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OFFICIAL POLL: Nov. & Dec. 2009 Non-Fiction
OFFICIAL POLL: Nov. & Dec. 2009 Non-Fiction
[align=center]READ THESE RULES BEFORE VOTING PLEASE[/align]
Poll Starts: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Poll Ends: The poll ends when we have a clear winner, but it will run for a full 10 days at the minimum. So expect to see it up till at least till October 18th.
• You MUST have 25 or more total posts to vote
• You can cast 3 votes and distribute your 3 votes however you like. If you don't assign all 3 votes it will be clear you didn't read these rules and you will be publicly flogged and humiliated. It will be assumed that you wished to assign all 3 of your votes to the one book you selected.
2 votes for Book #1 1 vote for Book #2
• You can try to convince other people to vote for your book choice by explaining why you're voting the way you're voting. You are doing BookTalk.org a huge service by explaining a little about why you picked whatever book you picked, although this extra step is not required. People do read comments and you do stand to influence them if you make a passionate plea for your book, and the whole goal of our book selection process is to find a book that will stimulate discussion. So don't be shy about attempting to sell us on your book choice.
• Vote today! Please don't wait till you see other people voting because they're waiting for YOU to vote.
Now, on to our book choices...
Last edited by Chris OConnor on Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
Product Description In On the Nature of the Psyche Jung presents a masterly overview of his theories of the unconscious, and its relation to the conscious mind.
From the Back Cover "Next to Freud, no psychiatrist of today has advanced our insight into the nature of the psyche more than Jung has." -- Hermann Hesse
Jung's discovery of the 'collective unconscious', a psychic inheritance common to all humankind, transformed our understanding of the self and the way we interpret the world. In On the Nature of the Psyche, Jung describes this remarkable theory in his own words, and presents a masterly overview of his theories of the unconscious and its relation to the conscious mind. Also contained in this collection is On Psychic Energy, in which Jung defends his interpretation of the libido, a key factor in the breakdown of his relations with Freud. For anyone seeking to understand Jung's insights into the human mind, this volume is essential reading
About the Author Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Founded the analytical school of psychology and is responsible for bringing psychology into the twentieth century by developing a new theory of the unconscious.
Product Description Pulitzer prize–winner Chris Hedges charts the dramatic and disturbing rise of a post-literate society that craves fantasy, ecstasy and illusion.
Chris Hedges argues that we now live in two societies: One, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world, that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this “other society,” serious film and theatre, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins.
In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s "The Culture of Narcissism" and Neil Postman’s "Amusing Ourselves to Death," Hedges navigates this culture — attending WWF contests as well as Ivy League graduation ceremonies — exposing an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.
About the Author Chris Hedges, the author of the bestselling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, and writes for many publications including Foreign Affairs, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. He is also a columnist for Truthdig.com.
From the Publisher Stellar House Publishing is a company dedicated to bringing to the public lost and hidden information regarding the world's religions, mythologies and spiritual traditions. SHP books attain to the highest standards of scholarship while being accessible to the public. Stellar House Publishing was founded in 2005 by author Acharya S, also known by her real name of D.M. Murdock.
About the Author D.M. Murdock, also known as "Acharya S," is a Member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. Ms. Murdock is the author of the controversial books The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold and Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled. Her website appears at TruthBeKnown.com.
Amazon.com Review Stories of famously eccentric Princetonians abound--such as that of chemist Hubert Alyea, the model for The Absent-Minded Professor, or Ralph Nader, said to have had his own key to the library as an undergraduate. Or the "Phantom of Fine Hall," a figure many students had seen shuffling around the corridors of the math and physics building wearing purple sneakers and writing numerology treatises on the blackboards. The Phantom was John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who had spiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s. His most important work had been in game theory, which by the 1980s was underpinning a large part of economics. When the Nobel Prize committee began debating a prize for game theory, Nash's name inevitably came up--only to be dismissed, since the prize clearly could not go to a madman. But in 1994 Nash, in remission from schizophrenia, shared the Nobel Prize in economics for work done some 45 years previously.
Economist and journalist Sylvia Nasar has written a biography of Nash that looks at all sides of his life. She gives an intelligent, understandable exposition of his mathematical ideas and a picture of schizophrenia that is evocative but decidedly unromantic. Her story of the machinations behind Nash's Nobel is fascinating and one of very few such accounts available in print (the CIA could learn a thing or two from the Nobel committees). This highly recommended book is indeed "a story about the mystery of the human mind, in three acts: genius, madness, reawakening." --Mary Ellen Curtin
From Publishers Weekly Nasar has written a notable biography of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash (b. 1928), a founder of game theory, a RAND Cold War strategist and winner of a 1994 Nobel Prize in economics. She charts his plunge into paranoid schizophrenia beginning at age 30 and his spontaneous recovery in the early 1990s after decades of torment. He attributes his remission to will power; he stopped taking antipsychotic drugs in 1970 but underwent a half-dozen involuntary hospitalizations. Born in West Virginia, the flamboyant mathematical wizard rubbed elbows at Princeton and MIT with Einstein, John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener. He compartmentalized his secret personal life, shows Nasar, hiding his homosexual affairs with colleagues from his mistress, a nurse who bore him a son out of wedlock, while he also courted Alicia Larde, an MIT physics student whom he married in 1957. Their son, John, born in 1959, became a mathematician and suffers from episodic schizophrenia. Alicia divorced Nash in 1963, but they began living together again as a couple around 1970. Today Nash, whose mathematical contributions span cosmology, geometry, computer architecture and international trade, devotes himself to caring for his son. Nasar, an economics correspondent for the New York Times, is equally adept at probing the puzzle of schizophrenia and giving a nontechnical context for Nash's mathematical and scientific ideas.
Amazon.com Review 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
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.
Joined: Apr 2009 Posts: 2517 Location: New Jersey
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3 votes for Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith.
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.
This sounds truly frightening. "Big Love" on HBO pokes fun at the Mormon lifestyle, but I don't think many watchers of this show realize what a cult the Mormon religion is. I would be interested in knowing why it's even considered a religion, and how it got started.
The Mormons are steeped in some bizzare traditions. This book sounds like it was very well researched, and it would be interesting to see if the book delves into the effects this cult/religion has on those who escape it.
Joined: Jun 2009 Posts: 467 Location: canada
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3 for “Empire of Illusion”
I think this is a very topical book for today. Ironically, we are awash in information today, but for some reason have quite possibly unprecedented numbers of the population who are uninformed, or disinterested in a deep understanding of the world about them. This could have significant fallout for the future of society. I think it already has in a number of events, not least the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq.
All the other books are good choices, but perhaps not quite as immediate in significance. Jung has done some classic work of course, but personally I think some of his ideas will seem a little dated to the modern reader. The Nash story is certainly interesting, although not the most typical case of schizophrenia. As for the other two books, I was hoping that the religious debate would occupy a slightly smaller proportion of the dialogue at b.t., as I think the phrase “flogging a dead horse” applies to those arguments. We can attempt to understand the internal workings of those with religious conviction, most certainly, but to me it is a rather unsatisfying exercise to engage in dialogue with those who are fixed and immobile in what is undoubtedly a fluid and changing world.
Joined: Apr 2009 Posts: 2517 Location: New Jersey
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We can attempt to understand the internal workings of those with religious conviction, most certainly, but to me it is a rather unsatisfying exercise to engage in dialogue with those who are fixed and immobile in what is undoubtedly a fluid and changing world.
I certainly agree with this, however, Under the Banner of Heaven may provide an inside look at a religion from an un biased perspective. Jon Krakauer is well known for his works in adventure.
The Mormon religion/cult/sect is so far removed from the debates and discussions of late in many threads. I believe his book could educate many about a widley known, but little understood topic. As far as “flogging a dead horse”, we have yet to check this horses teeth.
Yes, it does present religion, but, it's also presents an interesting story, and a part of US history that many may not be informed about.
Joined: Aug 2009 Posts: 266 Location: Riverhead, Long Island
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3 votes for Empire of Illusion.
I would second etudiant's comments. This book should provide a smorgasbord of topical subjects for discussion.
I'd also give an honorable mention to Under the Banner of Heaven. I've already read it and found it to be an interesting book, but it probably doesn't have much insight that the folks here don't already have.
"Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish." -Mark Twain
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