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The Story of B (Ishmael #2)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  7,877 Ratings  ·  439 Reviews
The Story of B combines Daniel Quinn's provocative and visionary ideas with a masterfully plotted story of adventure and suspense in this stunning, resonant novel that is sure to stay with readers long after they have finished the last page. Father Jared Osborne--bound by a centuries-old mandate held by his order to know before all others that the Antichrist is among us--i ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 13th 2010 by Bantam (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

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Phillip Yost
Sep 06, 2007 Phillip Yost rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember first reading The Story of B by Daniel Quinn when a friend let me borrow a copy when I was sixteen. It disturbed me. It frightened me. It inspired me. I am now twenty-one, and this novel still disturbs, frightens, and inspires me. The novel completely uprooted everything I had come to assume about the world. I remember when I was five years old and my brother bluntly telling me there is no Santa Claus. The feeling of escaping the illusion, learning what I had so adamantly believed to ...more
Jan 08, 2009 Mattyj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a long and hard book. It is also, probably the most important book I've ever read, not the best, not my favorite, but probably the most important. I can chart my life as before this book and after. I am a better person for having read and understood what Daniel Quinn has trying to say. If you have not read it I implore you to take the time and do so. You will be a better person for it. (Though you need to read Ishmael first.)
Feb 08, 2011 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My second Daniel Quinn book that I couldn't put down. Even though the author includes the words "an adventure of mind and spirit" to the novel's name... I wouldn't exactly describe it that way myself. It was more of a "open up your eyes people!" type of novel and I hope it did just that!

What if you had a powerful message that you wanted to get across to the entire world before the entire world falls apart if people do not GET that message? How would you go about doing this without coming across
Roslyn Ross
Jul 14, 2013 Roslyn Ross rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*I did not read the fictional story, just the 100 pages of his philosophy at the end
*This is one more book on someone's theory about The One And Only Cause of All Modern Problems. This dude thinks it's population.
*Unfortunately, Quinn either made his conclusions from things we believed about hunter gatherers pre 1995 or he ignored lots of information to support his theory

Here are some corrections:
-We used to believe that humans "evolved" from hunter-gatherer societies to farming to towns to citi
Terri Kempton
Be wary the book that promises extreme religious power. I encountered this phenomenon in the Life of Pi, which is outstanding fiction, but it never should have promised me a story that "would make me believe in God." That's a whole lot to make good on, right?

Well, the Story of B promises us a message SO dangerous, SO original, SO life-changing that the character "B" deserves to be called the Antichrist. If you're pulling out the big religious guns, you'd better deliver. Don't give me half-warmed
Daniel Quinn is apparently the answer to how to get us fiction-averse readers engaged in novels -- while the plot and characters are satisfying and round, respectively, Quinn has essentially mastered the art of making it palatable to read the story of people sharing ideas with each other which are not fictional in the least. Very enjoyable, first book in a while I haven't wanted to put down at the end of a subway ride.
Jul 06, 2010 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Story of B, Daniel Quinn couches in a novel what appears to be a contemporary animist worldview. The thin plot has a twist I'll admit took me by surprise. For the purposes of the story, the identity of B is relatively unimportant; what's required is merely a character to give the concepts a voice. Finishing the book, I had an ambivalent sense that people are recognizing as never before the threat represented by our culture that despoils the earth; yet I am not sure how I feel about B's pr ...more
Having read and enjoyed (and learned from) the author's first novel Ishamel, I suspected I would like this one as well, and I did. The story centers around a Catholic priest who is sent by the head of his order to investigate a man who may or may not be the antichrist. Rather than teaching and preaching Satanism or black magic, the speaker--a man known only as B--is teaching something much more dangerous to the Church: animism!

Yes, animism. Over the course of several long talks, B tells the pri
Sep 27, 2008 Marshall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this about ten years ago, and I count this as one of the books that transformed my thinking. It's the story of a Catholic priest of the Laurentian order who is tasked with tracking down someone named B, who is suspected to be the Antichrist. As the tale progresses, you learn much of the teachings of B. Trust me, it will make you think. It's a very different perspective on our culture than you'll find anywhere else. If you've read Quinn's first book, Ishmael, you'll know this perspec ...more
Marsha Hubbell
Aug 24, 2015 Marsha Hubbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Story of B” by Daniel Quinn is the follow-up to “Ishmael.” Once again, my copy is dog-eared marking passages that were eye-openers, that spoke to me on a cellular level as well as an emotional and intellectual one. This book took me the next step and dared me to go back to the person I was before reading “Ishmael” – to the beliefs I harbored, the history I trusted, the questions I kept buried, the misunderstandings and forgotten memories that are part of being human, truly human.

With “B” w
Jan 03, 2008 Murry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been intrigued by Quinn's interpretations of religious motivations and his ideas on population and modern society's self-deception, but I don't know how much more one-sided dialectic I can handle. Of the three Daniel Quinn books I've read, they've each relied heavily on a discussion between two characters, one filling the role of teacher and the other filling the role of pupil. While one person, the pupil, is usually having a personal philosophical crisis and the other, the teacher, ...more
Jay Burton
Sep 02, 2013 Jay Burton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly incredible novel explaining the fundamental flaw of today's Culture/Society.

The author will take you through a philosophical yet entertaining journey where you gradually question what it means to be a human of the 21st century, and how so many teachings of today have blinded us from many aspects of the human race.

Written in a very simple English, Quinns' ease with words makes you ask yourself many questions around what it means to be human, when and how did we start becoming human, and h
Nuno Magalhães
Sep 01, 2010 Nuno Magalhães rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nuno by: Paulo Seixas
Este livro é extraordinariamente excepcional! Adorei! A sua leitura trata-se de facto de uma grande e empolgante aventura mental e espiritual. Na sequência do 1º livro do autor ("Ismael"), que me foi aconselhado por um grande amigo Antropólogo, este livro aprofunda e desenvolve os vícios associados à Cultura Ocidental/Oriental que nasceu há 10000 anos como resultado da Grande Revolução Agrícola - a invenção da Agricultura Totalitária, e questiona os ensinamentos associados às Religiões Salvacion ...more
Dec 08, 2010 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. This fictional tale is the next step in Daniel Quinn's explanation of his philosophy. The ideas in this book may seem like "duh" comments to some, but I found his conclusions fascinating and surprising.

The take-home message was that thousands of cultures once covered the globe, with no single culture dominating humanity. He suggests that when homo sapiens began using agriculture ~10,000 years ago, we embarked on a fundamental shift in the way humans interact with the world in ter
Kenley Kristofferson
I really enjoyed it, but not as much as "Ishmael." The first half reviewed "Ishmael," which is probably good for those who have only read it once (I've read it twice and listened to it three times, so I know the text very intimately) and sets an important backbone for the rest of the book, but it seemed like a bit "too much of the same."

Once the second half started, it got deeper into the ecological ideals that made Ishmael great, but it also got into some New Age ideas that made it a bit more
Christian Dechery
This is a life changing book. It will destroy everything you believe about the origins of our culture and its destiny. Are you prepared for this?

If you didn't read Ishamel and knows nothing about the idea of this book I suggest you go read that first. I personally think Ishmael is better book than this one, more fun to read, with better characters.
If you did read Ishamel, this book may sound as if its just repeating the ideas with a different background story, but it will be worth your while la
Oct 23, 2008 Bria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having already read Ishamel and My Ishmael and completely absorbed the messages into my worldview, this book seemed a little redundant. The set up of a teacher trying to lead a student to a conclusion felt a little played. The premise of the ideas being at war with the church, however true they may be, still felt a little trite, self-important, and preachy. And, partly due to the material at the back of the book, it seemed to end rather abruptly. But I am only able to make these criticisms from ...more
Feb 26, 2012 Dustin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is hands down one of the worse books I've ever read. I somehow got through half of it, but I can't bare to read anymore. The author tries to makes points about history and religion, but rather then stating them he drags them out for 50 pages in the most confusing way possible. This wouldn't be a bad thing if the points were new or meaningful or if it was written in a suspenseful way like you would find in a Dan Brown book, but this book does none of this. Do not waste your life with this bo ...more
Katrina Korte
This book was what really opened my eyes when I was a young teen as to what is the meaning of life and what is my place in the world. Something I always remembered about this book was how it simply stated that the world was not created for humans. There were plants, insects, amphibians, animals, dinausaurs and what makes humans so special as to think that we will not wind up extinct as well. If the world was not in fact created for humans, how does the Bible factor in to that? It's a lot of curi ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For something that is supposed to be groundbreaking, I didn't find many of the ideas all that far fetched or spectacular. I was a little disappointed. While it did point out some huge flaws with current human culture, it didn't say anything that you can't find on a good PBS program nearly any day of the week. And I felt like the Priest was converted a little too easily...not sure someone like him would have been a Priest in the first place.....
Matthew Phelps
Dec 01, 2010 Matthew Phelps rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful allegory that guides the reader through the history of modern civilization and where, if left unchecked, the path of our modern totalitarian agricultural civilization will eventual lead. It challenges the notion of religious virtues and presents a rare, alternate perspective on our precipitous danger to ourselves as long as we delude ourselves that modern man represents humanity itself rather than a global cultural phenomenon.
Dec 24, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an outstanding work of literature - basically a fictionalized story of a man who practices/preaches Animism. Not just an extremely interesting take on an ancient (perhaps the most ancient) religion of all, but an entertaining and engaging story in it's own right. Quinn moves the bulk of the actual 'preaching' into subtexts at the end of the book so you can dive in a bit more if you want to know more about Animism.

Thanks to Tom Miyata for his recommendation!
Sean Murray
Apr 30, 2007 Sean Murray rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dissatisfied masses
The book basically spells out most everything that's sick and wrong with our culture(the greater culture of agricultural totalitarianism that transcends East and West) that we've always known to be wrong, but haven't been able to articulate.

This part of the book I love, however, the book starts to present itself as this revolutionary manual toward the end, which I feel is more than a little presumptuous/self indulgent on the part of author.

Still a highly recommended read though!
Jun 15, 2013 Kamile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Viena reikšmingiausių mano kada nors skaitytų knygų.
Daugumos knygų mintys dažniausiai vienokia ar kitokia forma būna jau girdėtos. Tiek "Ismaelio", tiek "B istorijos" pamąstymai apie mūsų kultūrą ir civilizaciją neįtikėtini tuo, kad norint juos padaryti reikėjo sugebėti atsitraukti nuo tokių kasdieninių ir "savaime suprantamų" "tiesų", kad iš pirmo žvilgsnio jos atrodo nesvarstytinos.
Žviuosi žaviuosi žaviuosi Daniel Quinn įžvalgumu ir genialumu.
Dec 13, 2010 Py rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another book that helped to completely transform my thinking. I read this before any of Quinns other books and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the storyline completely enthralling and enjoyed having the choice of when to read the teachings. [I read them individually as they came up in the storyline and found this worked well].

Quite a page turner, I found this to be more gripping than Ismael and My Ishmael.
Amber Crews
Mar 05, 2009 Amber Crews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All of Quinn's work pushes the envelope of our culture's accepted "truth" of history, where we (as humans on this earth) have been, our impact now, and where we are going. The _Story of B_, however, has such an exciting, driving narrative to support his "lectures" that the read is amazing, and quite possibly can change how you see your impact and purpose on this planet. I recommend this book to everyone I know.
Enoch Page
Jan 04, 2009 Enoch Page rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading My Ishmael, this is the next one to read. It corroborates Ishmael's teachings through the agency of another inspired teacher who reveals the world as it is not as the church wants it to keep being misperceived. It offers human salvation not through religion but through a right relationship with the earth.
Katie O'Brien
Nov 22, 2014 Katie O'Brien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Worked through a lot of thoughts I had already been over myself and also introduced some new ideas. I wouldn't say I agreed with everything but it is a great way to get you thinking about the way you view the world.
Eddie Villanueva
Mar 09, 2015 Eddie Villanueva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
As he did in "Ishmael", Daniel Quinn poses the question of why do we continue to live in a way that is not working? Why do we continue to consciously destroy our world? Was man truly created to do as we please? This is a great book that will make you aware of what our culture actually is.
Dave Manning
May 16, 2012 Dave Manning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really liked how this book of Quinn's explained his ideas. Perhaps it just took reading the others previously for these ideas to sink in deeper.
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What are two disparate perceptions that may be shattered as a result of reading this book? 1 34 Aug 13, 2009 08:16AM  
this book 1 20 Dec 25, 2008 09:43PM  
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I had and did the usual things -- childhood, schools, universities (St. Louis, Vienna, Loyola of Chicago), then embarked on a career in publishing in Chicago. Within a few years I was the head of the Biography & Fine Arts Department of the American Peoples Encyclopedia; when that was subsumed by a larger outfit and moved to New York, I stayed behind and moved into educational publishing, begin ...more
More about Daniel Quinn...

Other Books in the Series

Ishmael (3 books)
  • Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit
  • My Ishmael

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“If the world is saved, it will not be saved by old minds with new programs but by new minds with no programs at all.” 95 likes
“Nothing in the community lives in isolation from the rest, not even the queens of the social insects. Nothing lives only in itself, needing nothing from the community. Nothing lives only for itself, owing nothing to the community. Nothing is untouchable or untouched. Every life is on loan from the community from birth and without fail is paid back to the community in death. The community is a web of life, and every strand of the web is a path to all the other strands. Nothing is exempt or excused. Nothing is special. Nothing lives on a strand by itself, unconnected to the rest. As you saw yesterday, nothing is wasted, not a drop of water or a molecule of protein—or the egg of a fly. This is the sweetness and the miracle of it all, Jared. Everything that lives is food for another. Everything that feeds is ultimately itself fed upon or in death returns its substance to the community.” 2 likes
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