I truly enjoyed this book when I read it. Although I agree with other reviewer's that Wallis has a tendency to oversimplify complex social and politic...moreI truly enjoyed this book when I read it. Although I agree with other reviewer's that Wallis has a tendency to oversimplify complex social and political issues, I also feel that politicians and media like to over-complicate those some issues, so perhaps some simplification is in order.
What stuck with me most from this book were Wallis' many examples of how a shared vision could create common ground for Dems and Reps to truly work together to create workable solutions to real problems, even on some of our country's most seemingly polarized issues, such as abortion. I may not agree with all of Wallis' opinions, but I do like his arguments.
However, my opinion of this book has been tainted by a bad experience with the author himself. I had the opportunity to listen to Wallis speak at a conference and to ask him a question. Wallis speaks often about how the majority of religions represented in our country share common morals, supporting his Judeo-Christian vision. I asked him how a political vision with an overtly religious basis could include, rather than alienate atheists and agnostics who are just as much a part of our country's social/moral/political tradition.
Instead of answering my question, Wallis launched into an anecdote about how he once prayed with leaders of three different religions in a jail cell. The story had nothing to do with atheists or agnostics in the least, leaving me feeling ignored and dismissed. Unfortunately, I think that is how Wallis' political vision would leave those in our country who do not practice a religion.(less)
A fun read if you like quirky history and tales of dark deeds. Jack shares different explanations for the origins of English nursery rhymes, some of w...moreA fun read if you like quirky history and tales of dark deeds. Jack shares different explanations for the origins of English nursery rhymes, some of which are fact, but many a combination of history and myth. As entertaining as it is, the book has a few downfalls. One being that if you lack a basic understanding of English history you could very easily become lost amongst all the Marys, Elizabeths, Richards, and Henrys. The fact that the rhymes are ordered alphabetically, rather than in groupings with related origins does not help the fact. The other main downfall is that although Jack appears to consider himself a witty writer, he is not. He makes some lackluster attempts at jokes, but the history can still get a bit dry at times. (less)
One of the best nonfiction texts I've read. This text gives a detailed account of the development and history of the Irish Republican Army during the...moreOne of the best nonfiction texts I've read. This text gives a detailed account of the development and history of the Irish Republican Army during the Northern Ireland Troubles, as well as the development of their associated political party, Sinn Fein. However, the text doesn't feel heavy in the way that many historical texts do. It's very engaging and reader friendly, reading more like a novel than a history text.
The only downfall of this book is that Ed Moloney is clearly a very big fan of Gerry Adams. He paints Adams as the hero who led Northern Ireland out of the Troubles. Not exactly an objective view point, but then, Moloney's opinionated writing is part of what keeps this text from being just another dry historical document.(less)
I've never learned as much about as wide a range of topics from any other single book. The way Grandin weaves her vast knowledge about animal behavior...moreI've never learned as much about as wide a range of topics from any other single book. The way Grandin weaves her vast knowledge about animal behavior, Autism, neurology, and genetics (both human and animal) into one cohesive text continues to astound me and speaks to how much our society misses out on by undervaluing those who think beyond what we know as the norm. We "neurotypical" people are neurologically designed to think within certain parameters. Some people with Autism are able to think beyond those boundaries, making connections and opening up possibilities beyond the rest of us.
In this one book we find a detailed analysis of animal behavior (specifically how humans affect animal behavior), a description and call to action regarding our responsibility to the animals in our care, an analysis of the neurological and behavioral differences between nuerotypical people and people with Autism, a detailed account of the thought process of one woman with Autism, an appreciation for the ways people with Autism can improve our society in the ways neurotypical people cannot, and a picture of Grandin's development as she turned what some would have described as her "Autism symptoms," "difficulties," or "differences" into a fulfilling and successful vocation.(less)