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God in the Pits: The Enron Jihad Edition [Paperback]

By Mark Andrew Ritchie (Author)
Our Price $ 11.89  
Retail Value $ 13.99  
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Item Number 44804  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   242
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.16" Width: 4.42" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   0.73 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 7, 2005
ISBN  0974719080  
EAN  9780974719085  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Mark Andrew Ritchie (featured in Schwager's best-selling Market Wizards II) grew up in the poverty and strangeness of Afghanistan, the deep south of Texas, and an Oregon-coast logging town. The Vietnam War crystallized his love of rebellion. He became an occupational vagabond--funeral home operative, Chicago Transit bus driver, long-haul trucker, jail guard, and more--an unlikely backdrop for launching a career in the take-no-prisoners financial markets of Chicago. But as a backdrop for a writer? Perfect. Ritchie has been quoted, "Islamic people are the kindest, most loving, most hospitable people in the world." Then he claims that when he saw the second plane hit tower one, he knew that the Islamic people he played with as a child had finally brought their jihad to America. Is he credible? Ritchie theorizes that America has a blind spot--spiritual engagement. Nineteen hijackers traveled spiritual roads that caused that fateful day. We avoid this discussion; it's too personal. God in the Pits is Ritchie's personal jihad. One event forced the questions-the sudden death of Mark's father in faraway Afghanistan, where the elder Ritchie was constructing a provincial hospital for the treatment of blindness. To Mark, the contrast between his life and that of his father was brutal: "His goal was to do God's will by serving the Afghan poor; mine was to buy low and sell high." As Mark travels back to his boyhood in Afghanistan to settle his father's affairs and see to his mother's hospital care, he casts back over his early experiences with death, with a life too full of the unexpected, and with nagging inner questions over things that matter most.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Across the World and Into the Soul  Jun 12, 2007
In this outstanding, fascinating book, Mark Andrew Ritchie travels to far lands, learning and living among cultures that are so different from what we know in America, and also experiences inner journeys that are even more riveting to read, as he pushes his mind and soul to their limits, discovering pearls of wisdom and the mercy and goodness of God. Ritchie's spiritual transformation was birthed in a small grocery store, while waiting at the checkout line; one never knows when and where God decides it is time for a face to face encounter, and Ritchie's telling of this experience in his "Hypocrisy" chapter provides some of the most profound insights I've read in a contemporary book. Ritchie's proof of Christianity in Chapter 10 is another shining passage in the book, combining the author's brilliant intellect with his spirit as one of God's humble servants.

A commodity trader in Chicago, Ritchie spent part of his childhood in Afghanistan, and much of the book is a remembrance of his past, the many places he called "home," and the people that influenced his life, as he returns to Afghanistan as an adult. These reminisces flow well between time zones, something accomplished by few writers, and in this edition Ritchie has added an epilogue, which delves into Islam, its people and motivations, and how it conflicts with Western ideals and morality in a "mountain of misunderstanding." For those not familiar with Islam, it is an intelligent and knowledgeable explanation of the predicament in this post-9/11 world, and deserves consideration.

"God in the Pits" is written with energy and passion, and a raw honesty that engaged me immediately. It is a hard book to put down. It interrupted my work and kept me reading into the wee hours, but it was time well spent. This is a book that stays in your heart and mind; it asks the right questions, and has many answers.
One man's quest to find and live his personal religion, not a great deal of information about Muslims  Jun 1, 2007
I found the storyline of this book more consistent with the biblical tale of Job rather than what is advertised on the cover. At the top of the front cover, there is the caption, "One man's story..., why Muslim fundamentalists hate capitalists and Christians." There is also the subtitle "The Enron-Jihad Edition." This would lead you to believe that this is a book detailing some of the beliefs prevalent in the Muslim world and an explanation of why there is such a violent Christian-Muslim schism. This belief is further reinforced early in the book when the author discusses his experiences of living in Afghanistan and the work that his parents did there.
However, that is not the case, there are very few references to Enron and they are at the very beginning and at the end. Those references are also extremely superficial, hardly worth being included as a subtitle. Furthermore, I learned nothing new from this book about why Muslim fundamentalists hate the west. There are no great insights and the information about Muslims is something that could be picked up in a short article in a news magazine.
The overriding theme is the author's search for his relationship to the religious establishment in general and God in particular. He suffers through a great deal of poverty, sometimes eating only once a day or every other day. When he is young, people very close to him die suddenly and when he is older his father is killed in an auto accident in Afghanistan. Through all of this he maintains his religious convictions although he often convicts others who are religious.
Ritchie worked as a commodity trader at a time when the markets were volatile, but in a manner where a shrewd inside trader could make an enormous amount of money. That is what he did and to his credit, he donated a great deal of it to Christian organizations. However, he was very cynical about how the money was being used, having been courageous enough to spend time on the ground, he understood how ineffective or even counterproductive some of the aid was.
Ritchie comes across as the kind of religious person that people across the entire range of religious fervor would be comfortable with. Only the most zealous or cynical of religious believers or atheists would have a problem with his approach to religion. He is a devoted Christian, yet is willing to question things rationally and openly praises some well-known atheists for having the courage of their convictions. His greatest wrath is reserved for people who profess religion and yet do not really practice it. It is unfortunate that the cover of the book is so disingenuous, this is one of the few books describing one person's struggle with their personal religion that could stand on that basis only.

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