Democracy is an ideal which is experienced on different levels, depending on where you are in the world. For some, it is a fixed concept in everyday culture. For others, it is a brand new reality which still needs to be defined and refined. For still others, it is still out of reach. Social scientist Larry Diamond examines the scope of democracy on an international level in his book, “The Spirit of Democracy”. It a manifesto which examines how successful the experiment of democracy is in the world today. Read more….. »
Book Reviews Category
Recently, the truthfulness of Greg Mortenson’s memoir, “Stones into Schools”, was called into question by 60 minutes. The report questioned some of the events described in the book by author. Read more….. »
War is a subject of endless debate. Should we go to war, is war evil, when is war just, when is it justifiable, and on and on. But what does war actually feel like? This is what Sebastian Junger explores in his book “War” as he lives amidst an American fighting platoon in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Read more….. »
What happens after a nuclear accident, especially to its human victims? The recent disaster in Japan is only the latest major incident to raise this question. One might also think of Chernobyl, the 1986 disaster in Soviet Ukraine, and its aftermath. Dr. Robert Peter Gale is an American who witnessed this aftermath. In “Final Warning”, he writes his personal account of living with the human tragedy of a nuclear disaster. Read more….. »
It’s been eight years since the beginning of the American military theater in Iraq. If you don’t know anyone in the military and rely on the media for your truth, it’s easy to forget that there still is a war going on over there. The facts get blurred with the next headline. How and why the war came to be gets buried in the landfill, along with old newspapers that contained its storyline.
George Packer’s “The Assassins’ Gate” brings the reality of the war back to light. Read more….. »
Seeing that today is Valentine’s Day, I figured it would be a good idea to upload a book review on love and all its heartbreak. Susan Piver’s “The Wisdom of a Broken Heart” seemed to fit perfectly into this theme. Read more….. »
What happens when a woman who vows never to remarry is forced to do so, or lose her lover forever? This is what happened to Elizabeth Gilbert, the journalist of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame when she was forced into an engagement to her foreign lover by Homeland Security. Read more….. »
What is it like to be bought for sex? What is it like to live the life of an escort? For three years, former college lecturer Jeanette Angell lived that life. In her memoir “Callgirl”, she tells her story of what it was like to live the life of an escort: a lifestyle scorned by some, secretly admired by others, and a little of both by even more.
What is it like to be a slave in modern society? To really answer this question, it would be best to hear it from someone who has actually experienced it, rather than get an intellectual treatise from a scholar who has studied it. Activists Zoe Trodd and Kevin Bales have compiled first-person narratives by slaves and former slaves in their anthology, “To Plead Our Own Cause.” Read more….. »
Scandals are full of them. Gossip tries to root them out. There are so many stories of good people going bad it is almost a stereotype. It’s as old as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, if not older. Even so, it can still be a shocker to someone when a person of honor suddenly falls into some trap of vice. Maybe even more so if that someone is one’s self. Read more….. »
Experiencing the death of someone is always a tough time in a person’s life. Teenagers, oft touted as thinking they are invincible, and unshaped by life, have special struggles that tend to be overlooked, written off as adolescent angst. But death does have an impact on this cohort. With the twin tragedies of September 11 and the overseas wars on top of all the other circumstances of death, this issue seems timely and relevant. Author Helen Fitzgerald has written “The Grieving Teen”, which is a handbook for both grieving teens and those who are concerned about them.
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Grief is supposed to come in a neat package. You can’t believe something bad happened to you, you get ticked off, you wail at God to change things so they go back to normal, they don’t so you get sad, really sad, and when the sadness gets too boring you get over it and then it’s all good. Or at least, the so-called five stages of grief give the deceptive illusion it goes so smoothly. Read more….. »
Get into the groove and just enjoy the ride. Sounds like a great deal if you can get it. In fact, says psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, if you want to really feel good about your life, then getting into the flow is a real requirement. In his book, “Finding Flow”, he discusses what it means to get into the flow and what it will mean for your life if you do. Read more….. »
The condition of the developing world usually gets strange treatment in the media of the developed one. Read more….. »