Fighting for Dear Life: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo and What It Means for All of UsDavid Gibbs with Bob DeMoss. Bethany House, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 0-7642-0243-X

Promising a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the real story of Terri Schiavo—"the truth which has been withheld from you... that we were not able to introduce as evidence in court"—Gibbs, the lead attorney for Terri's parents, argues that Terri's court-ordered death was a gross miscarriage of justice. She was, he claims, able to respond to people and stimuli. She was not on life support or in a coma and she was not in a "persistent vegetative state." Gibbs portrays Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, as a villain responsible for perpetrating these ideas in the press and for forbidding cameras in Terri's room so the world could not see that, though disabled, she was not brain-dead. Gibbs raises ethical questions that he says should be of deep concern to all Christians. At times, Gibbs's book reads like the theatrical closing arguments of a courtroom drama, with the obligatory rhetorical flourish. Despite the bias, this is a passionate book about an issue of great importance in our time. (Aug.)

A Theology of Gay and Lesbian Inclusion: Love Letters to the ChurchDonald G. Hanway. Haworth Pastoral Press, $14.95 paper ISBN 0-7890-2999-5

Hanway, a retired Episcopal priest, wants to equip Christians to advocate on behalf of gays and lesbians, and to speak with love and respect to those who disagree. He writes as a pastor, offering 10 open letters to the church in defense of homosexuals, often using their own words and descriptions of the prejudice they have encountered. These faithful homosexual Christians, Hanway says, did not choose their orientation, but have dealt patiently and faithfully with the difficulties of being misunderstood. Hanway also discusses the Bible's teachings on homosexuality, emphasizing that the Gospel is indeed "good news" for all people. The book is strongest when Hanway is sharing the personal stories of gay people who discuss their faith and their hopes for the future. (Aug. 3)

The Decline of the Secular UniversityC. John Sommerville. Oxford, $22 (176p) ISBN 0-19-530695-8

Brief, hard-hitting and often brilliant, this treatise by emeritus historian Sommerville builds the controversial argument that secular universities in America have neglected religion at their peril. "The secular university is increasingly marginal to American society," he contends, adding that this marginalization is a direct result of universities' secularism. Even as Americans have become ever more religious, the university has become a credential factory rather than a place where students seek answers to life's most important questions. While the book is long on diagnosis, it comes up a bit short on prescription. Sommerville points to some tantalizing (and contentious) potential solutions, like allowing religion back into public debates and resurrecting the practice of teaching required courses on Western civilization, but one is left hoping that the full outline of his recommendations might be fodder for a second book. (July 7)

Holy Cross: A Personal ExperienceAidan Troy. Dufour, $23.95 (228p) ISBN 1-85607-922-8

Troy, a Passionist priest, had just been assigned to the Holy Cross parish in Dublin, Ireland, in 2001 when the "troubles" erupted again: Loyalist protestors hurled insults, urine-filled balloons and bricks at young Catholic girls making their way to school. One day, someone threw a bomb that injured some police officers; on another, Father Troy was cautioned that a sniper was lurking nearby. During the anxiety and fear of the three-month protest, Father Troy, the students and their parents bravely confronted the situation. Though the story is powerful, this is a dry description of it, replete with day-by-day accounts. The tale is at its best when Father Troy simply reports his experiences and those of other eyewitnesses. In the end, this is a moving story of community activism. (June 19)

The Muslims of ThailandMichael Gilquin. Silkworm (Univ. of Washington, dist.), $16.95 paper (184p) ISBN 974-9575-85-7

Although Thailand is most obviously known as a Theravada Buddhist country, it has a sizable Muslim minority of up to 8% of the population, and Muslims are the majority in three southern provinces. Muslims are also increasingly represented at the highest levels of Thai government. Translated by Michael Smithies from a 2002 French publication, the book has been expanded and revised by Gilquin, a researcher at the Center for Social Science and Humanities in Rabat, Morocco. The prose is formal and sometimes stilted, but the information is solid and often fascinating. Gilquin traces the origins of Islam in Thailand, then explores the religious characteristics of Thai. Thai Muslims are surprisingly heterogeneous, though Gilquin notes the increasing visibility of more conservative or orthodox Muslims in Thailand, as elsewhere. (June)