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Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power
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Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  162 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
It is easy to feel helpless in the face of the torrent of information about environmental catastrophes taking place all over the world.
In this powerful and provocative book, Scottish writer and campaigner Alastair McIntosh shows how it is still possible for individuals and communities to take on the might of corporate power and emerge victorious.

As a founder of the Isl
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Aurum Press (first published 2001)
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Mar 13, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a great read on several levels. McIntosh is an "independent scholar" having been deeply involved in the founding (and decline) of the Center for Human Ecology at the University of Edinburgh. The book is an autobiographical account of his participation in activism in Scotland on a variety of levels, particularly in seeking to defeat the Harris superquarry (a group of European entrepreneurs wanted to basically level a Scottish island in order to make... gravel) and the remarkable story of ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: eco-feminists amongst others
The first part of the book about the Highland Clearances had me, as a sassenach, feeling slightly uncomfortable. Also I'm too much of a rationalist to feel happy with talk of faeries. Once he gets on to analysing our society in terms of Mammon and Moloch I begin to feel some kinship with McIntosh. A great happy chance find on GR.
Diane Rheos
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books. So much poetry and beauty. It ties together the spiritual -soul with the -soil of the planet. He weaves stories, the bible, poetry, with references to many writers. Lovely
Sam Willis
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Soil and Soul has sat in my basement having had my wife give up on it after 30 pages. As I was clearing some bits out down there the book jumped out at me and I sat down to read it (a favourite procrastination technique of mine). It has fast become one of my favourite books. Having read other reviews, it seems McIntosh's style in blending psychology, spirituality, theology and poetry with his account of the Isle of Eigg's community land-takeover and the Isle of Harris super-quarry campaign can l ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I saw this book as having 3 inter-twined strands.

One was the facts about the movement to rid Eigg of its Laird and take it into community ownership and also to stop a super-quarry on Harris.

The second was social-political-environmental commentary about how things are and how they could be better if there was a focus on community and if we were connected to the land that we inhabited.

These two parts I found interesting and there was plenty sections that I read out to Ann as I agreed whole-hearted
Fred Langridge
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
I really, really enjoyed the first half of this book, which explores the history, theology, geography and culture of the Hebrides. The second half is the story of the long campaign of work by the people of Eigg to take their own island into community ownership. The story's very interesting; I found myself a bit irritated with McIntosh's style in this part of the book, but not enough to put me off reading it altogether.
Ashley Catt
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Curiously, one of the quotes on the front cover of my copy of this book proclaims that the work is 'No Logo in fair isle jumper', which is a pretty apt description for anyone who has read 'No Logo' by Naomi Klein. In actuality, I find that Alastair McIntosh is a bit like a cross between Naomi Klein and George Monbiot (who, perchance, wrote the foreword for this book). McIntosh imbues the case studies of forced corporate dispossession that Naomi Klein talked about in 'No Logo' (and also a lot of ...more
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a great book! The author tells the story of two environmental protection movements in the Hebrides in the 1990s. In one project, a group of crofters challenges the abusive practices of their landlord, and in another, a diverse coalition successfully halts efforts to site a super quarry on the Isle of Harris. Both projects are successful, in part because they have cooperation and inspiration from a group of like-minded Native Americans in Nova Scotia. Mcintosh traces centuries of Scottish hi ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Inspiring, infuriating, and in many ways, heart-rending. An account of two major power clashes in recent Scottish history, which have led to the birth of the Land Rights Reform Movement and may ultimately change the way relationships between local people and corporate bodies are mitigated.

Alastair frequently dips into the well of esoterica (and occasionally fades into the Mystic) but it makes for an interesting, lively read all the way through, and lends insight as to the scope of what is at st
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Everything else has to take second place for a while. A chance meeting with someone, and I ordered and got this from amazon in the last week. "About' the successful campaign against vested interests and corporatism to secure the Scottish island of Eigg for a community, what I have read so far just wants to me to keep on going for 384 pages. It's erudite and wild in its references but is essentially 'heart politics'; the first chapter will put you straight on this. Not an autobiography but that b ...more
Margo Pratt
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has been an absolute life changer for me. It caught me at a good time, my perspectives were widening, my faith in politics diminishing, my place in the universe coming into question - must be a nearly 40 thing...

It has made me reconsider the role of community whilst giving me a rich overview of the political and community landscapes and how economic refocus changed all of that.

I hanker for simpler times, and this book paints a beautiful picture of possibilities.

Genuinely - a life chang
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful account of the intimate relationship between God, humanity, and the environment, explored through the lens of the struggle for land reform in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. This book is a wonderful testimony to the indefatigable spirit of those who seek to live in authentic and loving communities that cherish their role as stewards of the natural world.
I loved this book. It's a moving tale of activism, community, justice, fighting the good fight, connecting with nature and the divine. Growing up with the mythology of the British Isles, it also felt like home.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Five stars for political analysis and participation in a true to life David vs Goliath story, 3 stars for gassy, Starhawkian eco-spirituality, much too much of it. But a great insight into the Western Hebrides, in which I was traveling at the time.
Jun 01, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: environment, wishlist
recommended by a friend - looks very good.
Eleanor Dow
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Poetic, insightful and informative. Provides much hope for the those concerned about social and climate injustice.
Nov 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: environment
Not many books are of the life-transforming sort but this one sure was. You just have to read it to see what I mean.
Sally McRogerson
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
David beats Goliath again! This time on the isle of Eigg where the tenants actually get to buy out the landlord, eventually. Good read
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very good book that establishes the basis of human ecology. One of those books that gives your viewpoint a shift, so that you wind up thinking a little differently about the world.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A hugely enjoyable book. McIntosh weaves numerous strands of his own life with that of Scotlands history to form a coherent world view.
Shaun Chamberlin
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hope
Utterly wonderful - inspiring, helpful and fascinating.
Joshua Welbaum
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
A book that came out of no where that combined social justice and theology. Highly recommend.
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Stephen Bigger
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Christine Cather
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Feb 07, 2009
Patty Peebles
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Ross Crawford
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Alastair McIntosh is an Isle of Lewis-raised writer, broadcaster and campaigning academic best known for his work on land reform on Eigg, in helping to stop the Harris superquarry; also for developing human ecology as an applied academic discipline in Scotland. He holds a degree of BSc in geography, submajoring in psychology and moral philosophy from the University of Aberdeen (1977), an MBA, spec ...more
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“Look! You look, Mr Stone Eagle!' I shout down the telephone. 'This one's big time. This one's different. Do you know where the people behind your superquarry came from — names like McAskill and Kelly? They came from places like the Hebrides and Ireland in the Celtic world. Over here. They got pulled like weeds from their own land and transplanted onto yours. Don't you see? We're both from superquarry-threatened communities. We're both from communities that got fucked over, yes, fucked over. They cleared the native people and now they're wanting even the rocks.” 3 likes
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