 | 432 pp.

 

Joe Biden was elected the second Catholic president of the United States at a time of profound crisis in both his country and his Church. It’s not just a pandemic that he’s inherited: Biden took office mere weeks after his predecessor incited a violent insurrection at the Capitol, while the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops greeted his inauguration with barely concealed hostility. In Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States, Massimo Faggioli provides a superb guide to how we got here and sharp insights about the forces that will shape Biden’s presidency. “Biden is the first Catholic president to publicly express a religious soul,” he writes, “not a vaguely Christian, but a distinctly Catholic one, confidently but not bellicosely.” What is distinctive about this distinctly Catholic president? How does he fit into the sweep of American political and religious history, including past Catholic politicians and candidates? And how might he forge a productive relationship with Pope Francis, if not the U.S. bishops? Faggioli takes up these questions and others, bringing to bear his scholarly expertise in this accessible, essential book.

Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States
Massimo Faggioli
Bayard
$22.95 | 176 pp.

Published in the March 2021 issue: 
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Books in Brief

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