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Recommended Reading: August 2010

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









Sheila Rowbotham presents Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Sheila Rowbotham
Verso. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

Mary_Wollstonecraft“It would be an endless task to trace the variety of meannesses, cares, and sorrows, into which women are plunged by the prevailing opinion that they were created to feel rather than to reason, and that all the power they obtain, must be obtained by their charms and weakness.” — Mary Wollstonecraft

First written in 1790, Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication for the Rights of Women remains one of the very first works of feminist thought. Groundbreaking in its demands for women's education, although subsequently criticized by some for its ambiguity towards the notion of women’s equality, the book remains one of the most important texts arguing for women's rights.

Renowned feminist writer Sheila Rowbotham puts Wollstonecraft's life and work in a new light.






Burned: A Memoir
Louise Nayer
Atlas & Co. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

BurnedOne day it happens: an event that changes your life forever. When Louise Nayer was four, a flash fire engulfed her parents. The figures who emerged after a nine-month hospitalization did not inspire joyous embraces or tender kisses. Her mother was disfigured beyond recognition and although her father’s physical injuries were not as severe, the accident left him a spiritually broken man.

With staggering candor, Louise traces her parent’s tremulous steps back to a new normality. She discovers that her mother’s will—that indestructible and exacting force that was difficult to abide by as a child—was what kept all of them from lapsing into a downward spiral of regret and self-pity.

Louise Nayer illuminates both the emotional intensity of loss and the surprising strength that is summoned up for the sake of loved ones. Burned is the story of a family stripped to their barest elements and held together by love.






Erasing Eraq: The Human Costs of Carnage
Michael Otterman, Richard Hil, Paul Wilson
Pluto Press. Distributed in Australia through Palgrave Macmillan

Erasing_IraqFor nearly two decades, the US and its allies have prosecuted war and aggression in Iraq. Erasing Iraq shows in unparalleled detail the devastating human cost.

Western governments and the mainstream media continue to ignore or play down the human costs of the war on Iraqi citizens.

This has allowed them to present their role as the benign guardians of Iraqi interests. The authors deconstruct this narrative by presenting a portrait of the total carnage in Iraq today as told by Iraqis and other witnesses who experienced it firsthand.

Featuring in-depth interviews with Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan and Western countries, Erasing Iraq is a comprehensive and moving account of the Iraqi people's tragedy.








Discipline and Dignity: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns
Thea Mohr and Jampa Tse Droen
Wisdom Books. Distributed in Australia through Scribo.

Dignity_DisciplineThis is a collection of essays taken from a global conference on nun's bhiksuni ordination from all traditions, that took place in Hamburg, Germany.

The articles cover the breath of Buddhist traditions and convey the history and the vision for the future of the role of women as ambassadors and curators of the ordained Buddhist community. This book shows a shift toward granting women full ordination in all traditions of Buddhism.

Many of the issues surrounding bhiksuni nun ordination in Tibetan Buddhism are shared by other parts of the Buddhist world. While some regard the bhiksuni ordination movement to be largely driven by Western Buddhist converts, efforts to revive the female order have actually been initiated by various progressive Asian monks and nuns over the last century.

New bhiksuni groups at various sites, including Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, are now at varying stages of maturity. All of these groups are participating in an ineluctable movement across Buddhism, one that is ultimately to be connected to larger shifts in our contemporary global civil society.




In the Name of Peace
Erin Saunders
Murdoch Books

In_name_of_peaceIn the Name of Peace discusses the pacifist leaders, great and small, whose adherence to non-violence, even in the face of ruinous opposition, has changed the course of history.

Pacifist leaders and their philosophies have affected societies, shaped the outcomes of conflict and enriched civilisation.

At the same time, pacifist action has brought about cultural ruin, prolonged conflict, and left societies vulnerable and stagnating due to passive leadership.

This book offers the compelling and dramatic stories of 17 of these leaders (including Mahavira, Jesus, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Addams, Jean Jaures, Mohandas Gandhi and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) and provides context around how those opposed to violence have affected world culture.





Hope: The Everyday and Imaginary Life of Young People on the Margins
Simon Robb, Patrick O'Leary, Alison Mackinnon, Peter Bishop
Wakefield Press

HopeHow does hope manifest itself for young people on the margins of society? In this book young people talk about their hopes and fears for the future – the possibility of leading a full life.

They illustrate those hopes and fears in images and drawings of people and places meaningful to them. We learn that they are both typical of young people everywhere – desiring love, family, the prospect of work – yet different in that achieving those aims may involve pathways of proscribed, even criminal, behaviours.

Through these moving, often raw, stories and images, we gain insights into the everyday and imaginary worlds of marginalised young people.

We also hear from their teachers and others who work with them attempting to build lost relationships and trust.

The members of the research team who worked with these people also contribute their thoughts, arguing that a truly sustainable society is not possible until the thoughts and opinions of all are taken into account.


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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