Brueggemann groups the Psalms together under three general themes: poems of orientation, disorientation and new orientation. He is not thereby wanting to rigidly classify the Psalms, but is seeking to show that such a grouping corresponds to the actual flow of human life. A nice feature of the book is its size. Works on the Psalms tend to be overly long (dealing with each and every Psalm). In a book of a mere 205 pages, Brueggemann deals with the most important of them, the most notable omissions being Psalm 19, 20, 45, 46 (some of my favorites). More important than the grouping of the Psalms is the detailed exegesis of this work, which is a commentary, not just a study. Here one finds an exegete of rare ability. Psalms are analyzed in terms of their structure and context, with key thoughts identified. The insights are profound, and never boring. Many of those that I underlined, I will need to ponder again over time. One small example may suffice.* In dealing with Psalm 30, Brueggemann notes that thanksgiving is never merely gratitude of the heart, but gratitude verbalized: "thanks is more than just being grateful. It is a confessional statement." (127) Such nuggets are found throughout the book. The strongest section is when Brueggemann deals with Psalms of disorientation. Here we find the rigorous critical scholar firmly identifying with a tradition of protest in these Psalms, a number of which are omitted from many daily prayer offices. For example, Psalms 58, 83, and 109 are omitted from the Divine Office because of their imprecatory nature. Brueggemann makes a stunning case for their continued and proper use in the Church today, and has freed this writer to pray them with confidence. I would recommend the book for this section alone. As for criticism, I am in no position to challenge the general classification of Psalms offered by Brueggemann. I would need to be an Old Testament scholar to do that. In the area of exegesis though it appears that Brueggemann sometimes sees more in the Psalms than is in them. His detailed analysis sometimes left me thinking: "Why can I not see all that?" A last small point on the publication itself: I would have preferred that the Psalms that were discussed were printed out in full so that one did not have to keep going back and forth to the Bible. In conclusion, this is a book one can use as a reference. In many ways it is a beautiful book, written with love, passion and a huge intellect. It is probably the most useful book I have read on the Psalms; it is certainly the most provocative.