The first half of this book details the coming of age of the author. The second half covers the issues of her public political life. The story is told in a sensitive and candid way, at turns both antagonistic and tender.
The underlying premise is that Islam, when practiced in a way consistent with its writings and history, is essentially about power and control rather than about peaceful pursuit of God.
But more importantly, it is a call to attention that to place high value on others' cultures without a critical evaluation of them is dangerous. Tolerance doesn't always optimize primary values in either the foreign or host culture.
The value of this book is broader than just its evaluation of Islam. Its highest value is in its call to think and speak clearly regardless of the political winds that blow.
I remember reading a quotation recently (but cannot remember the source) that "if 50,000 people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." That is certainly part of the message of this book.
I don't understand the complaints others have posted about the narrator and the production. The narrator is fabulous and his diction and rhythm are perfect for the story.
I just finished "The Namesake", just barely making my way through its rather depressing lack of a story line. I read the wonderful reviews of "Netherland" thinking that this would be different. In fact, it is same thing. I couldn't make it through. I usually finish books as a matter of principle, in case I was missing something, but after 8 hours, I couldn't go on.
Another reviewer commented that this story was the Apollo 13 of its time. That is a perfect description. Beyond that, there are lots of leadership lessons one can take from "watching" Ernest Shackleton lead a group through a prolonged and difficult time. As the story is told, he maintained leadership and vision in extraordinary times.
Less a lecture as much as a collection of essays. They're all worth the time, but none of them are "wow, I never thought of that" kinds of concepts.
Typical spythriller. Fun read, but not much to chew on after you're done.
Well, I'm pretty sure that this is the kind of book, when turned into a movie, will result me falling asleep on the couch. It is all about relationships and culture of an American-born Indian who lives between the eastern India Bengali heritage of his parents and the Americo-European heritage of the US eastern seaboard. The story doesn't really end, the author just stops telling it. I think I learned a few things about being a 3rd culture kid, but there are more efficient ways to learn. This one doesn't go on my recommendations list.
The concept of hints of heaven in our daily life is the central concept of this book and the argument is well made. I have only two critiques:
1) The point is well made in a chapter or two, and the rest of the book seems to be story telling to make the concept book-length rather than simply settling the matter.
2) The narrator with only a few exceptions has a pleasing tone and rhythm, but he has an irritating pattern of modulating his voice when quoting others. The modified tone sounds silly in comparison.
If you like a quick book, you won't like this one. That is usually my style, but this book is so wonderfully woven together that I fell in love with the protagonists and became vicariously involved in their lives. Among the best fiction I've read this year.
Other reviews have called this a long-winded whining. I didn't see it that way. Irene Spencer sprinkles humor in with tragedy. Her account reveals her own weakness as much as the weakness of those she lived with. She is both angry and empathetic. There is a sense of settled understanding even in the midst of chaos.
I wouldn't recommend this as entertainment, but it was a fascinating insight into fundamentalist Mormon poligamy. It teaches broader themes as it recounts the story of one woman.
Most biographies try to be comprehensive, this one is different. Instead of focusing on every detail of Lincoln's life, it focuses on his political life and the decisions he made that shaped that life.
We desperately need "Lincoln-esk" thinking today. Where our modern society deals with conflict through either conflict or avoidance, Lincoln shows another path.
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