Excellent handbook with well-design exercises organized clearly and usefully. The descriptions of activities help filter the ideas to meet your needsExcellent handbook with well-design exercises organized clearly and usefully. The descriptions of activities help filter the ideas to meet your needs and there certainly are enough of them to help with development of any product, but also enough varied ideas to help with organizing people in a collaborative way for lots of reasons. I was lucky enough to take this company's class in Pittsburgh and so received this when leaving, but since have used it for many meetings and even added another copy (ebook) so I can have it near always. Big fan of the organization and the concept. Done better here than some others out there. in other words, every organizer, trainer or designer should have a copy in hand ....more
I like the version of feminism that Solnit offers in her writing; it seems an essential flavor of her human rights and world stewardship main course,I like the version of feminism that Solnit offers in her writing; it seems an essential flavor of her human rights and world stewardship main course, and not at all a side dish growing cold on her table. I know a great many women like Solnit; activists who have the talent to extend the debate to systemic issues of power and equity, yet can do it with a story or rather, a series of stories rather than just banging a shoe on the table demanding to be heard at once. Feminism is so a part of their work (and worth) that it always seems odd to see them go back to the basics and explain why this is important-and yet they can and do. These essays are readable and accessible and each piece stands on its own which means as readers the many issues raised here come to us with some context and with powerful details making each easy to absorb in its own time.
Loved the Woolf piece at the end. I mean, I loved the first piece too, but I had read a version earlier and thought it was right on then. The Woolf piece seemed a great end that began with the ridiculous situation of the book title. In the Woolf piece, Solnit seemed to be giving a talk about one of the great early modern writers and activists, one that just happened to be a woman and yet her being a woman was probably what gave us Lily and Clarissa or the very modern protagonists of The Waves or the sober and clear denouncement of isms that is found in 3 Guineas, rather than another romantic Jay Gatsby straddling the old and new with way too much admiration. It also seems that Solnit is talking about her own writing and her own viewpoint on the world and that corresponds with my belief that these two writers are a great matched pair. This is a great primer to give your young friends who are beginning to face the same old tropes of women bashing or belittling. I have lent it out twice already and expect to keep it moving into the future hopefully, to help build more world citizens that fly their feminist flag whenever necessary....more
I just read parts of this again, after originally reading it a decade ago. Like Italo Calvino's "Hermit In Paris", it's fascinating to see what a EuroI just read parts of this again, after originally reading it a decade ago. Like Italo Calvino's "Hermit In Paris", it's fascinating to see what a European intellectual saw in the new world. Both of them came in the 1950s (and in later times too) and yet their perspectives are worthy still. Obviously, the public ugliness of segregation and racism in America is quite deeply felt in both of their accounts and it will make you squirm yet.
But, of course, for Beauvoir the real treat is her study of all people, especially women and intellectual posers. True to her beliefs, there is no retreat from serious subjects back into female sniping or coy retorts (which even my all-star Mrs. Parker was guilty at times) when the going gets sticky or at least cloying no matter when it is about her own culture:
I'm giving a lecture to the Cultural Relations, followed by a cocktail party. A Frenchwoman, at least 40 years old, challenges me:"In the name of French youth, I declare myself against everything you said. "Another woman shakes my hand effusively: "I thank you in the name of France.' I would certainly like to know what supernatural voices gave them such mandates.
or ours: Most of the intellectuals that I met in New York amazed me with their abstention from social and political questions, but these young people (she's at liberal Oberlin University in Ohio) amaze me even more. I know very well that in a sense there is no political life in America, but at their age it's normal to try and create one. No. Even among themselves they don't talk about social problems; they hardly talk about intellectual matters either, they say. "What do you talk about?" I ask. They shrug their shoulders-nothing. More specifically, sports or college organizations. These are the chief distractions offered to the students.They elect presidents and committees; they thrash around and think they are acting.
I think we have mostly forgotten what the 1950s were really about for us, besides the cool clothes and smoking as evinced by the tv shows reflecting it back to us at the present time. The beginning of the corporatization of our culture, the settling into concrete of the classes with no more "frontiers" left to shake them loose and the utter belief held by most of the population that we now deservedly ruled the world and no longer had to listen to anyone else or see ourselves as simply neighbors, rather than the crusaders for everyone to want our version of "happiness and freedom" that we have become.
But America has its charms and Simone finds them: with her lover Nelson Algren in his Chicago, in the South, in New York, even at wrestling matches in Houston. She was interested in seeing our culture whenever she can find it and yes enjoys much of it while seeing it clearly:
"And inherent in what I like and loathe in this country is something fascinating: the enormous opportunities and risks America runs today and the world along with it. All human problems are posed here on a gigantic scale, and to a great degree, the solutions they find here will illuminate those problems, retrospectively, in a moving way or swallow them up in the night of indifference. Yes, I believe this is what moves me so strongly at the moment of my departure; America is one of the pivotal points of the world, where the future of man is being played out. To "like" America, to "dislike" it-these words have no meaning. It is a battlefield, and you can only become passionate about the battle it is waging for itself, in which the stakes are beyond measure."
Hmm, I read that 50 years after and realize I don't have the courage to respond....more
I have passed this name in more than a few 60s history, but not much detail except passages like " this seemed to be the outlook of radical feministsI have passed this name in more than a few 60s history, but not much detail except passages like " this seemed to be the outlook of radical feminists like Roxane Dunbar" etc etc. So, when I saw this on the shelf in Iron Rail in our excellent biography section, I was delighted to find it. Read it in a day, thought she got the high points-her evolution to Cell 16, her move to a more serious anti-establishment outlook and life lived among those historical events. I had no idea that she stationed herself in New Orleans for the most radical period (and I am sure it seemed where better to amass caches of guns than in a third world city forgotten by America, even then?) The New Orleans stuff rings very true, so I am willing to buy the rest as a practical retelling of a activist's time in history, and one that I hope more newer versions of her take the time to read....more
I won a night of cocktails at a gay bar that friend Roger took me to in the early 1980s because I could quote the seconDorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker.
I won a night of cocktails at a gay bar that friend Roger took me to in the early 1980s because I could quote the second stanza of 'Resume". Please. I could have read her book reviews verbatim (review of Winnie the Pooh written as Constant Reader " Tonstant Weader fwowed up.") I could have recited them verbatim and probably did at times.
So, when I say this is a good overview of Dottie's life, believe me or suffer the chance I will make you listen to the long-playing record I have of her reading her own poetry. In Meade’s book, you will see a woman who makes herself a writer and suffers because she is not Edna St. Vincent Millay or Sherwood Anderson. She ends up as a caricature of herself, known for tossed witticisms, rather than her quite well done short stories, or her strength in standing (next to her friends) for her principles on social issues. And, yes after the marches and speeches, they would depart to Tony’s to drink ‘til they were blotto, on that fact there is no doubt. Mrs. Parker believed in the power of the written word and never gave up hope in it (her fellow writers wrote to save the world more than any other generation before or since), but sadly, took little comfort in the fact that her strength of political character was her testament. As a writer and activist, I will do it for her by keeping her candle lit for a little bit longer in this world. ...more
I have picked this up in used bookstores for years, thumbed through it, then put it down, quite sure I did not have the time to give it, and rememberiI have picked this up in used bookstores for years, thumbed through it, then put it down, quite sure I did not have the time to give it, and remembering the quantity of books that I devoured back then in the need to find the largest foundation of ideas to return to later, I was right to put it away. Recently, I found it again (maybe the same copy picked up over and over again, since it was in the same used bookstore in the French Quarter I have been roaming since I was a teenager) and bought it this time. Hey why not; it's freakin' hot here right now... It sits next to 3 or 4 others currently open, and it also comes on travel with me, as it is large and can serve the same spacial role as 3 or 4 modern books, in its length. As a half/Pole (2 generations way removed, I think; that's how removed we are), the story of Yugoslavia is fascinating and sorrowful to me, as both stories are sad, violent, rich and not ours alone, but annoyingly shared and mingled with our numerous imperious invaders. In the book, West travels to Yugoslavia for a second time in the late 1930s, this time with her husband. Well, as I know what the area is in store for shortly after her time there, the shadows are even longer from my vantage point. However, for any era of reader the way she explains practical, maddening basic life in its humor and beauty and sadness in the stories and history is for anyone. West takes us on a sweeping panoramic view of the physical and cultural majesty of the Kingdom, and along the way, remains available herself almost as a friendly aisle companion. She introduces us openly to her friends and thoughts without fail. I am gratified that it was written by a female writer who I have now added to the list of those teachers of sensibilities and tone- Didion, Blixsen, Solnit, Di Prima, more too, but that gives you an idea where I think she belongs.
I am not even halfway done with the book, and I expect it might take me calendar years to add it to the finished pull-down menu of above, but I do not mind. I appreciate the sprawl and detail of this magnificent work, and like a beautiful mountain that I decided to climb, there is no value in haste.
I could give you some excellent examples of my suburban cred-I'll give you two: I would ride my bike to y tiny side or back yard, and just leave it laI could give you some excellent examples of my suburban cred-I'll give you two: I would ride my bike to y tiny side or back yard, and just leave it laying there til i wanted to ride it again. I had no idea how to take a bus until I was a teenager and then still got confused.
Lucky for me, my urban mother moved me to the city when I was a teenager and I escaped its grown-up clutches. Maybe because of that, I go back to that suburb and find sweet things to muse about almost every time.
Suburbia has its many detractors. It has few supporters. I won't say this author is in either camp entirely. She does seem to understand them, which of course is the first step to changing them.
7 vernacular patterns of suburbia? I had no idea. But now I do. I can roam the old cities I see and find the patterns from "borderlands" (Ohio City in Cleveland to the Garden District in New Orleans), "picturesque enclaves" (oh my Lakewood for sure) to "streetcar suburbs" (my current neighborhood of MidCity New Orleans) and so on.
Builders (not necessarily developers in every case) were the main actors, we all know that but not always for the reasons you would think, is her argument. The communitarian movement, women needing to find paid work and so on.
Another round of applause for how she incorporates what has been written before. How can you write about suburbs and not mention the brilliant "Crabgrass Frontier"? Don't worry-She does.
Well worth it. Useful. Well designed. Just like some suburbs.
I have been referred to Bookchin by Planet Drum, and am glad to have found him. This book is a defined argument against the role of city residents asI have been referred to Bookchin by Planet Drum, and am glad to have found him. This book is a defined argument against the role of city residents as simply taxpayers, and argues for a fully re-realized role of citizen instead. His work on social ecology is well known and his libertarian impulses have sent him to the far- well the far out as I am never sure where to slot libertarians, as they roam the political spectrum quite freely. As for this particular book, I was glad to see another tome asking for city controlled by its citizens, it does my heart good in these dark days of federal control of New Orleans. But I do hear you out there-shouldn't we ask for a full accounting of our taxes and what they are used for from our elected and non-elected city officials? Yes, but is that all? I would say that Bookchin is adept at thinking through the idea of asking for more power than just the sheets showing decisions made by your city people- instead, a return to direct democracy and day to day power held by its citizenry is in order and can be obtained....more
Even if many do suffer with the Irish soul filled with worry and self doubt, it seems to have brought out some gorgeous writing to the rest of us. NuaEven if many do suffer with the Irish soul filled with worry and self doubt, it seems to have brought out some gorgeous writing to the rest of us. Nuala O'Faolain wrote a book of a lifetime in this one, with poetry of language mixed in with clearheaded reporting of a lonely life. Yes, life sometimes sucks, but the life itself and the learning from your "choices" is the reward and ultimate making of somebody....more
Anything Lillian Hellman wrote is something I want to read. This was fun and gave more color to her New Orleans background and her Southern irascibiliAnything Lillian Hellman wrote is something I want to read. This was fun and gave more color to her New Orleans background and her Southern irascibility, both valuable character points in my book....more
I love maps. When I travel, I study maps online to have some sense of the geography underfoot, as much to understand who the people might be as not toI love maps. When I travel, I study maps online to have some sense of the geography underfoot, as much to understand who the people might be as not to get lost. It's amazing how people appreciate that bit of homework when you go to their place. I have maps of my city (New Orleans) and of my river (Mississippi) on the wall of my house and the Slow Food RAFT map (see below) on my business card. I have books of maps authored by favorites such as geographical historian Rich Campanella and activist Rebecca Solnit, whose collaborative map book ("Infinite City") of her home of San Francisco is a thought-provoking juxtaposition of right and wrong, culture and place.
When I came across the Kickstarter campaign for this Food Atlas, I jumped at the chance to support it. It arrived last week and I have read it while sipping my morning coffee (while reading about Strong Coffee traditions in the Middle East and "Bird Friendly" coffee origins), referred to it while writing about farmers markets (the one on SNAP and farmers markets) and studied the Texas Seafood Landings map after making flounder tacos just north of Lake Pontchartrain, home of most of the seafood catch for my bioregion. It's a very new book and so won't be found everywhere yet, but you can buy it from them now at http://www.guerrillacartography.net/home
It is a wealth of maps on food production, distribution, security, exploration, identities and to pick out my favorites is to shortchange the breadth of this book. It's not just for activists, or "foodies" but for everyone and I think it could affect (and galvanize) people just as M. Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemna" did. I grow tired of long text articles about food (Yes, I do include myself in that finger pointing!) and would hope that this sort of map project could become a new way to educate and illuminate the small world that we live on.
I can't wait for the editors to follow up on their promise to expand the reach of this series including to add more Asian and African food maps and to get this Atlas in hands everywhere. Its a bit heavy on maps of the West Coast and of the US, so much so that it occurs to me that having a set of food maps that show the lopsided view we have of ourselves in the US versus how others see us or experience us might be a good edition. In any case, hurrah.
has any modern writer written as beautifully in recent memory? This deserved the Pulitzer that it received, but so did The Secret History, her first bhas any modern writer written as beautifully in recent memory? This deserved the Pulitzer that it received, but so did The Secret History, her first book....more
I love doing that time travel thing, when you find an author who can bring you to his or her time, and you are like Samantha in Bewitched talking to BI love doing that time travel thing, when you find an author who can bring you to his or her time, and you are like Samantha in Bewitched talking to Benjamin Franklin in her 60s housewife clothes. I take this from my shelf every few years and stick it in my backpack and read my little copy of this book for a few minutes every other day or so, much like the religious read the bible I assume, although I always remember that mine was written by a youngish white European of no particular esteem who went to check out America, rather than a book of metaphors taken entirely too seriously, designed to start countless wars and cruelties. I enjoy hearing about the small townish lack of complexity of America, and its innate sense of exploration and innocence. Its belief in equality and forthright expression (albeit with a puritanical malevolence on the back edge) is charming, although I also wonder exactly when the last match was blown out on that country, and replaced with this massive regime. ...more
Picked this up for travel. It is a series of essays about European cities and how they weathered the 20th century, written at the end of it. Early on,Picked this up for travel. It is a series of essays about European cities and how they weathered the 20th century, written at the end of it. Early on, Mak quotes the "Red Nobleman", an old Dutchman: "What do I think about this century now, that it is over? Ah, a century is only a mathematical construct, a human fantasy isn't it?"
and so it is, so Mak instead just sees what modernity has done to old cities and people. Hard for Americans to understand that for some, this last century was not great, and for others, its changes were to be fought.
A few quotes that I wrote down as I read:
"Almost everything that would prove formative to the 20th century was already lying dormant in Vienna in 1900."
"peace, solidarity and cooperation are only conceivable among peoples and nations who know who they are." (Havel)
this is about as much of a travel book as Rebecca West's classic Black Lamb Grey Falcon (also currently being read by this reader). It is history by one of Netherland's best writers and gives you a sense of a series of places that are connected by their own and neighboring political and military maneuvering. To steal and mangle a phrase, culture is destiny.
Very well done snapshot of the Northern California local food system, especially its history. As much as I thought I knew, I learned more about how itVery well done snapshot of the Northern California local food system, especially its history. As much as I thought I knew, I learned more about how it all began and what was valued. I appreciated that this book was centered around two farmers markets and their environmental and social justice leanings which is a great lens in which to view multiple types of organizing and sets of outcomes. I especially like the time she takes to link the work in each market to the economic goals of the green economy.
here are some wonderful passages on the tensions and values of this emerging alternative system:
"One becomes an environmentalist, for example, through the consumption of green products such as organic food rather than the traditional means of voting, lobbying or attending protests. While this strategy allows supporters to inscribe their social movement goals into their everyday life practices. it also creates individuals who infuse the logic of the market into both their ordinary behavior and their desires for social change (Larner and Craig 1999)"
"The promise of the green economy is that the market can be made to value, and therefore to protect, humans and the environment."
"In these markets, actors choose from among competing narratives to envision and emphasize the spaces where buying and selling green products leads to environmental protection and social justice."
"Furthermore, proponents of the social change potential of the green economy attempt to redefine capitalism not as an exploitative system that must be overcome or restricted in order to protect people and the environment but as a tool to create a more just and sustainable world."
"...Working towards these goals (environmental sustainability and social justice) becomes possible, in part, because participants in each farmers markets define environment and justice in ways that render them compatible with one another."
"The compatibility between sustainability and justice achieved at these farmers markets is not inherent. Farmers market managers, as well as some vendors and regular customers, actively work to conceptualize strategies that speak to both goals." As a community food system organizer, I believe this book is crucial to successful organizing around food. I do think the book starts out strong with establishing the history and the context of the area but falters a bit when it gets to actually showing if these outlets accomplish the lofty goals they organized around while still offering a stable alternative economic choice for shoppers and producers. That may be more of a problem with the outlets than with the writing however. In any case, do take the time to read this thoughtful book and then pass it along to your friends and comrades....more
My Cleveland was not Harvey's Cleveland, but I knew of his and respected it, just like I did for Harvey himself. And I'd rather not forget about it, sMy Cleveland was not Harvey's Cleveland, but I knew of his and respected it, just like I did for Harvey himself. And I'd rather not forget about it, so I'm glad to own this graphic book....more