Book Review: Taken Into Time “By The Spirit Of God”

Taken Into Time “By The Spirit Of God,” by Joseph Gartenmayer

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

In looking at this extremely short book, it is evident that the author is somewhat of a naive writer.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  As someone who reads far more than my share of self-published material, one frequently comes across authors who wish to write about their lives and their experiences without showing a great deal of familiarity with how books tend to be written [1].  Their writing is unrefined, ignorant of genre conventions or even of length conventions.  They have a story to tell and a basic grasp of the English language and they go about saying what they want to say.  They do not focus a great deal on form and when their story is done, however long or short it was, it is done.  Such books are unlikely to be published simply because the writers involved do not know the rules and conventions of the genres they are working with, but neither do they need to be published to be appreciated, because as self-published works they stand exactly as the author wishes them to, and those who read it can appreciate what the author says.  This is such a book, and is to be judged accordingly.

In terms of its contents, this book is a memoir of sorts about a soldier who at the end of his rope and in despair over the loss of his wife thinks to kill himself but is somehow spared from it and decides to devote his life to serving God.  He gets involved in spiritual warfare against demons and thinks himself to be given visions that point to his place in a great battle against Satan, despite his not being a particular church-going person nor someone who considers himself to be a conventional believer.  All of this is said bluntly, without a lot of detail, and the author makes a lot of assumptions about matters of prophecy that he appears to have gathered in some fashion, perhaps by hearing or reading about them somewhere, but as the author appears to be a particularly uneducated man it is not clear where he acquired such second-hand knowledge of biblical matters as he possesses.  The book’s chief values are in the fact that it immensely short and in the fact that it is written guilelessly and openly.  The author even questions if the figures in his visions are servants of God or not, something that few self-appointed prophets appear to do, at least in the accounts they write about their visions.  The result is a book that is a glimpse into the popular exorcists of our contemporary era who seek to fight against wickedness in high places without being recognized or appreciated by a great deal of literary high culture.

On what grounds is it fair to judge this book?  To be sure, the book is not polished, but such expectations are unreasonable.  The author does not give a lot of explanation or context about his visions or behavior, but he likely would not go into writing with those sorts of expectations.  The author appears to be a straightforward person, seeking to follow what he can understand from the KJV, belonging to strongly patriotic and traditionalist aspects of society, not familiar with a great deal of book learning, nor intellectually inclined.  His story is compelling and coherent, and so long as one is not expecting an account that is detailed or long, the author’s perspective is easy enough to understand, and he even shows graciousness in not naming all of the people he deals with, something that writers far more polished than him struggle with sometimes.  This is by no means a great book from the point of view of literature, but it is a good story and the sort of yarn that would make for an entertaining read or to hear from the author himself.  It is hard to find fault in that.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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