The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ

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Do you want to learn more about who Jesus really is?

In The Jesus You Can't Ignore, author and pastor John MacArthur reintroduces a critical aspect of the Savior that has seemingly been forgotten. Yes, the Savior tenderly held little children in His arms but He also violently overturned tables in the temple. He gently touched a blind man's eyes but He scourged pompous thieves with a whip. His words soothed grief-stricken parents and angered the...

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The Jesus You Can't Ignore (Study Guide): What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ

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Do you want to learn more about who Jesus really is?

In The Jesus You Can't Ignore, author and pastor John MacArthur reintroduces a critical aspect of the Savior that has seemingly been forgotten. Yes, the Savior tenderly held little children in His arms but He also violently overturned tables in the temple. He gently touched a blind man's eyes but He scourged pompous thieves with a whip. His words soothed grief-stricken parents and angered the religious establishment of His day.

Because some prefer the meek and mild Jesus, it's become commonplace to ignore the fullness of the Savior. In this study guide, you will dig deeper into the Savior as He truly is, gaining the lifelong impact of knowing His character and His ways using the following tools:

  • Probing questions for personal reflection
  • Multiple-choice exercises to get to real answers to your questions
  • Deeper discussions of the biblical text and cultural context of Jesus' day
  • Rewind, reflect, and react sections to increase your knowledge and inspire new action.

Verse by verse, John MacArthur unpacks the Jesus Christ the Bible presents. Page by page, you will reach new conclusions about the Jesus too often overlooked. Discover a vivid portrait of the Messiah as He really is!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In 1897, author Charles Monroe Sheldon penned a volume titled "In His Steps" that went on to become an international bestseller. It is from this book that the popular WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) movement emerged. MacArthur, bestselling author, pastor of Grace Community Church and president of the Master's College and Seminary, begins with this notion and expands it to ask the question, "What didJesus do?" He acknowledges that knowing the mind of Christ can be a challenge, especially when confronting the widespread influence of secularism and irreligion. But he also notes that Jesus encountered the same kinds of challenges. By studying the gospels, a modern pilgrim can get a sense of how Jesus handled similar situations, and extrapolate from his example ways in which we, today, can live. "His [Jesus'] style of ministry ought to be the model for ours," the author writes. MacArthur insists that we can engage contemporary culture using the same techniques that Christ used to meet head-on the challenges of his day. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400202294
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Edition description: Study Guide
  • Pages: 119
  • Sales rank: 1,191,705
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of the Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. In more than four decades of ministry, John has written dozens of bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, and Slave. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

1 When It's Wrong to Be "Nice" 1

2 Two Passovers 13

3 A Midnight Interview 23

4 This Man Speaks Blasphemies 33

5 Breaking the Sabbath 43

6 Hard Preaching 53

7 Unpardonable Sin 67

8 Woe 79

Leader Guide 93

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not for the hard hearted

    Warning: "The Jesus You Can't Ignore" is not an easy book to read. If you're one of those Christians who preaches a spreading of the Gospel through "love," friendship and tolerance, you won't like what John MacArthur has to say. In fact, you may quickly develop a hardened heart and attitude similar to that of the Pharisees that Jesus and MacArthur preach against. Regardless, I still recommend you read this book. You may not like it, but it may be something you need to hear.

    MacArthur's writes to confront that part of the church that has become too tolerant in fear of conflict. While his book starts out slow, covering obvious points, it quickly becomes more intriguing. I'm sure I'm not the only one with questions about the proper way to witness to non-Christians and the proper way to stand up for what the Bible clearly says is wrong, such as homosexuality.

    MacArthur draws on examples from the Gospel when Jesus confronted the Pharisees and their false teachings. Discernment is the Christian's duty, MacArthur writes, and thus we have a duty to discern when it's the right moment for righteous judgment. Jesus did not preach to please. To the contrary, he spoke the truth, even though he knew it would push many of his followers away and incite conflict with the false teachers of the day. Jesus was about truth.

    It's certainly a controversial subject, but it's worth a read if you're willing to accept it rather than reject it as "judgmental." Unfortunately, MacArthur does not spend much space relating Jesus' confrontations to modern times, and that will allow skeptical readers to toss aside what MacArthur has to say. Personally, I was left wanting more. How can I apply this to how I treat my non-Christian friends? How can I apply it to how I stand up for the truths found in the Bible? I guess I'm going to have to do my own truth searching now. Hopefully, you will too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Much more harmful than helpful.

    If you're a Christian and you're looking for a club with which to beat up another Christian, you're going to want to stick with the tried-and-true "Jesus-was-always-mean-to-the-Pharisees" model (patent pending).
    The argument goes something like this: Jesus reserved his harshest words for the religious leaders of his day. So if I can cast my enemies (er. rather. GOD's enemies. That's what I meant to say) as modern-day Pharisees, then I can use all the same rhetoric against them. I get a license to slay them with the Sword of Truth coming from my mouth. Every Christian - including me, I'm not proud to admit - uses this argument when it's time to draw lines in the sand.

    MacArthur is no different. If you're even moderately familiar with him, you know he thinks the Emergent Church (whatever that is) is the biggest threat to the survival of Christianity since the Russians (back in the good ole days, when they were Communists). This whole book is dedicated to providing theological proof-texts for MacArthur's rants against Emergent leaders like Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborn and Brian McLaren (all of whom he cites).

    In order to make his case, MacArthur begins by presenting one of the worst caricatures of Pharisees and Sadducees I've seen in a published text. His "research"* doesn't seem to have included any books on first-century Palestinian Judaism written since the turn of the twentieth century. For instance, he calls the Sadducees "classic theological liberals" - a gross anachronism, give that the Sadducees' interpretive methods were so conservative they were borderline reactionary. He then performs a similar parody of Emergents such that the two pictures are clear images of each other. The problem is that neither picture especially mirrors any sort of real persons either in the first century or the here-and-now.

    I don't think MacArthur's being intentionally malicious, however.
    As I moved through the book the book, MacArthur's method of interpretation became increasingly clear. He wrote this book not as a careful study of biblical texts to explore what a Scripturally-faithful response to people who made him uncomfortable might be. MacArthur's mind was already made up, and this colored his reading of Biblical texts, the nature of Pharisee- and Sadducee-ism and what it means to be Emergent. The three groups became whatever villains he needed them to be and the Scriptures said whatever he needed them to say such that God agreed with him about the evil of the villains.

    Blatant self-contradiction is clear throughout MacArthur's methodology. He reads texts however they'll most adequately prop up beliefs he already holds. Walter Brueggemann called this sort of theological engagement "dangerous certitude", and reading The Jesus You Can't Ignore is a great illustration of the truth of that phrase.

    Bottom Line: This book's not worth the few gems you can get out of it. Spend your time reading someone else.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2010

    The Jesus You Can't Ignore

    By the title of this book, I was pretty excited to see what was in the pages. However, once I started reading, I was a little bit disappointed at how difficult it was to understand. I could hardly get through the introduction because a lot of the words I didn't understand and had to look up in a dictionary. The idea behind the book is great and the information is wonderful, but I had a hard time getting through the book easily.

    The content was good though -- a book about how Jesus isn't just the nice, passive teacher we always think of. He was often confronting people and we need to see the entire Jesus, not just the peaceful and good-natured Jesus we expect.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Definitely Recommended

    This book looks at the ministry of Jesus, especially his interactions with the Pharisees and Scribes, mainly pointing out His insistence on teaching the truth even when it was in contradiction to what the religious leaders were teaching. In fact, especially when it was in contradiction to what they were teaching.

    It is hard to hold onto the idea of the meek and mild Jesus if you read the gospels very much at all. This book took that even deeper. I will not read the Sermon on the Mount the same way again. MacArthur presents the encounters of Jesus with the multitudes and specifically with the members of the Sanhedrin and shows how Jesus never watered down his message or tried to make it more palatable. He told them what they needed to hear and often in a confrontational manner because it was the way they needed to hear it.

    Throughout the book, and especially in the Epilogue, MacArthur addresses concerns that we aren't perfect like Jesus and that he is not telling us we should be belligerent about everything. He is stressing that the truth of the gospel cannot be corrupted or twisted just to make people comfortable. He references the writings of Paul and the Revelations of John as further evidence that false teaching is not to be tolerated.

    The structure of the book, each chapter focusing on one or two encounters and how it was initiated by Jesus, keeps drawing the reader in, building up to the inevitable ending. The writing was easy to read but never condescending. Terms and traditions that need to be understood are explained well. Attitudes and responses are reflected in the words he uses. The Bible is the source for everything he presents. I recommend this book for personal study and even for group study to discuss how we are to stand firm in our faith and address the internal threats of false teaching.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

    In short MacArthur spends nearly 200 pages explaining why Jesus was not such a meek and mild personality, why in reality he was confrontational with some rough edges. I looked up several other reviews to see if my reaction to the book was off set. It was not. I found the book to be long and somewhat boring. Not that 200 pages are too long but the way it was written is a little dry.
    For the pastor or serious students this may be an interesting tool for preaching and biblical study but I would not recommend it for a lazy read. MacArthur's name and the title alone should stir some curiosity but the concept is not new or even unheard of. For my money Vintage Jesus by Driscoll is a better read. Enjoy.

    Complimentary copy provided by Thomas Nelson for review.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Jesus You Can't Ignore

    Right from the beginning, MacCarthur shows through explanation, the lessons which must be learned from the 'Bold Confrontation of Christ.' This is noted prominently on the cover, as well as the title page.
    "The Jesus You Can't Ignore," by John MacCarthur, is a premier explanation of God's love for us. MacCarthur's depiction and clear cut explanation of Jesus' time on earth should convince even the hardest heart that He came to earth as the Savior of all mankind. I would venture to say that even the hardest heart would be transfixed and softened by the descriptions and the Scripture used throughout this Study Guide. If the Preface and Introduction don't convince the reader of the power of God, all they need to do is begin reading Chapter One, 'When It's Wrong to Be Nice.'
    This chapter begins with Scripture from Luke 20:45-46 - Then in the audience of all the people He said unto His disciples, "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the market, and the highest seats in the synagogues. And the chief rooms at feasts. (KJV). In this portion of the Scripture, Jesus is speaking of the Sanhedrin and the Sadducees, not to mention the Pharisees themselves.
    Jesus came to earth to teach and of course take away our sin. The question which arises here is whether we as sinners are going to accept Jesus as our Savior.
    In "The Jesus You Can't Ignore," the reader is confronted with the Truth. Jesus was not always kind or gentle in His teachings. Sometimes He needs to be blunt, as evidenced with His conversations, battles and confrontations with the Pharisees. MacCarthur explains how the religious leaders tended to add rites and rituals beyond what God intended, and when Jesus confronted them with it, the Pharisees rebelled. Such a waste on their part.
    I could go on for quite a long time, but, I strongly urge everyone to purchase and read/study the manuscript of John MacCarthur's "The Jesus You Can't Ignore."

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Jesus You Can't Ignore, by John MacArthur

    John MacArthur has a bone to pick.with seeker-sensitive congregations, with Emergent Christians, with believers who emphasize orthopraxy at the expense of orthodoxy.

    However, I sense that the author has missed one important point: Jesus' strongest attacks were against the religious leaders of his day. The author himself may be railing against the specks in others' eyes while ignoring the plank in the orthodox church's eye.

    Despite these misgivings, MacArthur's expositions on Jesus' hard teachings are compelling and convincing. If you would like a well-researched, compelling argument against the frequent application of "cultural sensitivity" in Christian circles today, then I highly recommend this book.

    [Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.]

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    I am not sure if I am at all hyped by books which seem to have been written to prove others wrong.

    I am not sure if I am at all hyped by books which seem to have been written to prove others wrong. While there is a world of excellent historical and theological background provided by John McArthur, it is the actual vantage point - to show the post-modern proponents of the "softer" Jesus, His more confrontational face in the gospels - that makes me a tad uneasy. After all, Jesus is everything we read about Him. and more - at least to my, transforming but still human, mind.

    Once we get on board with this premise though, the book is indeed very well written and proves McArthur's point just right. It is a dissection of several gospel accounts that picture Jesus' conversations with the Pharisees. The author focuses on the how and the why of these confrontations, showing Jesus as uncompromising, direct and judgmental in His appraisal of the Pharisee's belief system and practices. While this is definitely understandable in the broader context of Jesus' ministry, I found another dimension lacking - namely, the accounts of Jesus' conversations with non-hierarchical Jews and non-Jews to show still another side of "the One we cannot ignore". Perhaps the author will do so in a book to come, which I would read with great interest to get a more balanced view of the Son of God as depicted in the gospels.

    I'm thankful to Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Discover the times when Jesus did not "play nice"

    Jesus is often portrayed as a meek and nice guy, while His confrontations with the religious people are played down. However, there were times when Jesus was not someone who only played nice. In his book, MacArthur discusses the times when Jesus openly opposed the teachers of the Law and Pharisees regarding the hypocrisy of their faith. The book is based roughly on the sermon of Jesus recorded in Matthew 23 and critique of the Evangelical Manifesto.

    There is certain truth in the book - we should be aware of what and Who we believe in and be able to defend our beliefs if there is a need for it.

    That said, however, I disagree with the premise of the book that we should always be in attack mode. Besides, in Matthew 23 Jesus was not talking to representatives of other religions, He was talking to the true wolves in sheep's clothing - hypocrites, people who pretend to believe one thing and yet do something completely different. In Pharisees case, they pretended to be godly, but in reality they were extremely selfish. I do believe that the main reason He clashed with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law was because they confused FAITH and RELIGION. Now that is an argument that I agree with.

    I would recommend that book to others if they want to learn about the true Jesus. I would probably mention, however, that it is important to remember that while Jesus did oppose false teachings, He did so with wisdom and when necessary. MacArthur does mention that, but it gets sort of lost in the initial thoughts of militarism.

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Jesus Gentle and Bod

    "Spiritual truth is not "academic" .... What you believe about God is the most important feature of your whole worldview. Look at it this way: of all the things you might ever study or reflect on, nothing could possibly be greater than God. So your view of Him automatically has more far-reaching ramifications than anything else in your belief system. What you think of God will automatically color how you think about everything else - especially how you prioritize values; how you determine right and wrong; and how you think of your own place in the universe. That in turn will surely determine how you act...."* writes John MacArthur.
    Yes, Jesus is most often remembered as a meek and humble teacher who lovingly healed the sick, calmed the fears of his followers, and turned the other cheek. The author acknowledges these attributes, however, he seems to place more value and importance on the violent and angry actions of The Son of God.
    The Jesus You Can Ignore is a detailed look at scriptures, paying special attention to the gospels and is informative and at times well-written but the book lacks balance. The author clearly and often pushes his interpretation of what is important for Christians to know. John MacArthur comes across as passionate about his beliefs, yet impatient with Christians who have a more personal relationship with the gentle Jesus.

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Jesus you are probably ignoring

    One of America's greatest modern preachers and possibly one of the greatest yet has served up another volume worth reading. Even though this book is a distillation of many of his sermons on the topic of Christ and His bold ministry confrontations it is an important work for me as I try to grow in Christ and grow in my understanding of Christ.
    The reader is brought face to face with a Jesus who does not receive too much press in our modern age. As you will learn in this book Jesus spent his whole public ministry confronting in very bold and even extreme ways the prevailing false views and practices of the spiritually elite in a way and style that we as moderns need not ignore and better off to embrace.
    I was personally challenged to rethink how and why I should be more bold and wise and yet at the same time mild and loving in my witness to the lost as well as to the church. This is one more book that will be added to my Christology section of the bookshelf and will be referenced again and again.

    Thank you Thomas Nelson publishers for making this volume available through your free book blogging service.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    Book Review: The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

    John MacArthur joins others who have recently painted Jesus in a far different mode than most of us learned in Sunday School. Rather than the gentle and loving Jesus who demonstrated the power of non-violence, this Jesus is a rabble-rouser and a fighter. MacArthur focuses on those episodes of Jesus's ministry which show the passion and emotions of Jesus, the Man.

    This book fascinates me because the message is so different from the picture I have always had of a quiet, dignified, and almost passive Jesus. MacArthur examines Jesus and his work in the context of the times in which he lived and rightly points out that Jesus was essentially an outlaw, defying the nominal powers with a new and potentially world-changing message.

    I like this image of Jesus. The images of Jesus healing have the familiar feel of miracles, but with the edge of being done in spite of what the religious leaders of the time demand. This is a Jesus on the edge . . . and a Jesus worth following.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

    MacArthur causes the reader to consider the true substance of the conversations Jesus Christ had with the religous leaders of the day, specifically the Pharisee, Sadducees, et al. MacArthur's premise is that what we believe about Jesus will color how you think about everything else.

    Too often today Jesus is identified as a pacifist, a philanthropist, or a docile teacher. MacArthur uses 218 pages (inclusive of Notes) to show Jesus' true nature revealed as one who declares truth without apology, with clarity and the offense of many who heard him.

    The subtitle reflects MacArthur's intent: "What you learn from the bold confrontations of Christ".

    The reader enjoyed reading the book. MacArthur is a favorite author of the reader and he uses his repertoire of high view of scripture and practical application that any reader can understand. MacArthur wrote eight easy-to-read-and-understand chapters to clarify that Jesus is not the meek and mild prophet, but rather a loving and yet bold confronter of all those who mislead people away from a right-standing relationship with God.

    The book was interesting to read. MacArthur used historical context to explain the passages that caused the reader to understand the setting of certain passages of the Bible. The reviewer does recommend the book to anyone seeking to learn.

    Note: Thomas Nelson provided the reader a complimentary copy of the book through the website of

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  • Posted July 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Jesus You Can't Ignore.

    As a blogger for I read John MacArthur's timely and bold book, The Jesus You Can't Ignore. In light of the new relativistic movements sweeping across many mainline, self-professing, contemporary "Christian" churches, MacArthur challanges the erroneous yet commonly held misconception that Jesus is all about permissivness and tolerance. Grounded with biblical support, MacArthurs points out and dispells the incorrect views held by so many modern churches, speakers and preachers. Futhermore, he likens these incorrect, anti-biblical beliefs to the false teachings of the hypocritical religious establishment as well as the false teachers that Jesus himself warned against.

    Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did in fact condemn religious hypocracy as well as false teachers. Jesus did not tolerate false beliefs, neither did he engage in open, ongoing dialog as many modern churches wish to do with other religious faiths. Jesus firmly rejected false teachers comparing them to wolves in sheeps clothing. In this book, each chapter is devoted to a specific instance in the bible in which Jesus bodly confronted and condemned incorrect, ungodly and innacurate teachings. Hypocracy as well as traditions of men were condemned. Jesus was not concerned with sounding offensive nor with winning a popularity contest. Many sincere people who have not read the bible may be totally unaware of the Jesus that is actually depicted by the bible and how it contrasts to their own ideas. Furthermore, many people are satisfied having been supplied with a watered down, wishy-washy, non offensive picture of our Lord. Now is time to look deeply to see if you too have been brainwashed into believeing in a false water-downed, politically correct gospel. I'd challange any Christian or religious person to take another look into how the gospels really present Jesus. I reccomend this book for any sincere seeker. The views presented in this review are my own

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  • Posted July 12, 2010

    The Jesus you cant ignore

    picture Jesus in your he laughing? love in his eyes? maybe holding a sheep or a child? what about a look of anger? maybe yelling? do you see him as one who might start a fight?

    John uses yrs of sermons about jesus and his life, plus bible scripture, to compose a radical look at jesus. a jesus of hard truth, and absolute discust in the religion practice of that day. john makes mention, "that Jesus' harshest words were reserved for instintutionalized religious hypocrisy." the thesis, "we can not be men-pleasers, and servents of christ at the same time."

    I would reccomend this book to anyone who is dedicated to seeking Jesus.
    "The Jesus you cant ignore" give a pretty accurate insight on how we have became a civilization of not rocking the boat, but we need tostep up and defend the gospel, sometimes even from those we least expect to.

    (this book was an advanced copy given by Thomas nelson for review)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2009

    very dissappointed

    to me this would have been a better book to read and understand if there hadn't been so many many words used that you had to use a dictionary in order to know what they meant.I was really dissapointed that Jesus made His word so easy to understand but man for whatever reason cannot just use plain simple words to explain the book he writes.I would have returned the book had i saved the return info.Unless you are highly educated ,knowing words i have never heard before i would review this book before i purchased it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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