There are lots of topics of potential interest. One person who is diligent, curious, and honest, can accomplish a lot within a few short years–including writing a book–if he decides to do the work. So here is some more potential free work. Don’t thank me; I’m glad to help.
I’ll continue with a few more potential topics which could probably be completed in three to seven years, then conclude with some topics which might take much longer to accomplish.
10/The most recent biography of Booth Tarkington is about 65 years old. Who is Booth Tarkington, you ask? He wrote the scintillating Penrod and numerous other books. He was an Indiana author. He won the Pulitzer Prize for two of his novels. At one time he was considered one of this country’s greatest writers. That day is long past. These days he gets faint praise, or no praise, or brickbats, if people even know he exists. So is he worth an up to date biography? Honestly, I don’t know. He might be, or he might not be. If this topic might interest you, read a few of his books, and see what you think. I have ordered the aged biography by James Woodress, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Reading that would probably help you figure out if more needs to be done with the life of Booth Tarkington.
11/What do you think of the most recent biography of W. W. Jacobs? What, you haven’t read it? That’s because it hasn’t been written yet. And who is W. W. Jacobs, anyway? W. W. Jacobs was an English writer of mostly humorous fiction–novels and short stories–who flourished from the late 1890s onward. He is largely forgotten, but at one time he was very famous. I think he is in a league with P. G. Wodehouse, when it comes to humor. Each has his strengths; I wouldn’t voluntarily be without either if/when I am marooned on a desert island. The distinguished Christian thinker R. J. Rushdoony enjoyed the works of W. W. Jacobs, which encourages me greatly. The thing about Jacobs biographies in general is that they are . . . well, all unwritten. There is no book-length treatment of his life. Does he deserve a biography? Yes, a million times yes. This is a major literary talent. If you doubt me, read him. I dare you.
12/Another writer who deserves a book-length biographical treatment is Cid Ricketts Sumner. Who? Cid Ricketts Sumner wrote the novels about Tammy Tyree–the books which inspired the old Tammy movies of a generation and a half ago. You don’t remember those either? I see I have some missionary work to do here. There were three Tammy films which I have seen (a fourth I haven’t): “Tammy and the Bachelor,” “Tammy Tell Me True,” and “Tammy and the Doctor.” The middle one is the best, the first one is fair, and the third one represents a serious falling off in quality. Debbie Reynolds starred in the first, the ravishingly beautiful Sandra Dee in the latter two. The movies are really only an introduction to the books–which are much, much better than the movies. The three Tammy books are Tammy Out of Time, Tammy Tell Me True, and Tammy in Rome. All very good, and sometimes thought-provoking. Cid Ricketts Sumner wrote other books, and had a very interesting life. She was home-schooled, and graduated from college early. She was married to a man who eventually won a Nobel Prize in chemistry (after their divorce). They had four children. She carved out a successful writing career in middle age. She was the only woman on a scientific river journey–at age 64! She died at age 80–murdered by her grandson wielding a hammer. This is a writer whose life is crying out for a full-length biography.
13/How many Jews were killed during the Holocaust? Six million, of course. We all know that. We’ve all heard the figure of six million repeated so many times, that we just sort of assume that it is accurate. But it is very likely not accurate at all. Granted, lots of people are already doing work on this topic. So, strictly speaking, we may not need another book on the topic. Moreover, if you are going to write on this subject, you will need to have your big boy pants on. You will probably have to be willing to be hated. Count the cost. I am not kidding. Count the cost. There may be a huge cost, because lots of people have a vested interest in the number of 6,000,000 being accepted as automatically correct. However, part of our service to Jesus Christ should be and can be to love and defend the truth–wherever that takes us. One or more Christians need to consider doing research enough to write on this topic. But don’t enter into this field lightly, unless you are confident that God is calling you to the work. I think it is important work, because truth is always important, and lies are never a sound foundation for living. If the number 6,000,000 is not just wrong, but a lie, we need to know and face reality. It will hurt at first, but in the long run we will all be better off for facing the truth.
That concludes my listing of topics which could probably be accomplished in three to seven years. For the final three items I list, I want to list topics that might take decades rather than years, to complete. However, don’t panic. Very likely you would have enough information after five to seven years, to write a valuable preliminary book. Then, if your life is cut short before all your research is complete, at least you will have something out there that others can build on.
15/Who have killed more people, Protestants or Roman Catholics? Where did the murders happen, when did they happen, and why? Who did the torturing, who did the war crimes? This again is a book for a Christian to write–because Christians should be committed to truth. This should be written by a person with great objectivity. The crimes of other faiths–secular or religious–can be listed and compared with those of the two types of Christians. This is going to take a lot of research, and a very long time. In the case of this book it would in fact probably be a good idea to publish a preliminary book, after about six or seven years, and to call for others to give input on murders, tortures, and war crimes you have missed. Then a revised book, incorporating additions, could be published eventually. This may be a twenty-year project, but maybe it could be accomplished in ten or twelve. This is another case where one scholar does the work, and others can build on what he starts, even if the original scholar doesn’t live to complete his work. We Christians are in this world for the long haul–except our dispensational brothers, who will be raptured off the earth any day now–and Christian civilization probably is in its early stages. There is job security for all of us.
16/We need a book telling the truth–good, bad, sad, whatever; I suspect there will be a mixture–about the historical record of American Indians a/with the U.S. government, and b/with American Christians. That is a big topic! Again, I have to think that a preliminary book could be published after six or seven years. Corrections and revisions and additions would be needed. After two decades total you might have a finished report that came pretty close to giving us an accurate account of what happened. The truth is sometimes painful, but a painful truth is better than a bright shining lie. Let us all try to face the truth honestly. That means facing the crimes of a/American Indians, b/the U.S. government, c/American Christians. When there were good and honorable and generous things going on, by all means report them. The more truth we have, the more likelihood that we will in the future proceed with wisdom. Does there need to be corporate repentance somewhere? If not, great. If so, let’s get to work doing what needs to be done.
17/Why did Europe (aided by the hog-on-ice United States) blow its silly brains out in 1914-18, in 1939-45, and in current baby-killing, Muslim-welcoming times? Something went wrong. If the Protestant Reformation was a huge step in the right direction–let’s not automatically assume that it was!–how did its good effect (again, if the effect was good) die out so spectacularly? Assume for the sake of argument that the Protestant Reformation was a good and needed revision, still undeniably something went horrifically wrong. The answer as to how and why this happened, must be in our theology and in our consequent actions that we took because of our theology. (It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make an educated guess that both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism have been helping us commit suicide.) We did this to ourselves! The wreckage is all around us–in our churches and in our nations (European and American)–and we still haven’t even begun to smell a rat! This is a study on which to expend a career. Again, the same pattern should hold: preliminary published book after six or seven years, then a revised up to date final book after twenty years total. If we are unwilling to face the truth that our brand of Christianity is way off base, and has been so for a very long time, we will never get plugged into reality, never make the reforms we need to make.
That concludes my listing of potential topics for books. They were mostly short, with a few which lend themselves to decades of work. I listed 17 topics, but I feel confident that with a little bit of thought I could come up with 17 more. And you could come up with 17 of your own, all of which you would find more interesting than the 17 I have listed.
The world is a fascinating place. With the interpretative grid which Christianity gives us, and with a bit of elbow grease added in, we can help ourselves and our friends and enemies peel back one tiny layer of the fascination. There will always be hundreds of layers more.
Is this a great world or what?!