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Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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Chris OConnor

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Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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Ready to vote on our July & August 2004 book selection? Please read this entire post BEFORE you cast your vote. It contains important information, including some changes that may affect you.To begin with we now have a Community Guidelines page. Here you will find 4 rules for the BookTalk community. Pay special attention to Rule 2 and 4, as they pertain to the book selection process.1. Please do NOT vote if you have not made at least 10 posts to our forums, as per Rule 4.2. Please do NOT ask friends, family, or ANYONE to come to BookTalk and cast a vote in this poll. The poll is for active BookTalk members that have made at least 10 quality contributions to our forums.Those people you drag in to influence the vote in your favor will probably never join and will screw up the polling process. This is cheating. You're welcome to tell people about BookTalk, and get them interested enough to join. But they MUST make at least 10 quality posts in order for their vote to be counted.3. And please do NOT cast a vote yourself if you don't plan on reading and discussing the book. We have message boards and a chat room. Please participate!4. The moment you have cast your vote you MUST post your book selection in this thread. Your vote will NOT be counted if you have not told everyone the name of the book you picked....no exceptions. We no longer allow members to send an email telling what book they picked. There is too much room for cheating with this technique. We all deserve to know the names of each BookTalk member that casts a vote, and the book they selected. Thank you!We have 3 choices in this poll. Please think hard about what book will be the most educational, entertaining, and worthy of discussion. No matter which book wins we will be asking either the author, or a representative of the author, to be our guest in the BookTalk chat room.I'm still not sure I will be asking Ann Druyan to join us for a discussion of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot, as that discussion was embarrassingly brief. I really hope that we'll have a much more vibrant discussion this next book reading period, because it's rather silly and rude to ask an author to come to a chat when only a few people read their book.NOTE: We need 2 discussion leaders that are willing to be very active in the reading and discussion of the winning book. Please don't nominate yourself if you will not be active. Being active means checking the forum just about every day and making some posts regularly. It does not entail being an authority on the subject matter or defending the author's position. You simply need to stimulate discussion.And here are our 3 choices...drum roll please...Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History by Lee HarrisThis book was suggested by Norm Goodman & pctacitus.Review from BooklistUnlike those who see the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as the outbreak of a new war between radical Muslims and modern Americans, Harris views those attacks as the decisive reemergence of an ancient cultural conflict stretching back to Sparta and Rome. Elaborating on three controversial articles originally appearing in Policy Review, Harris argues that terrorists struck against the U.S. not so much to wage war as to act out the histrionic script of a fantasy ideology in which religious zealotry enforces the kind of cruel tribal conformity that daring Greek and Roman thinkers long ago challenged. Though this ideology is astonishingly disconnected from economic and political realities, Harris warns that it holds real-world peril for the residents of a cosmopolitan civilization premised on freedom and tolerance. Indeed, Harris perceives profound peril for sophisticated intellectuals addicted to their own fantasies incubated not in religious fervor but rather in amnesiac utopianism. Many may complain that Harris demonizes foes he has not fully understood, but others will welcome his vigorous if contentious voice in a critically important policy debate. -- by Bryce ChristensenDaniel PipesQuote:" . . . [Harris] dissects the West's strong and weak points, then . . . draws conclusions about the deep-seated changes that need be made . . ."InstaPundit.comQuote:". . . Harris explains why people are trying to kill us -- and why . . . many in the West are reluctant to face reality." Arnold Beichman, author of Nine Lies About AmericaQuote:"A learned, imaginative study of the new world of the twenty-first century and the opening gun, 9/11, of WWIII . . ."About the AuthorLee Harris entered Emory University at age fourteen and graduated summa cum laude. After years spent pursuing diverse interests, including a stint at divinity school, several years writing mystery novels, and a career as a glazier, he began writing philosophical articles that captured the imagination of readers all over the world. The author of three of the most controversial and widely shared pieces in the history of Policy Review, Harris has emerged as one of the most talked-about writers of recent times. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.What Is Good? by A.C. Grayling This book was suggested by PeterDF.Wow! No reviews yet on Amazon.com (it's a pretty new book), but Peter was good enough to review it himself for us.Review by PeterDF of BookTalk.orgSecular ethics is a subject that we don't often discuss in Booktalk, maybe this book will inspire us to explore it in more detail.Anthony Grayling may not be known very well across "the pond". We first came across him at a recent literary festival near where we live. He writes a column in "The Times" in which he reviews books. He was a judge in this year's "Mann Booker Prize for Fiction" and he frequently appears on radio and television over here. He was a charming, witty, approachable and urbane speaker and very well informed about science and its recent impact on philosophical thought.Here are a couple of quotes from the book:Quote:(some) "take it that the essence of religion is faith, and faith is a commitment made in direct opposition to reason, in the very teeth of the evidence. Such irrationalism has a purely emotional basis, which no doubt might prompt some to say that it therefore requires not argument but therapy."Quote:"One main opponent" (to enlightenment rationalism) " - as a matter of historical fact - the main opponent - is religion, which claims that revelation in any form from mystical experience to dictation of scriptures by a deity, conveys from outside the world of ordinary experience truths undiscoverable by human enquiry within it."Quote:"...if there is indeed conscious design in the universe, the most that its presence entails is a designer of designers; it tells us nothing about how many, who or what they were and certainly not that it or they fit the notions of a particular religious tradition. Moreover, since suffering and death, the preying of animal upon animal, natural disasters and plagues, deformities, pain and anguish seem to be part of the design, it is not as good as it might be, so if there were indeed a designer, it's clear it could have done with more practice..."But this book is more than a polemic against religion - it is an exploration of humanistic thought and how it has developed in the three great enlightenments of Classical Greece, the renaissance and the more recent enlightenment in the 18th and 19th Century. There are some fascinating revelations in this book. I found his description of stoicism as a powerful, intelligent, mature, thoughtful and insightful philosophy, informed as it was by the ancient wisdom of Socrates to be compelling. And I found the Christians' dismissal of it with one word - paganism - shocking.Grayling's vocabulary is extensive and he uses it with considerable relish so you might want to keep a dictionary near when you read it. But don't be put off. I found this to be the most enjoyable book I have read for years.Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit by Vandana ShivaThis book was suggested by Dissident Heart.Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader and thinker. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, Shiva won the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award) in 1993. She is author of Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (South End Press, 2000) Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (South End Press, 1997), Monocultures of the Mind (Zed, 1993), The Violence of the Green Revolution (Zed, 1992), and Staying Alive (St. Martin's Press, 1989). Shiva is a leader in the International Forum on Globalization, along with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin. Before becoming an activist, Shiva was one of India's leading physicists. Book DescriptionVandana Shiva, "the world's most prominent radical scientist" (the Guardian), exposes yet another corporate maneuver to convert a critical world resource into a profitable commodity. Using the global water trade as a lens, she highlights the destruction of the earth and the disenfranchisement of the world's poor as they lose their right to a life-sustaining common good. Quote:"Shiva contributes to the heated debate on the global water crisis.... Shiva argues forcefully that the main causes of water scarcity are not population growth and natural disasters, but greed and wasteful consumption."
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Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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That Grayling book is SCARCE! Unavailable on Amazon, not list on B&N & my local libraries do not have it!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
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Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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Ah, from what I have found, it is not published yet...I am a little dense sometimes!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
pctacitus

Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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I voted for Civilization and Its Enemies.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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Not published yet? Woops. We shouldn't have it on our poll if it isn't published yet. I didn't realize.I voted for Civilization and Its Enemies. Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
CSflim

Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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I voted for What is Good.The book is available in Britain and Ireland:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASI ... 844Perhaps it won't be too long before it appears stateside? Although it seems unlikely that it will be available by July. Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?-Douglas Adams, Last Chance To See
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Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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My vote for Water Wars and Vandana Shiva.As for 'Civilization and its Enemies'...well...having surveyed the information provided here...allow me to say it's nothing I'm terribly excited about. Yet another Defender of Western Civilization arguing for our essential role as protector of all things sacred, noble, just and moral on the planet...needing to fend off the barabarians that are simply too ignorant to understand our gracious gestures of imperial power.If only the savages would accept our just and moral intentions in ruling the planet....I think Water Wars is much more down to earth in the real world struggle for at least one universal we must all learn to share....water.
Brother William of Basker

Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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Civilization and Its Enemies. Because I've already read it. Edited by: Brother William of Baskerville 02 at: 6/23/04 3:14 pm
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Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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Again, each person that casts a vote needs to make a follow-up post in this thread stating something similar to:"I voted for Book A"Thank you.Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
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Re: Official Poll - July/Aug 2004 Book of the Month(s)

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What is Good? - by A C Grayling If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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