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Back You are here: Home Reviews Books Recommended Reading: July 2010

Recommended Reading: July 2010

BookgenericBe inspired, motivated, challenged and intrigued by this month's selection of books.









The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook
Chris Jones, Andrew Zinnes & Genevieve Jolliffe
Continuum. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

Guerilla_filmmakersIf you’ve never made a film before, this book will tell you:

* How other young film makers made their first movie and found massive success
* How to take your great ideas and turn them into great films
* How to build a team to make your movie now
* How to harness cheap technology to make expensive looking films
* How to avoid hundreds of pitfalls many other film makers will fall into
* How to find audiences and even make money from your movie

Veterans of the indie film scene, the authors have produced numerous low budget feature films, sold projects to Hollywood studios, come perilously close to an Oscar nomination, and even ended up in prison.

They’re also the team behind the best selling Guerilla Film Makers Handbooks series, selling over 100,000 copies around the world and they’ve taught thousands of emerging film makers the key skills needed to make their own great movies to launch a career.

Their offices are at Ealing Studios in London and in Los Angeles.



Planet Obesity
Garry Egger & Boyd Swinburn
Allen and Unwin 

Planet_ObesityThis book explores how affluence and the development of new technologies has come at a huge, and potentially devastating, cost - an epidemic of obesity and a world clogged by waste.

Obesity is 'collateral damage in the battle for modernity'. It's an unintended but unavoidable consequence of economic progress.

Obesity is not a disease but a signal. It's the canary in the coalmine, which should alert us to bigger structural problems in society.

There are a number of areas where humans have achieved a peak of success, a sweet spot, but now that very success is turning on us and threatening to unravel centuries of achievement. On the one hand, economic growth has over centuries led to a steadily improving standard of living, better levels of health and ever increasing life spans.

On the other hand, this very affluence is the reason that both our bodies and the planet have gone into a downward spiral, manifested by an ever growing epidemic of obesity in humans, and in a world clogged by greenhouse gasses and waste.
Our bodies can no longer cope with the excess of over consumption to which we are encouraged at every turn, and the planet is labouring under the effect of industrialisation and greenhouse gas emissions which are surely exacerbating and possibly causing a level of climate change which is ultimately unsustainable.

A fundamental change in thinking is needed both for how we treat our bodies and for our approach to the planet. Each is the only one we have.


Young Mandela
David James Smith

Young_MandelaNelson Mandela is the greatest political figure of our age and is universally known as a heroic leader who symbolises freedom and moral authority.

He will soon be 90 years old and is fixed in the public mind as the world's elder statesman - the dignified, grey-haired man with a kindly smile who spent 27 years in prison from 1962 and somehow emerged intact to become the first black President of a newly liberated South Africa.

But Nelson Mandela was not always elderly or benign. This book is about the man that people have forgotten - Young Mandela, the committed terrorist who left his wife and children behind to spend a year living on the run in the racist South Africa of the early 1960s, adopting false names and disguises and sleeping in safe houses as he organised and prepared the first strikes in a campaign of violence to overthrow the apartheid state.





Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals
Jonathan Balcombe
Palgrave Macmillan 

Second_NatureFor centuries we believed that humans were the only ones that mattered. The idea that animals had feelings was either dismissed or considered heresy.

Today, that’s all changing. New scientific studies of animal behavior reveal perceptions, intelligences, awareness and social skills that would have been deemed fantasy a generation ago.

The implications make our troubled relationship to animals one of the most pressing moral issues of our time.

Jonathan Balcombe, animal behaviorist and author of the critically acclaimed Pleasurable Kingdom, draws on the latest research, observational studies and personal anecdotes to reveal the full gamut of animal experience—from emotions, to problem solving, to moral judgment.

Balcombe challenges the widely held idea that nature is red in tooth and claw, highlighting animal traits we have disregarded until now: their nuanced understanding of social dynamics, their consideration for others, and their strong tendency to avoid violent conflict.

Did you know that dogs recognize unfairness and that rats practice random acts of kindness? Did you know that chimpanzees can trounce humans in short-term memory games?

Or that fishes distinguish good guys from cheaters, and that birds are susceptible to mood swings such as depression and optimism?

With vivid stories and entertaining anecdotes, Balcombe gives the human pedestal a strong shake while opening the door into the inner lives of the animals themselves.


Ordinary Courage: My journey to Baghdad as a human shield
Donna Mulhearn
Pier 9 Murdoch Books 

Ordinary_courageThis is one woman's account of finding the ordinary courage to fulfil her purpose, no matter what the odds. At the age of thirty-four, Donna Mulhearn had become disillusioned by her career as a journalist and political adviser and set off on a journey of self-discovery.

One day, during this wonderful period of freedom, she heard something radical, a call to action that would change her course, and her life, forever. A man on the radio was appealing for human shields in Iraq—volunteers to deter the 'Coalition of the Willing' from attacking Baghdad. Donna was already against the war - she was a firm believer in the power of non-violent action. She knew immediately what she had to do.

Despite protests from concerned family and friends, Donna soon found herself travelling from Sydney to Baghdad. There she joined hundreds of shields from all over the world who formed small teams to protect major sites—power stations, water treatment plants, communication centres—that were crucial to the life of innocent people.

Even when Saddam's statue toppled and the Coalition claimed victory, her challenges did not end. Donna's story is exceptional, brave and full of conviction. It shows that by being true to yourself you can transform not only one life, but many.




Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective
Marti Kheel
Rowman & Littlefield 

INature_Ethicsn Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective, Marti Kheel explores the underlying worldview of nature ethics, offering an alternative ecofeminist perspective.

She focuses on four prominent representatives of holist philosophy: two early conservationists (Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold) and two contemporary philosophers (Holmes Rolston III, and transpersonal ecologist Warwick Fox).

Kheel argues that in directing their moral allegiance to abstract constructs (e.g. species, the ecosystem, or the transpersonal Self) these influential nature theorists represent a masculinist orientation that devalues concern for individual animals.

Seeking to heal the divisions among the seemingly disparate movements and philosophies of feminism, animal advocacy, environmental ethics, and holistic health, Kheel proposes an ecofeminist philosophy that underscores the importance of empathy and care for individual beings as well as larger wholes.




Books selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.







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