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2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions! 
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Post 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!


This thread is for making nonfiction book suggestions for 2nd quarter of 2006 (April, May, & June). Please read everything that follows in this first post.

If our activity level is high enough we can read several nonfiction books concurrently during 2nd quarter of 2006. My opinion is that we would want to have a daily post count over 50 to warrant multiple nonfiction books.

Important

1. Provide the title, author, and a copied and pasted review. Also provide a link to Amazon where we can read more.

2. Do not just suggest books that are already on your shelf. We are looking for books that will help BookTalk pull in more members and result in incredible discussions. So think about what will help our community.

3. And PLEASE comment on other people's suggestions. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Don't make a suggestion and then vanish. Be ACTIVE in this thread.

Well, what are you waiting for? ::204 What would you like to read and discuss for Q2, 2006?

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 12/19/05 7:17 pm



Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:52 pm
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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Amazon.com
In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. While Krakauer's research into the history of the church is admirably extensive, the real power of the book comes from present-day information, notably jailhouse interviews with Dan Lafferty. Far from being the brooding maniac one might expect, Lafferty is chillingly coherent, still insisting that his motive was merely to obey God's command. Krakauer's accounts of the actual murders are graphic and disturbing, but such detail makes the brothers' claim of divine instruction all the more horrifying. In an age where Westerners have trouble comprehending what drives Islamic fundamentalists to kill, Jon Krakauer advises us to look within America's own borders. --John Moe--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
Using as a focal point the chilling story of offshoot Mormon fundamentalist brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty, who in 1984 brutally butchered their sister-in-law and 15-month-old niece in the name of a divine revelation, Krakauer explores what he sees as the nature of radical Mormon sects with Svengali-like leaders. Using mostly secondary historical texts and some contemporary primary sources, Krakauer compellingly details the history of the Mormon church from its early 19th-century creation by Joseph Smith (whom Krakauer describes as a convicted con man) to its violent journey from upstate New York to the Midwest and finally Utah, where, after the 1890 renunciation of the church's holy doctrine sanctioning multiple marriages, it transformed itself into one of the world's fastest-growing religions. Through interviews with family members and an unremorseful Dan Lafferty (who is currently serving a life sentence), Krakauer chronologically tracks what led to the double murder, from the brothers' theological misgivings about the Mormon church to starting their own fundamentalist sect that relies on their direct communications with God to guide their actions. According to Dan's chilling step-by-step account, when their new religion led to Ron's divorce and both men's excommunication from the Mormon church, the brothers followed divine revelations and sought to kill, starting with their sister-in-law, those who stood in the way of their new beliefs. Relying on his strong journalistic and storytelling skills, Krakauer peppers the book with an array of disturbing firsthand accounts and news stories (such as the recent kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart) of physical and sexual brutality, which he sees as an outgrowth of some fundamentalists' belief in polygamy and the notion that every male speaks to God and can do God's bidding. While Krakauer demonstrates that most nonfundamentalist Mormons are community oriented, industrious and law-abiding, he poses some striking questions about the closed-minded, closed-door policies of the religion-and many religions in general.




Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:17 am
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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century by Howard Gardner

Professor Gardner is best known for his Theory of Multiple Intelligences which serves as a model for human problem solving, communication, meaning making and value production. Gardner theorizes at least eight different modalities of human intelligence (verbal linguistic, math logical, music rhythmic, body kinesthetic, visual spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal, as well as an ecological/naturalist modality). Intelligence Reframed is Gardner taking stock of how this theory has evolved and stood the test of critique and application over the past 20 plus years.

This link includes Chapter One and Table of Contents.

Quote:
From Galt Global Review : Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner has been acclaimed as the most influential educational theorist since John Dewey. His ideas about intelligence and creativity-explicated in such bestselling books as Frames of Mind and Multiple Intelligences have revolutionized our thinking.

In Intelligence Reframed, Gardner provides a much-needed report on the evolution and revisions to the theory of multiple intelligences. He offers practical guidance on the educational uses of the theory and responds to the critiques leveled against him. He argues that the concept of intelligence should be broadened.

Ultimately, argues Gardner, possessing a basic set of seven or eight intelligences is not only a unique trademark of the human species, but perhaps even a working definition of the species. Gardner also offers provocative ideas about creativity, leadership, and moral excellence, and speculates about the relationship between multiple intelligences and the world of work in the future.


I think Gardner's book would prove to be a treasure trove of ideas and challenges for those at Booktalk who are interested in how we think, learn, solve problems, define and describe intelligence in human activity. I also look forward to discussions regarding education in theory and practice. His exploration of what "moral intelligence" would entail would be an interesting comparison with Erik J. Wielenberg's Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe.

Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 12/23/05 6:21 pm



Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:17 pm
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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism by Bob Edwards

since i just saw the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck" (which i consider the best 2005 released movie that i have seen and VERY relevent to today -- highly recommended to fans of film), i am probably going to give this book a read regardless but i think it would be a great discussion book. as a NPR listener, i miss bob edwards and am 100% confident he did a fantastic job with this title. here is a review from amazon:

Quote:
From Publishers Weekly
Edwards, who has hosted NPR's Morning Edition since 1979 (though he's just announced his retirement from that post, as of April 30 of this year), examines the charismatic career and pioneering efforts of renowned newsman Murrow for Wiley's Turning Points series. Murrow's broadcasting innovations were indeed significant turning points. Joining CBS in 1935, when radio news usually focused on such preplanned events as parades and flower shows, Murrow ran the network's European Bureau by 1937 and became a celebrity in 1940 with his stunning rooftop broadcasts of the London Blitz: "Listeners in comfortable living rooms all across the United States were hearing Britons being bombed in real time." Creating a cadre of WWII correspondents, Murrow flew on 25 combat missions, delivering dramatic reports on everything from the "orchestrated hell" of Berlin to the liberation of Buchenwald's "living dead." Mainly remembered for its famed 1954 attack on Joseph McCarthy, Morrow's groundbreaking TV show See It Now (1951a



Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:05 pm
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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
i have never read Jon Krakauer but have long desired to read some of his writings.




Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:08 pm
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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
We Did Nothing: Why the Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When the UN Goes in
Linda Polman

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0141012900/reviews/202-1740399-0547862

In the spring of 2003, as we stood on the brink of war with Iraq, millions of people turned to the UN for a 'second resolution' and for an answer to the crisis. We Did Nothing brilliantly exposes how these resolutions are made and what they mean in practice: during the 1990s Linda Polman visited the UN missions to Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda and witnessed the sometimes absurd and often horrifying consequences of the decisions made at UN headquarters.

In a voice that is utterly compelling, Polman describes what she sees on the frontline: the underequipped UN soldier who must search for mines by prodding the ground with a stick; the bare-chested, heavily armed Captain Max of US Special Forces who is leading 'Operation Restore Democracy' in Haiti and will shoot anyone who doesn't cooperate, as UN observers are forced to stand by and observe.

In her clear and impassioned book, Linda Polman demonstrates that when the UN fails it is truly our governments who have failed. We Did Nothing shows what these resolutions mean for the people who live in these war zones, and for the UN soldiers who are sent in to bring order to the terrifying chaos.

'Linda Polman reveals how the UN works and what it means in practice. At a time when the US government is hell-bent on destroying the only forum for international negotiation that we have, this book is a vital weapon against the self-serving and dangerous arguments of men like Richard Perle, Chairman of the Defence Policy Board.'
Terry Jones

'Despite all its faults and shortcomings- some of which I have witnessed first-hand as a reporter - we have yet to find anything that could take the place of the United Nations. Linda Polman's book is a timely reminder of how the UN's lofty, communal ideals so often founder on the rocks of national interest and big-power arrogance.'
George Alagiah

'Told with candour and clarity, it manages to capture the absurdly farcical nature of the UN's role in today's political geography'
Booksellers' Choice, The Bookseller


http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,0_067091424X,00.html

In the days when I worked as a staff interpreter at the European Commission, friends and family would say that it must be great for me to "really know what's going on". Having that week learned the German for "sluice gate price" (you don't want to know) I would sometimes get so carried away as to agree. But the truth was that most of us got the big picture from the quality press.

This feeling came back when I read Linda Polman's book about the UN. She looks at several UN missions, in Somalia, Haiti, and Rwanda, and examines the political action behind UN resolutions. I found myself pausing every few pages to think, "I didn't know that".

A popular misconception is to see the UN as some kind of world authority, when it is in fact no more than the sum of its parts, those parts being its member states. And each of those states brings its own agenda to the negotiating table.

The book reads so well, you forget it's a translation. Congratulations to the translator, Rob Bland, for a fine job.

- Phil Smith http://www.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm/page1171.htm

UNarmed, UNable, UNeasy: the debacle of UN missions in the 90's.

We did nothing: why the truth doesn't always come out when the UN goes in. By Linda Polman (translated by Rob Bland)
Pengiun Viking, 2003
ISBN: 0-670-91424-X


Reviewed by Suraya Dadoo



"UN resolutions are like hotdogs. If you know how they make 'em, you don't want to eat 'em", an American diplomat told Dutch journalist, Linda Polman, in the late 1990's. After reading Polman's excellent expose about how United Nations (UN) resolutions are made and what they mean for the people living in affected, war-ravaged countries, I agree.



As the world stood on the brink of war in Iraq this year, I, like many thousands of people across the world was angry that the UN was, once again, demonstrating it was nothing more than a paper tiger. The United States had successfully circumvented global opposition to the invasion of Iraq, and UN member states helplessly watched as missiles rained down on the Iraqi people. "Why didn't they do something to stop this?" I asked.

I have realised, after reading this book, that my anger was misplaced. I had bought into the popular misconception that the UN was some kind of world authority, when it is, in fact, no more than the sum of its parts, those parts being its member states, with each of those states bringing its own agenda to the negotiating table.

In the 1990's the UN was severely criticised for its inaction in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda. In the same period, Polman visited the UN missions in these countries, and witnessed the horrifying consequences of decisions made at the UN, which she describes in this book. The book reads so well and easily, that you forget it is a translation. In this regard, the translator, Rob Bland, has done an excellent job.




The UN and the some of its parts
One hundred and ninety-one governments (over 98% of the world's population) are represented at the United Nations, yet much of the world's fate lies in the hands of just five countries - the United States, Britain, France Russia and China



Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:26 pm
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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
Is Religion Killing Us?
Violence in the Bible and the Quran

By Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Author Jack Nelson Pallmeyer is Assistant Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He is the author of numerous books on faith and justice issues, including Jesus Against Christianity and School of Assassins: Guns, Greed, and Globalization; and most recently Saving Christianity From Empire


From the book:

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"The Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian New Testament, and the Quran contain stories urging compassionate living, social justice, and ethical conduct. The collective weight of all passages in these texts that advocate ethical behavior or present evidence of a loving, compassionate God cannot, however, overcome the violent images and expectations of God that overwhelm these 'sacred' texts. God's violence or human violence justified in service to God is sometimes understood to be the principal means to justice in, or at the end of, history. At other times, ethical conduct is urged under the threat of God's punishing violence. God's violence is at times so pervasive, unpredictable, vindictive, or destructive that it reflexts a deep and troubling pathology. In such cases, we can say that if human beings acted as God does or as God tells them to act, they would be rightfully be considered certifiably insane."





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Post Re: 2nd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
Quote:
In such cases, we can say that if human beings acted as God does or as God tells them to act, they would be rightfully be considered certifiably insane."

intereseting quote. this looks like an interesting read. regardless of belief in god, the violence, wars, and totally barbaric acts inspired by the larger organized religions always makes me wonder why thiests can't reform their beliefs in god away from organized religion given its rather contradictory and often sordid history. not that organized religion hasn't done a lot of good, but that good can continue in a secular realm without the posturing of organized religions. would be interesting to study up a bit on such acts actually contained in the bible, so much more to make an agruement against organized religion (or at least the less tolerant forms) in an age of freethought regardless of theistic beliefs.

i would prefer to not read books that delve into politics. that book on the UN i could do completely without. not that i prefer to be uneducated. but rather, sometimes to much education can drive a man mad. i have read enough about politics lately to last me a year or two.




Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:30 pm
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Post Reason & Christianity
Here's one we would probably hate with a passion. Just ran across it by accident and it seems like a counterweight to "Guns, Germs, and Steel".

The Victory of Reason : How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success by Rodney Stark




Sun Jan 08, 2006 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Reason & Christianity
I'd rather not read any more critiques of religion for the time being. Of the books that we've read since I've gotten here, all but a few have been geared towards the question of what's wrong with religion. It's getting a bit stale and it's not producing much in the way of interesting discussion. Let's try something else for a change. I'll dig up some suggestions and post them in the next few days.




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Post Re: Reason & Christianity
Quote:
all but a few have been geared towards the question of what's wrong with religion.


Gee...I wonder why?

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Post Re: We Wish to Inform You...
Both interesting suggestions. "Malcolm X" doesn't really fit with my suggestion, but then, it's only a suggestion, and no one has to stick to it. Both authors are deceased, so we'd have to find a secondary authority for the quarterly chat.

Did a bit of quick digging, and here are some books that we might consider:

Island at the End of the World, by Steven Roger Fischer, head of the Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand, seems to be one of the most authoritative recent releases on Easter Island. I agree that we should avoid the mysticism angle, and this looks like a good pick to me.

The problem with picking a book about Africa is that there's so much of Africa, and presumably a lot of diversity to contend with. I'll reiterate my suggestion for reading about Rwanda, "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families". I'll also suggest again a book that I suggested for a previous quarter, Martin Meredith's The Fate of Africa, although that one's a pretty hefty tome. Here are a few others that caught my eye.

Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Childhood is by Moroccan scholar Fatima Mernissi. I've read Mernissi's "Islam and Democracy" and can attest to her intellect and the power of her writing. Nevermind the romanticized images of the Turkish harem -- this is about the Morrocan harem, which means it's about the family organization of an entire culture up to, and beyond, the 1940s.

The Flame Trees of Thika is novelist Elspeth Huxley's account of her childhood in Kenya. I'm fairly certain that Huxley's no longer around to take part in an author chat, but the books is considered something of a classic, so it may be worth considering.




Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:27 am
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Post Anthropology as Revolution
Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams by David Graeber.

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This innovative book is the first comprehensive synthesis of economic, political, and cultural theories of value. David Graeber reexamines a century of anthropological thought about value and exchange, in large measure to find a way out of quandaries in current social theory, which have become critical at the present moment of ideological collapse in the face of Neoliberalism. Rooted in an engaged, dynamic realism, Graeber argues that projects of cultural comparison are in a sense necessarily revolutionary projects: He attempts to synthesize the best insights of Karl Marx and Marcel Mauss, arguing that these figures represent two extreme, but ultimately complementary, possibilities in the shape such a project might take. Graeber breathes new life into the classic anthropological texts on exchange, value, and economy. He rethinks the cases of Iroquois wampum, Pacific kula exchanges, and the Kwakiutl potlatch within the flow of world historical processes, and recasts value as a model of human meaning-making, which far exceeds rationalist/reductive economist paradigms.


Graeber's anthropological project is in line with Mad's suggestion that we read a book that focuses upon a culture we know very little about. Graeber accentuates the role of value exchange and economic structures within a comparison of the North American Iroquouis and Kwakiutl folk, and segments of the Pacific islander communities. He also critically examines the last century of Anthropology, introducing us to its leading scholars, the cultures they explored, and the biases that shaped their conclusions. His agenda is clear: using anthropology to equip radical political and economic change.

Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 1/28/06 11:33 am



Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Anthropology as Revolution
Just out of curiosity, DH, is this a book you're interested in reading, or one that you've already read?




Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:00 pm
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Post Re: Anthropology as Revolution
MA: Just out of curiosity, DH, is this a book you're interested in reading, or one that you've already read?

I haven't read it yet, but thoroughly enjoyed Graeber's Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology in which he challenges the professional bias in anthropology against advocating for the wealth of egalitarian, democratic, and participatory examples of social organization around the globe and across history. Maybe his challenge is misdirected (why should anthropologists support anarchist movements?), but the work he has done in the field makes anthropology, (for me at least) terribly exciting and politically valuable.

Here is Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology in its entirety.

Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 1/27/06 3:27 pm



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