Book Notes ~ July 2016

Written by Karl Dahlfred on .

July was a rather poor month for me in terms of book reading, only finishing 2 books out of the needed 4 in order to stay on target to reach my goal of 50 books in 2016.  But I would particularly commend to you the second of the two books I read, about revival in Thailand.

The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution 

I have mixed feelings about this book because I started reading it in order to better understand the course of the American Revolution. And eventually, in the last third of the book, the author did delve into the final stage of the war where Washington defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown. However, the majority of the book consisted of a detailed account of the European conflicts and naval histories of the 17th and 18th century in order to set the context for the American conflict. I learned more than I ever intended to learn about the Dutch fight for independence from Spain and the internal politics of the British Royal Navy. I nearly put the book down before I got half way through but I kept hoping that the author would eventually get into the American Revolution in earnest. My patience was rewarded but I came away with the feeling that it was not necessary to get into such gory detail about the conflicts between the European nations in order to understand the American Revolution. In the end though, I learned that perhaps the primary reason why the Americans won the war was because the British were arrogant, lethargic, incompetent, and internally divided.




Christian Revival in the Presbyterian Church of Thailand Between 1900 and 1941. An Ecclesiological Analysis and Evaluation

I enjoyed reading this dissertation that focused on the 1938 & 1939 revivals in Thailand that happened through the preaching of Chinese evangelists John Sung. Sung was a remarkable servant of Christ but his campaigns in Thailand often receive little attention in biographies about him. It was great to learn more about what Sung did in Thailand, but it was also informative to learn about other smaller revivals and renewal movements in Thai churches from 1900 onward. God was at work before Sung arrived and the impact that he made created waves that gave new strength and vitality to Thai Christians, especially some who would become key leaders in the church in the decades after World War II.
The other interesting aspect of this dissertation was the comparison that author Seung Ho Son made between conflict over revival in the American Presbyterian church and conflict among American Presbyterian missionaries in Thailand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, similar lines of conflict appeared among the Presbyterians on the mission field as did at home.
A printed edition of Son's dissertation is not available from Amazon, but you can download a full length PDF at


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