Tag: Book Reviews

Book Review – Between Flesh and Steel: A History of Military Medicine from the Middle Ages to the War in Afghanistan

“Between Flesh and Steel” is a book written by Gabriel, a great historian with a purpose of describing the military medicine evolution from the middle ages to the 21st century. The book gives detailed information on how soldiers in the battle field have been treated from the time the battle weapons were less severe to the current era where severe and more sophisticated weapons are used. Gabriel achieves greatly in demonstrating the advancement of military medicine and how it has been refined with time as the need to take care and preserve military troop grew in important to different countries. Initially, caring for the wounded soldiers was regard as a waste of resources. This made it almost impossible for the wounded soldiers to receive good treatment. Despite of weak weapons compared to the current situation, more soldiers died in the battle field due to lack of medical care. Gabriel has narrated how the advancement in military medicine has brought the contrast of low battle field mortality rate with advancement of military weapons (p. 36).

The book is considerably detailed, demonstrating various events that took place in different times, especially centuries and the changes that were made. Gabriel demonstrates his great ability to research to obtain detailed information regarding medical evolution in the military field. The book gives small details of how certain medical procedures especially surgeries were conducted and how these practices have changed with time. It has also managed to demonstrate the relation between the general medical discoveries and military treatment advancement. A good example in this case is experiencing more deaths from infectious diseases than war inflicted wounds (p.200). The book also demonstrates how change of weapons and the inflicted injuries and wounds has influenced advancements in surgical medical field. Gabriel thus demonstrates his knowledge in military medicine and war history, providing a rich source of information on the relation between the two. He also provides names of individuals who contributed to various medical breakthroughs in history, especially in military medicine, making his book quite informative, not just to history lovers, but also to anyone interested in specific historical details in the medical field. He gives finer details including the number of soldiers that died in various events for different reasons. For instance Gabriel states that “in Spanish-American War, typhoid killed 1580 men while only 23 died in action” (p. 200). This makes the book to be among the most informative historical work in the military medicine evolution field.

In this book, Gabriel has collected suitable information to contribute to the weapon invention versus military medical invention trend. He has arranged his sequence of events on increments of centuries though not on a constant 100 years interval. This has created disjoint in his work especially regarding major military medical advancements and discovery and events that initiated them. Probably he could have managed a better connection with the use of different warfare or specific wars as denoted by the history, based on change of military technology, or based on the changing medical practices and knowledge in the world in general. The current topic breaks fails in giving continuous narrative which can easily make it easy to recognize and identify major changes and trends. The current arrangement is considerably confusing and can only be understood by attentive readers who are keen in identifying the effect of certain identified procedures with time.

Gabriel, Richard A.  Between Flesh and Steel: A History of Military Medicine from the Middle Ages to the War in Afghanistan. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2013.

Book Review – Forgiveness and Reconciliation : Religion, Public Policy, and Conflict Transformation

This book is written by a group of experts who explore conflict resolution and emphasizes on the importance of forgiveness. It digs into theology, public policy, psychology as well as social theory. This book is important because it serves to educate the society and the public on the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Conflicts are inherent and are part of our daily lives. The need for conflict resolution is therefore inevitable and forgiveness being a moral responsibility, acts as the best solution to conflicts. The essence of life is to live harmoniously amongst ourselves and serve our purpose in the best interest of the society. Forgiveness and reconciliation is an essential moral obligation for the society and a very critical aspect in conflict resolution. The writers of this book have discussed forgiveness and reconciliation in relation to religion while at the same time tailoring the content to societal context.

Article nine of this book deals with forgiveness and reconciliation. Definitions of forgiveness, unforgiveness, dispute resolution and reconciliation are the opening statements in article nine. Everett Worthington definitions are justifiable and well-thought because they are drafted in the perspective of international and societal relations thus showing relevance in terms of purpose. According to him Everett, forgiveness is the superposition or the inclination to embrace positive emotions against the negative emotions of hate and resentment.He says that people forgive but one cannot tell whether they have actually forgiven others. He defines forgiveness as an altruistic gift that we give to others. I agree because forgiveness makes us get over the hurt while at the same time creating a harmonious environment which is good for peaceful coexistence. He defines conflict resolution as a way of solving differences between people in a society and that it involves skills of communication as well as negotiation. While people, families, and friends can be able to solve conflicts, it does not mean that problems are eliminated.

Everett in article talks about forgiveness as a personal decision and I agree with him. However,it is important to note that forgiveness is not as easy as the Bible states. God recommends that we forgive and forget, but the emotional nature of human beings makes forgiveness very difficult. Article nine expounds on the importance of managing emotions when we are hurt so that we can be able to forgive and forget as the Bible recommends. Reconciliation as discussed in this article involves another party and therefore is not a personal decision. Reconciliation according to the article is defined as the restoration of trust between two or more parties. It involves forgiveness. Everett explains the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation by attempting to show how one can bridge the gap between forgiveness and reconciliation. I however disagree with the thought that forgiveness precedes reconciliation. In my opinion, the process of forgiveness comes after reconciliation and it is what determines the success of reconciliation process.

Naturally, human beings develop bonds of love and when such bonds are broken, hatred comes in. The consequence of hate is that we tend to objectify those who wrong us and alienate ourselves from them and the longer we hold on to hate and resentment the deeper it eats into us. It is therefore important to learn how to forgive before we get overwhelmed with hatred. Religion is also playing a critical role in justifying and encouraging the need for forgiveness and peaceful coexistence. This book is a masterpiece given the in-depth analysis and scholarly input from its writers. Research to promote forgiveness and reconciliation has been done to help reduce the act of unforgiveness.The acrostic REACH is used to explain the five step model for forgiveness.

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Book Review – Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple of Judais

Reviewed by:

Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple of Judas, provides a very incisive look at an academic art work that argues clearly the need for the recognition of the Jewish roots of Christianity’s most sacred text, “The Holy Bible.” The writers were doctoral students at Durham University and it is pleasing to note that inherent their work is the a contribution of several women.

There is an elaborate introduction and an overview of the Second Temple Period and the writings it produced. The overview starts us off with Abraham with the intention of placing the time period firmly within the historical time frame. In particular, the introduction provides a very interesting rejoinder to John Piper’s sceptism about about utilization of background resources to interpret NT texts.  It is brief, clear and precise.  There are footnotes and a great many bibliographies hence anybody wanting to find and learn more about any topic or about the times in general will easily access the good  resources inherent this book.

“Reading Romans in Context,” is in summary an essay collection that looks at various themes found in Romans and in Second Temple Jewish literature. Paul sometimes counters an argument that he believes will be brought against his teachings, but it is not clear what that argument is. By looking at Second Temple Jewish literaturelike the Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha and the writings of Philo, we make a sterling discovery of what other Jews around thay time were teaching. The authors endeavour to compare these to Romans to find similarities and where the teachings diverge.

Theres a stark realisation that the authors had a good understanding of Pauls teachings and they use the comparison to add insights and nuances to our understanding of Romans but not to reinterpret them. The essays are extremely interesting and the most outstanding of them is the one on distinctive food habits. It is very easy to follow their arguments. The glossary is placed at the back but the terms in it are well defined that theres no neeed to refer to the glossary.

The phrases and themes that were studied in the text were: “son of God,” God’s wrath and divine justice, circumcisiom and covenant identity, “works of the law,” “righteousnessof God,” the faith of Abraham, suffering of the righteous, death through Adam, slavery to sin or to righteousness, the law’s role, evil desires, human glorification linked to death, why God blesses or curses a person, righteous by law Vs by faith and one’s ability to keep the law, gentile inclussion, right living, self mastery vs divine enabling, how one should interact with the government, distinctive food habits, God’s role in our giving to the poor , and women in church ministry and leadership.

In my opinion, Reading Romans in Contextseems to provide answers to those wondering how their cultural background affects their understanding of the Bible and may be wished there was a way to know how early christians understood the scipture. The material in this book tries to explain what the Bible meant to the early church.  The book seeks to demonstrate for non- specialists the benefits that accrue when we study the Scripture alongside extrabiblical texts. It focusses on “how Paul and his contemporaries understood ‘getting in’ and ‘staying in’the people of God.

Theres no way everything discussed in Reading Romans in Contextcan be covered in a book review because the book is indeed immense and very rich in content. Overally, the the book is readable; its articles were short, precise and to the point. The book is logically structured and well explained especially if one was to follow Paul’s arguments in Romans. The different authorial styles blended so well that the work had a flow and not jerky as one would expect. The major reinforcement I got from reading this work wsa the fact that Jesus brought something totally new to our world. I did find the discussion on righteousness and suffering very helpful just as was  the Christian and the state and the final chapter on women.

Reading Romans in Contextis to me is a book to read and absorb and perhaps digging further deep into areas that are especially interesting. While reading this text, readers can expect to have their belirfs challenged, and their minds enlightened. This is a worthwhile text that can be very well utilized aspart of one’s daily devotional time. I recommend it to the entire makind.

About the authors:

Ben C. Blackwell

Ben C. Blackwell (PhD, Universityof Durham) is Assistant Professor of Christianity at Houston Baptist University and is former research assistant for N. T Wright and John Barclay. He is the author of Christosis: Pauline Soteriology in Light of Deification in Irenaeus and Cyril.

John K. Goodrich

John K. Goodrich (PhD, University of Durham) is assistant Professor of Bible at Moody Bible institute, Chicago. He is the author of Paul as an Adminstrator of God in 1 Corinthians.

Jason Maston

Jaston Maston (PhD, University of Durham) is Lecturer in New Testament at Highland Theological College UHI (UK). Heis the author of Divine and Human Agency in Second TempleJudaism and Paul: A Comparative  Approach and contributor to and co- editor (with Michael F. Bird) of Earliest Christian History: History, Literature and Theology. Essays from the Tyndale Fellowship in Honorof Martin Hengel.

Book Review – No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam

A Review Of  No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam By Reza Aslan


The author of this book Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American and a Shia by persuasion. He writes in his book that a time is coming when he will be denounced an apostate by a group of people. Another group however, will also declare him and an apologist. He however says that, the latter does not bother him a bit because “there’s no higher calling than to defend one’s faith” especially amidst ignorance and sheer hatred. In this book he points out that the essence of his writing by insisting that the book is basically an argument that objectively aims at reform. In his conclusion he puts a warning “like the previous reformations, this will be a horrifying event, an event that has begun engulfing the world” (Reza, 2006).


The Islamic religion is indeed facing hard times. However,it is not merely the tension that exists between the Islamic religion and other religions. Much trouble is brewing within the Islamic religion and the Abode of Peace is being brought down; the notional ummah of the Islam is no longer what it used to be. It is important to appreciate the change that has happened within the Muslim community as a result of the rapid expansion of literacy as well as the readily available and access to communication. The change basically seeks to redefine the interpretation of the Jihad and how to apply the Islamic law. Muslims minorities are also subjected to this change as to how they are supposed to engage with the society within which they reside.

Reza Aslan in his book talks about “No god But God”.  This is nothing less than a fight or a movement that seeks to totally redefine the Islamic religion and reform the system and Reza Aslan believe the struggle is already underway and the Muslim community is indeed on the verge of transformation. The surge of the western interest in the Islamic states is pointer to the reformation of Islam. While others may view it as a just a mere clash of civilizations, the fact of the matter is that the struggle is an internal struggle within the Islamic religion (Reza, 2006).

The book generally talks of reformation of the Islamic religion in reference to the proclaimed perpetual war between the Islamic nations and the west. The author says that the violence and bloodshed witnessed in the Islamic nations is not in reality a war between the Muslims and the west but rather an internal war between Muslims themselves. While there may exist a struggle between Christianity and Islam, this does not provide enough justification for the war because it is merely a universally typical religion war. However, the author says that the war is derived from within as to who has the authority to define faith. Is it the institution or the individual?

Considering the social and the political setting from which the Islamic religion emerged, Reza Aslan presents a credible case for viewing the Islamic religion as a product of its own age. Aslan points out that the Koran itself calls for other faiths, the Jews and Christians to come together and embrace the things they hold common as far as religion is concerned. The author seems to emphasize on the tolerant and merciful side of the Islamic religion and this poses a big blow to the religion especially the doctrines that seem to be undermine humanity and the course for which the religion is supposed to act on (Reza, 2006).

The author argues that these problems spring up from the fact that the Islamic religion has no central religious authority for example, Muslim pope or something of that kind. Instead, the Islamic religious authority is scattered across a wide collection of competing institutions. For this reason, the stronger institutions have maintained a virtual monopoly over the Islamic faith as well as the meaning and message of Islam.

Personal reflection

Although the Islamic religion is the fastest growing religion in the world today, it remains one of the religions that are masked with ignorance and fear. What is the meaning of this new faith? Could it be guided by peace or war? What is the difference between Allah and the God of Christians/Jews? Reza Aslan one of the greatest scholars of comparative religions has pointed out and clarified that the issue is not merely a clash of civilizations, a mentality that has gained ground among the people. In his book “Not god But God”, he challenges this mentality by explaining this faith in totality, beauty and compassion. According to Reza Aslan, the western perception of the Islamic religion is ill-founded. He says that the Islamic religion owes its existence to the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Reza Aslan provides a detailed development of the Islamic religion from its inception in the Arabian Peninsula to the emergence of Muhammad in Mecca and Medina and the subsequent change and manipulation of the religion by the Taliban and the Al Qaeda.  He tries to bring into perspective the diversion that the radical Islamic communities have made to the true meaning of the Islamic religion, a course that has not only put to risk the future of the Islam affiliated individuals but the world at large.

In actual sense, this book is written to appease the West. The west is known for its ideologies in regards to clash of civilizations and therefore, this book points out clearly the fight for modernity by appreciating the west for their efforts towards making civilization a reality. The author views the occupation of Iraq by the US as liberation. This contradicts the views of the astute and dogmatic Muslims who believe that the US is against the Islamic religion and will do anything to bring it down.

Ordinarily, the book is underplayed by the economic and social challenges in the peninsula that informed the founding moment of Islam. While it is true that Muhammad was not a member of the Meccan trading elites, the part of the Koran that talks about him generally talks about commerce. This makes sense why the Islamic religion is portrayed to have underprivileged merchants and traders. Allah in this case is the merchant and life is viewed as a business that can either gain or lose. The common/ordinary Muslims are forced to sell their soul to Allah in order to enter the Islamic paradise.

The most critical part of this book is the discussion of the Sufi Beliefs and literature. Reza Aslan’s knowledge of the Attar’s, The Conference of Birds is fascinating. His mastery of the Punjab traditions makes his writing exciting and captivating however limited it is. In addition to his quest on reformation, he calls for the enlightenment of the Islamic Religion. The world is calling for global reformation especially in religion. This book is therefore important to the Islamic religion and the west that are engaged in a religious war that has sought to annihilate the entire religion.

The book by Reza Aslan is an interesting piece of well written narrative the explains religious history and the controversies that dig into religions that are likely to cause more harm than good to the world. The text also provides a glossary and detailed section of notes and references. Apart from just the historical appeal the book displays, this is indeed and excellent piece of work that doubles as an impassioned call to reform.


Today, religion is on the rise in the western countries. The United States is best victim of this circumstance. Previously, New Labor has always been Christian and so this begs the question as to why the Islamic religion should be marginalized? Reza Aslan alongside other Islamic modernists calls for reformation in the Islamic religion. They are campaigning for a modern Islamic religion that can favorably compete in the west with Christianity and other religions such as Judaism.

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Farming the Home Place – Book Review

The author of Farming the Home Place attempted to provide a broad survey of the work of farm women, impact on agriculture, adoption of technology, social ideology about farm women’s role, government agricultural policy and farm women’s labor in the Midwest. The book illustrated the major changes of the time period as well as defining significant difference and similarities in the lives of urban and farm women. Farming the Home Place is accessible and sophisticated but contributes significant information in the field of history. Farming the Home Place is a book with wide range than what the title suggest. The author used the small Japanese-American farming area in California’s Central Valley to expand the concept of community. Initially, the author highlighted how the minority group was integrated into the mainstream of American society regardless of the extreme trauma of confinement during World War II.

Matsumoto systematically illustrated the early years of struggle in the Cortez Colony, where the first farm families fought to overcome legal barriers and racism to establish small fruits and vegetable farming in a harsh environment. The author demonstrated how immigrant farmers registered land using the names of their children born in America to circumvent discriminatory land ownership laws; how good business practices that brought together colony to form a Cortez Growers Association, which was driven by well-organized marketing structures that were the basis of California’s agribusiness formation during the first half of the century; how Anglo business agent cared for Cortez growers farms and how they broke the web of community after being released despite the brutal vigilantism and adopted the modernization practices such as mechanization and farming of orchard crops such as almond.

According to the author, Japanese Americans resorted to the agriculture because urban occupation was curtailed in the early twentieth century. The Japanese Americans discovered that farming was the only means to achieve success and earn respect by the foreign-born citizens. This move saw other minority ethnic communities adopted agriculture in other regions outside California for the same reasons. For example, the Croatians engaged in grape farming, Punjabis in cotton and Portuguese in dairy farming. All these foreign-born farmers became successful in these different agricultural practices after World War II. These communities were respected by Anglo landowners and they preferred them to be their tenants due to strong work ethics. However, it is the Japanese Americans who experienced the worst humiliation experience and tragic internship more than the Croatians, Portuguese, and other immigrants before the World War II. The author argued that the revival of Cortez Colony after internment and the continued production of crops by Japanese Americans was attributed to hard-bitten resilience.

The use of family labor by all the ethnic farmers in the Central Valley significantly contributed to their success since it was practical. This was one of the major secrets that make ethnic farmers to succeed. At one time Japanese farmer came under criticism from nativists for using their older daughters and wives as labors in the farms. These criticism was driven by the fact that nativists feared stiff competition from the Japanese who were hard-working. As a result, the nativists opted to disregard the fact that the Japanese were organized in the society since they produced bountiful crops, settled their bills on time, founded and supported the development of institutions such as schools, sports and churches, thus their children thrived in school. Nativists though that by raising the issue of older and Japanese wives toiling in the farmland would reduce the competition from the Japanese.

Out of their hard work, the Sansei who was the Japanese third-generation made their ethnic identity known. However, in the late twentieth-century the rural life of Sansei was threatened by the postmodern world. Nonetheless, their education achievement made the Japanese to be competitively advantage and marry outward. Despite Sansei being attracted to the slower pace of life on the rural areas and giving up lucrative career in the urban centers so that they continue to farm, mechanization and capital intensive operations as well as the increasing competition made the small-scale Japanese American fruit farm redundant. These development in the postmodern world made the Japanese third-generation to take up lucrative career and slowly withdraw from entirely depending on the farming.

The review of this book indicated that Farming the Home Place provide the important methodological model for the researchers and scholar that are interested in exploring  ethnic, community and family history. The author managed to incorporate oral evidence in her writing which is a valuable aspect in making the reader to comprehend the reality of that time. In addition, the book used the latest theories of assimilation to enhance sophisticated understanding and explication of the subject matter. In conclusion, Farming the Home Place serves as a model for community and family history in the 20th century.

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Book Review: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is an expertly written environmental science book published in 1962. It focuses on the documentation of detrimental effects that the haphazard use of pesticides has on the environment. In the book, she is vocal about her criticism of chemical industry which she blames for the rampant disinformation that is aimed at ensuring that public official accepts their claims unquestioningly (Carson and Lear). Carson had earlier focused all her attention on conservation efforts and in particular in environmental problems caused pesticides.The result of her new found passion culminated in the writing of Silent Spring(1962) that brought out her environmental concerns with the aim of sharing them with the American public. The following is a review of the book and an analysis of its content.


            Content and themes

An overriding theme throughout the book is the negative effect that human beings bring to the natural world. Her main argument posits that the chemical pesticides used in farms have far-reaching effects on the environment. She describes them as “biocides” as their effects are not only limited to the specific pests that they aim to exterminate. A prime example Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane popularly known as DDT, notorious for bioaccumulation (Rios). A large chunk of the book is dedicated to pesticides and how they affect the natural ecosystem with the portion consisting of four chapters providing detailed cases of the manner in which pesticide poisoning in human beings causes cancer and illnesses that are linked to pesticides(Carson 12). She eloquently questions the faith of humanity in this destructive portion of technological progress while helping set a base for an environmental conservation movement.

The book is as a result of an in-depth research undertaking into the subject and even meticulously describes the process of DDT entering the food chain and then consequently accumulating in animals, especially in their fatty tissues ( a leading cause of cancer and damage to the genetic material).  She further writes that a single application of a pesticide on a crop continues to kill insects for months on end with most of those dying being the unintended target. Furthermore, the book is written in a manner that seems to suggest that it is a public awareness campaign with the intention of demonstrating to society how vulnerable nature is to human intervention (Lytle 45). Carson makes radical proposals, one of them being that it is the duty of the government to curtail progress in technology as there are times when it is essentially at odds with the natural process. Hers is a call to environmentalism calling for the need to regulate this industry for the sake of nature’s protection.

The book also seeks to ignite a form of social revolution amongst the citizens of the country to keep the government in check in terms its accountability. Carson urges the readers to ensure that they always seek questions from the government, especially in regards to what they have promised the citizenry in term of protection of the environment. In particular, she points to the government is at the forefront in battling this epidemic but she still notes that the federal government is also partly to blame for this turn of events. Controlling the advancement in science and technology is one of the suggestions she gives for dealing with this problem in future because these development are often on a collision course with the natural world. Hers was a prophetic call to action to protect the environment that we live in for the purpose of balancing the laws of survival in nature. Human beings are thus expected to be in harmony as equal players in nature, instead of enforcing their will and playing master over all.


Book Review: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel is a book in its own league. Nothing confirms this more than the fact that it is a winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for non-fictional books and became a best seller in 1998. Diamond does a superb job at catching the attention of the reader by providing them with a fascinating and detailed account of about 13,000 years of societal development and human evolution. Although there have been a few points of controversy that the book has raised among scientists, the book has tasked itself with answering very many complex questions that had largely remained unanswered for decades. In its preface, Diamond first begins by recounting how he was initially intrigued when Yali, his New Guinean friend once asked him once; “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had a little cargo of our own?”(Diamond 14). The “cargo” mentioned so fondly by Yali is technology, and in particular simple tools such as axes, other accessories like umbrellas together with complex inventions such as cell phones, computers, and the Internet. Diamond notes that two centuries before his meeting with Yali, the communities native to New Guinea had already been using their own form of stone tools. It is this sudden realization that makes him interrogate the main factors that led to this stark gap in development between these two cultures.

At first, many would wrongly assume that Diamond could be writing the book to celebrate European conquest over other nations. Conversely, Diamond is not on a mission to glorify anything or anyone but simply tries his level best to describe what happened in history, and why events took the course that they did. He also clarifies that his is just a descriptive work of literature and does not, in any way, judge anyone. However, there are several occasions in the book where he voices his own opinion and in particular, his utter disgust for the racism that European colonialists harbored. For the most part of this meticulously written book, his tone is dispassionate and scientific. He searches for a conclusive answer to his question by first examining history over the millions of years that have passed, mapping out those first migrations of hominids from Africa to their destination in Eurasia and later from the Eastern Asia region towards the Pacific Ocean Islands, Siberia to the Americas. He follows the biological evolution of human beings and later focuses on certain representative societies which he uses to illustrate the truth that is there in his findings. While emphasizing the difference that exists between the developing cultures, he emphasizes on the writing, food production, government, technology, and religion. Using his opinions, he then demonstrates the reason why a difference among the cultures occurred.

From the onset, it is easy for one to misinterpret the rhetoric of the book as Diamond’s simple argument that the hunter-gatherer culture such as that of the aborigines and Native Americans as being inferior to that of the industrialized civilizations. In truth,  he doesn’t argue that one society is better than the other but surprisingly mentions that before contact, these hunter-gatherers were better off without the “development” that was brought. He shows how human beings learned how to effectively replace these practices with the onset of industrial and agricultural practices. He is also not saying that hunting and gathering are inferior to agriculture but simply stating that farming was more efficient in extracting food for certain areas. It is also important to note that throughout the book, Diamond seems to have written the book to refute persistent unscientific claims that Westerners were superior in comparison to people from other regions in the world. He makes specific mention to the racist’s attempts to twist science as seen in their use of Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species to justify their subjugation of these people and their brutality towards them during the conquest. (Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review: The Fates of Human Societies 25). He is insistent on there is no scientific link between culture/race and the intelligence of a people. To bolster this point, he describes his personal experience working as an anthropologist in New Guinea. It was in this island nation that he met some of the most brilliant people. He even seems convinced that these people could be smarter than the Westerners. In this society, survival was determined by luck and health meaning that individuals did not die from infectious diseases such as smallpox and the plague. Survival was more of a product of intelligence and talent such as being able to avoid accidents and their ability to hunt food successfully(Diamond 21). Additionally, Diamond points out that the average New Guinean spent more time out exploring the world around them than the average Westerner who would spend more time watching TV.

In conclusion, the main argument in Diamond’s book is that that the differences that exist between different peoples and societies around the world are large as a result of the geographical differences present around the world. There are certain parts of the world where human beings decided to pursue agriculture due to the temperate climate and fertile soils while making good use of the time and resources available. These agricultural societies would, in turn, gain tremendous advantages over the other non-agricultural semi-sedentary societies as there was a subsequent increase in free leisure time to conquer other nations. The sheer depth of Diamonds argument makes for a smooth exposition that is used in combination with a didactic style during his narrations. Guns, Germs, and Steel is an impressive milestone of imagination that manages to succinctly describe the interaction between ‘primitive’ peoples and ‘civilized’ minds.

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Book Review : Disaster Ministry Handbook by David Boan and Jasmie Aten

Among most communities, it is the churches that people turn to as centers for assistance and response during times of disaster. Whenever tornados or floods destroy property and devastate an area, or when a community is shaken by shocking acts of violence knowing what to do in such a situation can be the ultimate difference between life and death, calm and chaos or courage and fear 1. Few churches take the time to plan in advance for such eventualities and are more often than not being caught off guard when the storms of disaster hit. Disaster Ministry by David Boan and Jasmie Aten is a practical guide for churches in disaster preparedness. The book is critically important to the church in preparing for the unthinkable and providing relief to victims of such a catastrophic event. Both authors are co-directors at the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HID) 2 which bolsters the book’s credibility in providing a resource with information regarding planning for local congregations in a community. Stephen Bauman, the Chief Executive Officer and president of World Relief puts, while giving a commentary about the book underscored its importance by describing it as a handbook for the church and will help all those who follow Jesus to march to the front line that disaster creates, whether it is natural or man-made 3. The primary goal is to assist those most in need during periods of crisis. Below is an in-depth review of Disaster Ministry Handbook by David Boan and Jasmie Aten and its perspective on how best the Church can deal with disasters.

There are various critical roles that the church can play in disaster response and resilience. The handbook provides the reader with valuable lessons and answers especially to the question of what type of assistance local churches can provide, especially in regions that are regarded as high-risk. It is common knowledge that there are churches that have members living in disaster prone areas and there are also those who sincerely want to go the extra mile and provide help for these individuals3. It seems the sole aim of the authors is to prepare those individuals with servant hearts to these two perspectives and in doing so introduce them to the importance of disaster assistance. They suggest the reasons why churches should participate in such initiatives and propose ways in which the local church can assist the community specifically due to the trust that the community has in them and their structure. They are in essence, the first line of help for the community that they come from and should thus make is a point to increase their engagement level and participate wholly in this noble quest.

David Boan and Jasmie Aten’s opinions on the role of the church during periods of disasters

Disaster can come in various forms which are perhaps the reason why the authors had to break them down into four distinct categories: terrorist hazards, natural disasters, public health emergencies, technological and accidental hazards. Additionally, the authors go on to elaborate the various phases of disaster response after its initial identification4. In most cases, local churches are ill-prepared to implement a meticulously planned response to combat disasters that require urgent attention. The layout of the book is a buildup of crucial information designed to help local churches plan on how to best deal with it and how it can support its congregation and the community at large. If and when disaster strikes, the church first dedicates itself to the community in response to the matter at hand as seen in the case of the Salvation Army in the United States5. They often act as first responders whenever there is a crisis as they are aware that it is their Christian duty to assist those struck by tragedy.  Furthermore, this handbook is also designed to prepare the church leadership (the pastor being at the top) to make a local response whenever they are called upon to do so.  The first responders, for example, will me individuals in the health profession and mental health providers who also happen to be members of the church’s congregation 6. Such a group becomes the target audience for this book to assist them to formulate an orderly response policy.

The book also builds a solid case on why churches should be in direct involvement in efforts of disaster recovery and the provision of practical tools that can be put to use to create a fitting reaction plan. In responding to disasters, churches also need to learn how to integrate their response so that other partners, be it government or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), can lend a helping hand and lighten their load. The authors of this book also present the notion that the church’s involvement during periods of crisis also creates an opportunity for the local churches to interact and minister within the community that surrounds them5. They can serve these individuals with Christ’s love during the dark times and give them the hope that they need to soldier on. Moreover, the book advises local churches to try starting small and then joining with other partners as the main goal of their efforts is to create resilience to disaster in the local population. An observation brought up in the book is that disasters have been on a steady rise, but the resources that are made available to respond to these calamities have been decreasing. In a time where the frequency of the disasters has been increasing and government resources decreasing, a unique opportunity for the church presents itself where it is able to reach out to the people during their time of need.

Throughout the book, these two authors bring the audience to the realization that vulnerable individuals in the society often suffer disproportionately. An example that they provide is that of persons with disabilities as their likelihood of survival is two to four times lesser. The needs of those regarded as vulnerable in the society are unique whenever there is a disaster7. Those in this group include the young or very old, fragile individuals, the poor and those with few resources and the necessary connections to enable the, face these difficult experiences. It is important for the churches to understand fully how these disasters affect vulnerable people to ensure that they are not overlooked during rescue efforts.  Of importance to these efforts is the fact that vulnerable put family first and thus the need to keep them together at all times. Those that face severe crisis are mainly those who lose contact with their caregivers and those people that they depend upon. Some of these individuals do not have complete comprehension of their condition, posing a danger to them when they are separated from those who understand their condition. It has been noted by experts in palliative care that the surge in flu outbreaks can have deadly consequences for vulnerable people more so if they find themselves in a catastrophe8.  The authors also issue a challenge for persons with intentions to start a disaster that in light of the plight of the vulnerable, they should be included in the disaster management policy.

Congregational response to disaster through planning

It is also crucial to remember that response to a disaster is a communal effort with disaster relief groups being advised to liaise with specialists in planning for and managing such crisis, for instance, the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA). Churches are also encouraged to urge members of their congregation not to visit sites of these disasters with no organizational affiliation.  When individuals participate with organizations, chances are that their expertise will be put to good use as compared to if they were to go at it autonomously.  Relief efforts that are already on-going can then be integrated with that of the disaster ministry. The reasoning behind this strategy is to leverage one’s experience, adding a creative variety to increase the interest of those already in the ministries, avoid the duplication of leadership and ministry together with better planning9. The handbook is practical and clearly written and most importantly is that it provides the local church with effective tools that it can utilize in the planning, execution, and implementation of their strategies. Churches can now get an insight into how they can take good care of their congregation in a more sustainable and smarter way.

Underscored in the book is the importance of preparedness which is the surest way of reducing the impact of the disaster. A church that is already prepared has the local congregation as its number one asset, the reason being that those in this demographic are in a unique position to provide help to their communities as far as disaster vigilance, response and recovery are concerned. Congregational leaders that support the disaster ministry claim that the congregations that they minister to are able to provide the community with a broad-based prevention scheme and holistic care for those affected physically, spiritually and emotionally by the disaster10. It was also an important point to note is that the congregations in these local churches can reach those individuals that other groups and agencies were unable to come to contact with help reaching all those requiring it.  To add to this, congregations can also act as a source for drastic action on the community due to their connection with them, assisting them in assessing their risks and needs while trying to identify all possible appropriate actions. The congregation has been put in a position that gives them the opportunity to act as advocates for the vulnerable and all marginalized people in a population. If this notion is implemented, the church can expect the fair distribution of food and health care by determining who requires help urgently. Provision of resources by the congregation is also listed as an advantage of the church’s involvement during these trying times. Some may provide evacuation centers, meeting spaces, facilities to store food, equipment, water and all resources relevant to the work that they are pursuing. As a center for communication, the congregation allows messages and meetings to pass on vital information to a significant audience on a timely regular basis. A willing body of committed volunteers is thus found in the congregation as their foundation is built on love and their motivation being compassion.

It is vital to acknowledge that this handbook has had a profound effect on my ideas about urban ministry. It is the Christian duty of all those in a congregation to prepare for disaster and those it may affect as it is what they would require during their time of need. From the handbook, I have come to the apprehension that using the three-stage approach to deal with a disaster can be one of the many practical ways that members of a church and the congregational leaders can use as a starting point. The approach revolves around people coming up with pragmatic ways of taking action even when in the midst of disaster. To develop high-quality emergency strategies, most Christian organizations and government agencies that are typically involved in emergency response use this approach. The disaster ministry thus has to take into consideration the unique calling, talent and gifts that the congregation possesses. From the manuscript, it is evident that those churches that were successful in developing a disaster ministry first started small and later on made a concerted effort to build on their strengths.

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Middle East Literature – Books Review

The media is filled with stories about the Middle East, yet many people lack adequate knowledge about this region (Webb, 2009). Various authors have written stories about the Middle East and their literature help to bring the diverse experiences of this part of the world to the readers. Modern Middle Eastern Literature helps readers to replace old stereotypes about the region and to develop personal connections with the Arab countries. Some of the notable books written by authors from the Middle East, and that will be used for this analysis, include Wild Thorns written by Sahar Khalifeh, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter, and Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples. Readers can also use contemporary films and videos about these books to gain a proper understanding of Middle Eastern Literature (Webb, 2009).

The Middle East is a historically complex and diverse region where a large percentage of the world’s population resides. Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh addresses the crisis between Israeli and Palestine and it gives the reader an important opportunity to rethink the presumptions about the Arabic people. Khalifeh is known in the Middle East as the first female in history to write about Palestinian life. Wild Thorns is a very good book to introduce young readers to the lives of people living in the Middle East, especially in Palestine (Khalifeh, 2000).

Wild Thorns is centered on Al-Karmi family who live in the town of Nablus that is largely occupied by the Israelis. Members of this family have varied viewpoints and experiences. Nuwar who is the only daughter in the family is in love with a revolutionary. Adil, Nuwar’s brother, is working in Israel against his father’s wishes. Adil’s cousin, Usama, has just returned from work in Gulf States and he is now interested in becoming a resistance fighter. Basil, Adil’s brother, has been described in the text as a teenager who likes throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and who later on ends up in prison (Khalifeh, 2000).

Wild Thorns portrays the challenges that Palestinians are facing in their everyday life such as military domination and unemployment. When reading Wild Thorns, readers can draw personal connections with characters in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the text. Many people have read it in the news about the endless conflict between Iraq and Afghanistan. By identifying with characters in Wild Thorns, readers can transform their understanding and build a bridge between Palestines and the lives they are leading in territories that are largely occupied by Israelis (Webb, 2009).

The West Bank which is largely occupied by Israelis is portrayed as a society that is facing both internal and external assaults. However, that society has a positive spirit to remain strong and moving despite the misfortunes faced by its citizens. Wild Thorns gives the reader more information on how the Palestinians can survive under the current occupation. The lives of Adil and his cousin Usama tell the reader that political independence is directly related to survival. The two cousins are confident that even if the Israeli occupation continues, they will continue to survive through resistance. These characters are a true representation of the Palestine and the conflict that the country is currently facing. For Palestine to survive through the war, it must deal with it on its own through resistance (Webb, 2009).

In Wild Thorns, Basil and Usama have been prompted to destroy their family by the concept of nationalism. Here, Khalifeh views nationalism merely as a castle that us devoid of any foundation. Instead, what is evident in the book is a form of resigned solidarity. Currently, there are no national networks in the Middle East. However, the society is less connected as compared to the years after the Arab revolt (Khalifeh, 2000).

Usama in Wild Thorns represents politically active refugees from Palestine who were displaced in 1967 following the defeat of pan-Arabism and Nasser. He has just come back to Palestines from the Gulf of States and he is willing to execute attacks in those areas that are controlled by Israeli. Yasser Arafat from Palestine had gone to study in the Gulf States, but has some connections behind. Following his risky cross-border raids, it is the Palestines who suffered when Israeli chose to retaliate. Khalifeh has organized his characters into different figures by giving them different attitudes throughout the text. It is this difference in attitudes that plays a big role in building cleavages in the Palestinian society (Webb, 2009).

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter is another book that provides valuable background information about the life experiences of people in the Middle East (Webb, 2009). In Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United States claims that Israel is responsible for the apartheid system in Gaza and West Bank. According to Carter, the conflict between Palestine and Israel has been influenced by Israel who has colonized the Palestinian lands and has deprived residents of their basic human rights (Webb, 2009). Jimmy Carter is greatly involved in policies affecting the Middle East, and he emphasizes that there is lack of a comprehensive peace agreement in Palestine due to the primary obstacles that have been created by Israel (Carter, 2006). Jimmy Carter accuses Israel for building an ‘imprisonment wall’ in the West Bank and for strangling Gaza residents. He also writes about the role played by the United States in fueling the war between Israel and Palestine. He claims that Washington is abetting the colonization of Palestinian territories by the Israeli (Webb, 2009).

By connecting with characters in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, the reader is able to gain a clear picture of the cause of the war between Palestine and Israel, as well as the painful experiences faced by Palestine citizens (Goodman, 2006). This book is good for both the young people and adults who are interested in learning the political atmosphere of the Middle East. Additionally, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid helps readers to understand that the conflict between Israel and Palestine does not only involve countries in the Middle East, but also those in the United States such as Washington. In his views, Carter feels that Washington State is one of the contributors of the apartheid system that Israel has built against Palestine (Webb, 2009).

Many innocent civilians have died as a result of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Israel has occupied Palestinian land for approximately 38 years and Palestinians are suffering in the Israeli territory. Carter’s goal is to find long lasting solution for the war between Palestine and Israel (Carter, 2006). According to Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, the wall that is encircling the Palestinian people is a big threat to the peace process that is initiated to end the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Carter’s book perfectly explains a very controversial and complicated history of the Middle East. The timeline that the author has provided at the beginning of the book helps the reader to understand the role played by past events in enhancing understanding of the history of the Middle East. Throughout Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter has taken a unique position to give the reader a different perspective from that applied by other books on the same topic (Goodman, 2006).

Under The Persimmon Tree is a book written by Suzzane Fisher Staples and that involves a story of two families in Afghanistan barely on month after the September 11th attacks in New York. The story in Under The Persimmon Tree begins in Northern Afghanistan in a village called Golestan (Staples, 2005). In the book, Najmah lives with her father Baba-jan, her brother Nur, and her mother who is currently expectant. The family starts their day well but ends in a frightening mood when the Taliban attacks the family, taking their food, and kidnapping Najmah’s father and brother to become soldiers. Najmah’s mother gives birth to a baby boy just a few days after the attack. Surprisingly, Mohiuddin, Najmah’s uncle, who supports the Taliban, comes home and tells her and her mother to leave the Kunduz Hills, but they refuse (Staples, 2005).

Suzzane’s describes the pain and suffering that Najmah and her family goes through in the hand of the Taliban throughout their journey. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzzane Fisher Staples is a touching story where the author has effectively applied her literary skills. Suzzane has used different characters to paint a representation of a society that is completely destroyed by the Taliban rule. The author also describes a painful suffering of people affected by religious cruelty. Under The Persimmon Tree also narrates how poor farmers in Afghanistan are unable to protect themselves from becoming part of Taliban’s kidnappings. The reader will be able to gain a proper understanding of Under The Persimmon Tree if he or she connects with the characters in the literature (Staples, 2005).

The author of Under the Persimmon Tree applies multiculturalism in the text to describe the different cultures that inhabit the Middle East (Staples, 2005). Both students and teachers alike related the Middle East with the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The society may form stereotypes based on limited information that they have about the Middle East. However, people should realize that the Middle East is not just about terrorism and Taliban, but a nation where citizens can show love to one another. For instance, Najman is treated with compassion and kindness by Khalida’s family. Khalida’s family has gone an extra mile to risk their lives by disguising Najmah as a boy and escorting her on the road to Pakistan (Staples, 2005).

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Why Culture Counts-Teaching Children Of Poverty – Book Review

The book ‘Why Culture Counts: Teaching Children of Poverty’ has broadened most people’s perspectives about education especially me, the book introduces readers to various new concepts as well as strategies for ensuring success to all children in a school environment. The authors therefore argumentatively inform people that education is possible to all. From the book, I, therefore, perceive education to be dependent on many aspects such as theculture of the child, poverty issues and general social background of the child. This new perspective is, therefore, different from the initial one where I believed that education was self-dependent and associated with uniformity in all aspects of the instructional materials and methods.

The book has many relations to the trend of the future of education. The future of education refers to those educational practices that guaranteefuture success of better quality of teaching (Peterson, 1968). The authors suggest various approaches to education and their significant roles in enhancing thefinal quality of teaching. For example, different from the traditional practices that involved teachersteaching their learners uniformly in a classroom using stipulated instructional strategies, the authors exposes us to the need and relevance of assessing the studentsto establish their educational baselines and future success in the educational fields.

In chapter three of the book, the authors dwell much on differentiating for economically and culturally diverse learners (Tileston et al., 20080. The authors clarify the role of establishing both the cultural and economic impacts on education. To ensure the future of education, the authors are encouraging teachers to be “turnaround teachers.” According to them, teachers should take it upon themselves to adequately provide conditions in school that ensure success among all the children in a school. Secondly, to ensure the future of education, the authors suggest ways of planning for the needs of all those children living in poverty. These children left unconsidered will miss their educational chances coupled with success, as we know consistent failure among children always leads to their dropouts. The author, therefore, outlines the considerations that help teachers plan for these children

Analysis of the current educational processes reveals the ongoing incorporation of special needs education whereby learners’ individual needs getattended to by the special needs teachers. In the leading public universities, special needs teachers are currently trained for the same purpose. The authors’ ideas of modification of instructional strategies, re-teaching of essential vocabulary, contextualization of the content for learner’s particular culture and many more are all elements of special needs education where before teaching a concept, the teacher has to create a condition or an environment conducive for the learner putting considerations of the learners baseline factors like the both cultural and economic educational implications.

The authors’ perspectives or theories that address the current educational practices are such like their suggestions for the need for differentiating assessment in chapter eight, thedifferentiating context in chapter five among other chapters. Theprimary current educational practices that are addressed by the authors include the school counseling programs, the family units and cultural school days. Through these programs,a comprehensive school is created (Villa & Thousand, 2005), insights about issues affecting the child educational progress are pursued by professional teachers in the various schools, especially through the counseling programs.  In the book, especially in the fifth chapter, the authors talk about ‘theinclusion of students’ languages, cultures, and daily experiences into the academic and social context of school’. Most of these aspects are discussed in school counseling programs by teachers with extensive training.

The teachers show guidance and alternatives that incorporate the learners’ indifferences. During the cultural school days, cultural songs, as well as other practices, are integrated into the social and academic context of the school. Additionally, in the last chapter of their book, the authors dwelt much on ‘bringing it together to build resilience in diverse students’. It implies the different ways the teachers daily strive to associate success with all students despite their particular difficulties and barriers. In the current educational practices, there is also an evidenced profound teachings on most dominant cultures and expectations coupled with evidence-based teaching methods (Moran & Malott, 2004) as suggested by the authors. These lessons are relevant for the learners to know what to anticipate.

Current educational practices also encompass the differentiation of the content to suit best the individual student. It is the topic of considerable discussion in chapter six of ‘Why Culture Counts: Teaching Children of Poverty’. The authors, primary focus in on the relevance of the available content to the learners both cultural and economic aspects of education. Today, teachers are encouraged to assess the relevancy of the content to the learners’ appropriate age, class, and individual differences. In general, the focus of the theme of the book is to promote equal access to quality education to all children irrespective to their economic or cultural backgrounds.

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A Modest Proposal – Book Review

A Modest Proposal

The book “A Modest Proposal” written by Jonathan Swift is a literary piece of work that sought to find the solution to the burden that poor children had from their parents in Ireland. It also sought to find out how they could be of benefit to the public. The book was inspiring to my literary piece of work in many instances. First of all the book has the ability to make the reader create an image of the city of Dublin with beggars on the streets. A woman with children trotting behind as they sought to benefit from a situation that they had created a very little input or none at all.

The book also captured my attention by using hyperboles. It made Dublin uninhabitable at least according to the author (Swift n.d). The beggars were a nuisance to once a very beautiful and crime free city. The most capturing in this literary piece is the fact that the author painted the poor as those who seek to benefit from the society unfairly and failed to acknowledge that there is a possible chance that those who are rich could have benefitted or ripped off the poor. The author’s creativity portrays the rich as the victims in this situation. It fills me with disgust that the poor the only thing that they have has to be taken in this proposal to satisfy the rich. This literary piece of work has the necessary imagery, the hyperbole, and the irony. “I am assured by your merchants that a boy or girl before twelve wars is no saleable commodity”. That statement paints the pain of the poor, whose only crime is being poor. The sentence structure alternates words to give a poetic tendency that appears like alliteration. In studying this literary piece it brings some of the literary devices that will be part of my creation. Thus, making it both interesting and challenging at the same time.

Story; Blackmail

The gamble was over, and like a true player, I never shared my proceeds even if it took a collective effort. I could feel his eyes burning my back as I walked away. I had decided that I wasn’t going to give him a tiny whiny bit of my spoils but then out of fear, I had promised him part of the gambles. But then there was an “or else”. I had to give him part of the money or else he was going to expose my darkest secrets. I had to guard the money or the secret. I had to make a choice and had to make it quick. I didn’t need time for deliberation but the solution was here, I had to keep the money and even more keep the secret a secret.

To keep both, then Mizanin had to go, I had to get rid of him. He was not just a threat to my peace but the whole of my existence, one way or the other, I was going lure him back to the house and then get rid of him and then act like nothing had happened, and act like I never knew him to begin with. I got in the house, switched on the light and hoped he would come. And come he did, he had to come he hoped to get the share of the money he hadn’t worked for. He opened the door and I was right in the middle of the dingy room, the door bulb had broken but the only one bulb that illuminated was sufficient to show the way.

He looked at my hand and there he shuddered, right there in my hands was the single most thing he dreaded. He knew it was the end. He glanced at my hand and he let a whine escape, he knew what it meant, and if he was not going to behave I was going to throw him out. The suitcase in my left arm had his clothes that are when he realized I could throw him out whenever I wanted. He was at my mercy. This was my house, he was my guest and my house guests never made demands. And with that, I kept my money and my secret.


Looking at this short story, then one can once understand it as quick as he reads it. But then there are hidden elements in this story that to get to understand one has to think deeply one has to think of whether Mizanin was the bad guy or-or it was the author who sought to keep the money had jointly earned. The truth of the matter in this instance is that one knowing that he has some leverage over the other seeks to use that leverage against him to get everything they had both worked for. He is taking advantage of the fact that he is hosting Mizanin to bully him out of the money. Just like the society is taking the advantage of the poor, and making them the solution for serving the rich. There is someone benefitting at the expense of another. Apparently, gambling has done much to the communities, making people lose their investments and breaking up families and this instance is an example. It may appear like it was an author who was being the victim in this situation but the truth may not always be as it appears on the face of it. Stylistic devices have been used too in this context to fully capture the reader. Imagery has been deployed to help the reader create his own situation setting over the matter.

Book Review – Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint

Book review: Eisenberg, Eric. M. Organizational communication: balancing creativity and constraint. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.

Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint is a book written by Eric M. Eisenberg of the University of South Florida. This author continues joining the most contemporary and, at the same time, respected scholarship in the field of organization communication. The author embraces the significance of utilization of metaphor where creativity implies the impression of getting whatever one may want while constrain implies operating within established set of rules. The main intention of the author is to enable students in regard to accessing opportunities of practical application of the theories and concepts they learn inside classroom.

The book Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint is divided into three main parts: part I ‘Approaching Organizational Communication’, part II ’Theories of Organizational Communication’, and part III ‘Contexts for Organizational Communication’.  Part I contains two chapters that are significant for ensuring that readers get an overview of the discipline and concepts, which they require in order to comprehend the methods and ideas that the author presents throughout the book. Chapter I, which falls under part I talks about communication and the changing world of work. This chapter is significant for introducing organizational communication, providing reasons why it is a significant topic, and detailed description of the nature of work in the contemporary era. In this chapter, the author acknowledges that everyone has people surrounding him/her from the time of birth, and as they seek to understand them, they learn many things that include a sense of self, a culture, and a language. This chapter points out that organizational communication is the relevant interaction needed in order to direct organizational members towards the laid down objectives. This book; however, informs that this process does not happen automatically, instead a certain range of skills and ideas are needed in order to realize success. In regard to the changing world of work, the book emphasizes the need for understanding the manner in which this world has evolved including conditions to which human beings require adapting in order to know the kinds of communication that they need in order to survive in the changing world of work. The second chapter of part I is about ‘Defining Organizational Communication’, which evaluates four definitions that befit the concept. Besides, this chapter provides the impression of mindful and ethical dialogue as a productive approach regarding communication at the place of work.

Part II of the book is about “Theories of Organizational Communication”, which essentially covers five different theoretical views regarding organizational communication, which can motivate practice and research. Some of the theories discussed in the book include critical theory, information theory and post-positive theory. This part of the book contains three chapters: chapter 3, chapter 4 and chapter 5. Chapter 3 of the book is titled “Four Perspectives on Organizations and Communication” and it provides reviews of classical theories on organizations including systems of other relevant theories. This chapter, also, explores the implication of these theories for communication. The second chapter of part II is about “Cultural Studies of Organizations and Communications”, which embraces a common metaphor in anthropology and, also, adopted by many different organizations to evaluate the role that communication plays when it comes to creating, maintaining, and transforming the reality of organizations. The final chapter of part II of this book is about “Critical Approaches to Organizations and Communication”, which considers a unique approach in correcting and illuminating inequalities at the place of work. The author emphasizes his view that all research efforts require being directed towards illumination and correction of inequalities that exist at the place of work. This section of the book focusses on uneven distribution of privilege across class, gender, and race differences.

Part III of the book is about “Contexts for Organizational Communication”, through which the authors explore the different practical settings that can suit the application of the different theories described in the book. This part of the book contains four chapters: chapter 6, chapter 7, chapter 8, and chapter 9. Chapter 6 of the book is about “Identity and Difference in Organizational Life” through which the author views organizations as places that have intersecting and numerous identifications, and examines many ways in which differences are created. Chapter 7 is about “Teams and Networks: Collaboration in the Workplace”, which considers an incremental as well as radical efforts to utilize teams and networks in order to achieve successful organizations. Chapter 8, which is about “Communicating Leadership” aims to reframe leadership so that it appears as a communicative activity. It also reviews essential research in addition to suggesting practical aspects of efficient leader communication. The final chapter of the book is about “Organizational Alignment: Managing the Total Enterprise” in which the authors argue that increasing the efficiency of an organization demands appropriate communication. Finally, the book contains and appendix section titled “A Field Guide to Studying Organizational Communication”, which provides instructors and students with helpful process regarding planning, research, participation as well as writing the communication practices of an organization.

Book Review – Battle Lines : A Graphic History of the Civil War

Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War  is a novel written by award-winning historian Ari Kelman which was written to express in graphic detail the horrors of the American Civil war and all those it affected directly. This is a unique litany of all those who were affected by this war from the soldiers who fought in the battles, the farmers who stayed behind to support the economy of the Confederate states in the South and the African slaves who were caught up in this battle for their emancipation.

Issues pertinent to the war ranging from the history of the war, the frontlines, the political rhetoric, various battle strategies by both warring parties to the dark era of the Reconstruction period that followed after the end of the war in 1865. The does an exceptional job in the amalgamation the personal narratives of those affected by the war with the overall theme of war as the human element is usually ignored while telling a general war story. Moreover, the multi-layered approach of telling this story provides the reader with a deep understanding of all the various facets of this conflict, illuminating the rather complex history of this tumultuous era of American history.

The novel is divided into chapters that each start with a summary of all the crucial moments and the turning points that culminated to the start of this skirmish. Various articles from the period are present here with the important headlines that mentioned the Civil War and in some way acting as a prologue or an abstract to the story that is to follow. It is also important to note the visual aspect that this book possesses, with the story being allowed to proceed with the visuals that have been elaborately drawn being allowed to tell a visual story of what really transpired during this period of bloodshed for America. The visual aspect of this book is responsible for showing the story in a more reinforced manner with the personal stories of those affected being told and their thoughts intimated expressing their personal feelings about the war from a regional to a national perspective.

Kelman deftly tells the story of the war that span four years concisely without leaving any important historical information from this narrative to ensure that she captures the real situation during this period by involving the human aspect. Personal stories and feelings of those affected by the ravages of the war are so emotional and moving that one gets a feeling of empathy for those victims. This is one of the strengths of the novelist, as people can better relate with people and the suffering they went through during this period with her use of objects such a bricks, a rail road spike and ink to represent various aspects of the war.

In the fourth chapter a set of leg irons known as “Leg Irons ” is used as a symbolic object to tell the story of George Washington who was a runaway slave from North Carolina. He comes into contact with two Union Soldiers who are quick to tell him that they are there to protect him and force him to go back with them to their camp. Still in shackles, George meets a blacksmith and pleads with him to free him from his shackles. The blacksmith asks for payment, something he knew slaves were incapable of this forcing George to dig trenches in the camp. Although having escaped the shackle of being his masters slave in the South, George now finds himself a victim again of a racist society where he is not viewed as worthy of freewill.

In the seventh chapter dubbed “The Bug”, there are red spotted lines that permeate the drawings. The various social clusters are expressed through the dots and the issue of the malady that had spread throughout the country .At the end of this chapter, a doctor gives his last dose of medicine to a woman at the brink of death while a red line is shown near the medical doctor who has a mosquito perched on his neck. This aims at showing the reader how the individuals in the 19th Century knew little about how the malady that was malaria, spread from one individual to the next.

The various Battle Lines and war strategies that were there during this war are also expressed in this book, albeit in a comical sense by the various visual representations available. A younger audience that is inquisitive about the war and its history would find this book very helpful in their history research probes as it seeks to make students more aware of the events that happened in a graphic sense. An overview of this book thus expresses a war story, told through an unusual story form to bring the story to life chronologically with a human element to it.

Book Review – The Business and Practice of Coaching

“The business and practice of coaching: finding your niche, making money, and attracting ideal client” is one of the most recommendable books in the churching field. The book gives a clear direction to new coaches and the existing coaches who have failed in coaching business on how to be successful in the real world. The book integrates a coaching technique to practice developing expert tips, step-by-step exercises, and motivation plan to guide them in their coaching activities, with actual research regarding what works in enhancing individual as a couch. It gives comprehensive information on how to start a business, identifying the business customers, identifying individuals one want to couch, defining ones market niche, and marketing strategies that would help a one to be successive. It also guide on how to keep in touch with the customers and to keep the customers coming to your business. This makes a coach much difference from others since it enables the couch to make money.  Therefore, the book acts as a good resource for any person who is regarding the coaching profession or who is in the first stages of developing coaching career. Allen and Grodzki (2005) offer a good road map which can assist newcomers in the coaching field to make improved choices, remain motivated and focused, and avoid pitfalls while establishing themselves as coaches.

The book contains four main sections that include positioning, differentiation, entrepreneurship, and profile in coaching. Positioning offers clarification regarding what the coaching professional is all about. Differentiation provides information on how one can explore his or her strengths and identify his or her individuality as a coach to be able to be noticeable in the market.  Entrepreneurship involves how to augment the business venture success opportunities. Finally, profiling in coaching provide examples of coaches who manage to make a comfortable life by doing coaching business despite of having a  very huge number of coaches who could not manage to earn anything out of coaching business. The book provides mentorship to all new coaches who wish to join the field and to succeed without making any mistakes. With its four identifiable sections, the book is able to mold a previously failed and confused coach into a successful individual and thus, it can be regarded as the best coaching guide in the market (Allen & Grodzki, 2005).

The first part of the book which is positioning contains three chapters which go over a rich, short coaching history. This includes the emergency of coaching in 1980s, to its media lows and hypes, and its eventual maturity as a successful and known profession. The section also provides a clear difference between consulting and therapy, and the elements that are important to become an expert coach. This section informs the reader of some of the aspects that contributed to previous failure of coaches and probable remedies that turned around the situation of failure into success. In this regard, the book acts as a motivational tool to the new coaches and those coaches who failed in the past and wish to start all over again. It also guides them not just on how to succeed in this career but also on how to perfect in their coaching skills to become prominent in the coaching business (Allen & Grodzki, 2005).

The second part which is differentiation also contains three chapters. The chapter begins by coaching the reader through four questions structured to define one’s coaching specialty. In this section the reader gets to understand different specializations in the coaching field some of them being life time coach, business coach or executive coach. The section then moves further to assist the reader identify his or her target or client based market. This includes who the coach wishes to assist in his or her coaching practices. It also assists the reader to delineate a business plan based on one’s mission, purpose and vision. Allen and Grodzki (2005), also clarify on the eight top marketing strategies which can assist the leader to draw ideal clients. The book can therefore be regarded to offer a holistic view of business and thus enhancing the success of all those who consider applying its coaching strategy.

The third part which is entrepreneurship contains four chapters. It takes the reader through a reflection regarding the significance of developing a mid-set of an entrepreneur, how to cultivate the reader business façade, how to avoid drawbacks and developing recommendable practices that include budgeting, how to establish revenue streams, service packages and coaching fees. In addition, the authors advise on how to remain legal and safe in the litigious society. This section basically guides the reader on the measures to employ to successful in business and the steps to be avoided to prevent failures. It basically nurtures the entrepreneurship ability of the leader and guides the leader on how to be successful in this line of operation. By practicing good and legal business measure, the entrepreneur gets to avoid a number of litigations that can harm the prosperity of business (Allen & Grodzki, 2005).

The fourth section of the book which is profiling and coaching is described in 7 chapters. The section illustrates the variation between coaching specialties, and providing concrete successful coaches examples. These examples include relationship and creativity coaches, wellness and life coach, career and business coach, as well as leadership and executive coach among others. The book therefore touches on all couching specialties and thus, the book can be useful to anyone who wishes to develop a career in coaching. In addition, the book provide a holistic view of the coaching problem and thus, offering all possible solutions to the coaching problems (Allen & Grodzki, 2005).

The book authors offer realistic and sober review regarding coaching business. They talk about the field potentiality and also regarding hard work needed while beginning an enterprise venture. Allen and Grodzki (2005) offer essential material for assisting new coaches to develop themselves. They uphold a coaching technique masterfully in the entire book offering a number of exercises for readers to establish their own means via the journey of initiating their coaching practice business. The book will therefore serve as a good guidance in molding me into a lifetime coach. By cautioning on ‘do and don’ts’ in coaching, the authors ensures that I do not get to make mistakes that undermined the success of the previous individuals who aspired to be coaches. In addition, the profiling section gives a clear definition of a lifetime coach and the difference between a life time coach and other coaches. It also gives guidance on how to become a successful lifetime coach. Thus, reading and understanding the book will enhance my growth and development as a lifetime coach since it guides me from the first stem of my career to a stage where I will master the coaching skill.

The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth- Century America Book Review

The book gives an essential reevaluation of the evolution, creation and a number of James Monroe’s deployments of 1823 American declaration of foreign policy principles. This book covers extensive ground starting with the independence of American and finalizing with a few reflections on the First World War. However, the author has balanced a thought – infuriating debate of the important problems enclosing the Monroe Doctrine in its different iterations with a forward moving and compelling narrative. Historians have characteristically perceived the Monroe Doctrine history as a series of sudden and marked shift in the utilization and interpretation, though Sexton teases out the factors of consistency masterfully an aspect which makes the history of the doctrine part of evolution instead of an abrupt modification. Sexton points to three processes which are unified central to America in the 19th century, which is illuminated in the Monroe Doctrine. They included The American empire emergence, a new nation forging, and the continuing struggle for independence consolidation from British. The great Sexton’s contribution here lies in the extensive analytical framework in which he examines these processes and the modifying Doctrine via time. There are four themes in this structure stand out as meriting unique consideration. They include the gap between reality and perception in Americans’ foreign threats conceptions, the link between American’s developing empire and anti colonialism, the particular Monroe Doctrine framing by policymakers in the entire 19th century, and the association between international associations and local politics. It is through Sexton exploration of the four themes that he is able to convincingly and successfully show that the Monroe Doctrine as an essential factor of the United States development in the 19th century.

The Monroe Doctrine has a varied and rich history which has been evaluated for a number of varying eras and from a number of different angles by political scientists, and historians among others. There has been a lot of previous work done about the same which would make one wonder whether there is anything new which can be written about the same. However, by making new preferences about perspective and periodization, Sexton gives an impressive and informative Monroe Doctrine account as it developed over American history long sweep. He highlights the foreign and domestic pressures and possibilities in the process which limited assertion of and slowly transformed anticolonial principles into sweeping and confident basis for actions of imperialist. Sexton consideration of the Monroe Doctrine evolution turns as a means to evaluate the interconnected, contentious, and protracted process of imperial expansion, and international consolidation which underlay the emergence of the United States as the finest 20th power global power.

Sexton is not the only historian to demonstrate the significant links between American foreign policies or domestic politics. However, his work is quite unique from the previous work since Sexton filters the Monroe Doctrine history via this leans in a unique way. This can be demonstrated by his treatment of years prior to the issuing of the Doctrine when the public pronouncements regarding the U.S. foreign policy were highly concerned on strengthening and preserving the union as they were with American associations with other nations. He presents farewell address call of George Washington to shun from foreign alliances as stalking from Washington desire to lower the American weakness exposure to a hostile world. Although Sexton could have engaged more into exploring the farewell address long-term effect on American foreign policy conceptions, particularly in cases when it conflicted with Doctrine of Monroe, his analysis is a significant illustration of how debates of foreign policy could be employed to address local concerns in substantive manners.  Instead of limiting his work to the origins of doctrine, and its early effects or the coverage extend to its continuing relevance, Sexton deals with what we may describe as the long 19th century Monroe Doctrine for the 1783 Paris Treaty to the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary. Drawing intensively from the recent scholarship, he starts by grounding the doctrine in a manner that initiates deep thoughts on the newly independent sage in America. According to Sexton, Americans developed bigger, more complex structures, only to experience the subsequent generations or political opponents demolish or even renovate and reconstruct what lay before them.

Despite of a number of credits regarding this book, it also has a number of shortcomings.  There are a number of factual errors in this richly comprehensive narrative. For instance, even the most miserable estimated would not assert that the Trail of Tears caused the death of one-third Cherokees as claimed in page 84. Moreover, there are aspects and incidents which do not get as much attention as the reader could have intended. Although Sexton stressed that the Doctrine of Monroe was not regarded until in 1840s, he could have fully regarded the disavowal and discussion of it for example as mid-1820s pledge. However despite of those few shortcomings, Sexton book is very informative and well researched. It focuses at a political dogma which survived its creator and went on having an impact on the American Diplomacy in the twentieth century.

The Federalist Era By John C. Miller – Book Review

The Federalist Era

In his book, “The Federalist Era”, Miller presents a reasonable summary that reflects one of the most recounted periods of the America’s political history just like it is acknowledged by modern participants. In his book, Miller acknowledges the era between 1789 and 1801 as being the most crucial period that influenced the creation of the long desired new federal government. However, his views do not regard the rigid terms that various earlier writers did. Even though Beard’s highlighting of the battle between commercialism and agrarianism, and Claude G. Bower’s molding of the era in the context of democratic struggle had strong influence, generally, on the accounts of the American nation in the 1790’s. Miller; however, does not regard Beard or Bower’s views even though he gives more consideration to the battle between Hamilton and Jefferson as well as the economic factors.

Miller recognizes that the first annual message by George Washington had a caution to the nation. The message reflected the past, which had been extremely turbulent, and was prophetic for a future that would entirely be a federal era. According to Miller, Washington said Americans will be able to distinguish between “oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority” and also differentiate between “licentiousness” and “the spirit of liberty”. In these words, he warned Americans that the violent, explosive revolution, which defeated the British rule, had given rise to some reckless elements that could be a danger to the freedom and stability of the nation if not curbed in time. He acknowledges that the main problems of the federal era entailed achieving a suitable balance between authority and freedom as well as ensuring that each one of them had clear boundaries. Miller recognizes that acceptable solutions to all people had not been found by the time the period ended. In the same regard, the opposing political and ideological camps proposed methods, concepts and ideas that became firm foundations for future developments. During the federal era and thereafter, the problems were complex and vast to the extent that they influenced and were influenced by all economic and political issues that were embraced in the realm of government administration. Such issues included foreign affairs, political factions, sectionalism, the judiciary, nation-state relationships, finance, and the constitution.

Miller acknowledges these issues by stating that “Union and Liberty” are the most dominant themes found in his books. Miller emphasizes the significance and the role of states especially in the context of advocates of individual rights and the ones who desired a stronger union. He recognizes these issues when he presents a classic illustration of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. During the federal era and thereafter, these states were reactive to most of the highlighted issues and with peculiar sensitivity; they developed significant measures, which the national government found necessary to consider adopting. The reactions were both economic and political. In this book, the themes “Union and Liberty” have a political orientation. This is because political subjects were the main motif of the federal era. This is to mean that any time economic issues were brought to the table; they were discussed in the political context. It is worth considering, also, that the most interesting aspect of this entail the contest that ensued between Jefferson and Hamilton and the sympathies that are much placed on Hamilton’s side.

After the Revolution : Profiles of Early American Culture – Book Review

The author writes primarily of the American Revolution period. The book, originally published in 1979, is a study of four colonial artists namely; the painter, novelist, dramatist and the educator. The book offers anincredible look at the colonial life and makes it clear that the New World was a new invention and not a new Europe or any other thing. America is simply itself and is still becoming that. The book is easy to read and is a perfect choice for a textbook.

The biographies of the artists contain an impressive balance of chronology, analysis and trivia. In a natural way, they all tie into the author’s thesis and theme which is centered on the conflicts between American art and democracy. The book was written close to three decades prior to most of Ellie’s best-selling and lauded scholarships. As such, the introductory parts of the book including the preface were unreadable and Part I of the book was not any better. The second part of the book was good and displayed a glimpse of the author’s future writing style. The bibliographies not only document why culture floundered in the early American history bit also provide a detailed look at the Americans, their revolutionary principles and in particular republicanism and the politics of the land. The ending of the book looks at Emerson briefly whom the author believes was the founding father of America.

Ellis, further makes two primary points and makes the book repetitive by arguing these points from the introduction chapter to the four profile chapters of Noah Webster, Charles Willson Peale, William Dunlap and Hugh Henry Brackenridge. The onset of the argument by the author is that there was a general feeling of cultural potential during the early periods and when the republic was young albeit no tangible evidence of any cultural flourishing.The belief by the author is that the culture was based on the general feelings thrived by the artists along with commerce in an atmosphere characterized by freedom. “Artistic creativity and economic productivity were expected to flourish together in the free and stimulating conditions of the American marketplace.”

A keen reader and literature enthusiast would identify the failure of the said flourishing. The author argues that, “Here was the crucial point at which so many Americans of the Revolutionary generation had gone wrong. They had failed to recognize the inherent antagonism between the bourgeois values of the marketplace and the sensibilities essential to the life of artists and intellectuals. By leaping into the marketplace, they had in effect, and quite unknowingly, committed cultural suicide.” The author also writes of Peale that it was easy for him, “let his political convictions overwhelm his esthetic judgment.”

I am of the opinion that it is part of the truth. For instance, I do not feel that this was the reason Brockden’s novel was a failure (it is interesting that Ellis does not include Brockden). The reasons are more complicated though Ellis is right about it being one of the maincauses for the failure of the arts to flourish during the periods of early American history.

The literature is well researched and well written, but one would feel that it is incomplete. The short biographies tell the grand story well but the author falls short by failing to wrap up the volume with an examination of both the common and uncommon characteristics of the four detailed personalities.

The superb command of the English language by Ellis is nearly as present in the book as it is in his other publications. However, based on the methodology used and writing style employed, I felt at times that I was missing some vital information from the life stories that were responsible for shaping the ideas of the four individuals in the study. What is more, it was impossible to get the intricate details of any of the individual’s life in the volumes. The volumes used the four individuals as supporting evidence for a grander narrative and getting into details would bore the reader or result into Ellis straying far from the primary subject matter.

I liked the book and found it to be interesting. The author had a simple thesis and a well-written documentation in the cultural ideas of the immediate post-American revolutionary period. However, as aforementioned, the research was incomplete and a reader would be left yearning for more information about the artists. Ellis would have refined his ability to synthesize information and accurately describing figures and characters of the given age to ensure complete and in-depth information is documented. Such a move would make the book much more successful and appealing to readers.

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Book Review – The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

Review:  “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution”

In the preamble of “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” indicates that he felt marked excitement and viewed himself as a discoverer at Harvard University. At the university, he explored the revolutionary America’s ideological premises. He indicates that is keen on bequeathing those who read the book the excitement. Bernard Bailyn disapproves the understanding that the American Revolution was essentially a struggle of competing social classes. Those who held the understanding as spot on promoted in their public, as well as private writings. Bailyn demonstrates that the fear the expressed that given conspiracies, corruption, and slavery threatened sweeping libertarianism was authentic. In the book, Bailyn explores the countrywide debate on the constitution’s ratification. He shows that there has always been a struggle between the national government’s foundations on one hand and the revolution’s original persuasions and principles on the other. He demonstrates that the USA’s national ideological sources have remained persistent to date.

Bailyn writes that the revolution’s leaders were all radicals. He writes that the leaders’ principal concern was not to end income or class-related inequalities. They were not keen on remaking the then extant social order. Rather, the leaders were keen on purifying the constitution, which they deemed corrupt. As well, they were keen on fighting off the perceptible development of privileged power. According to Bailyn, the leaders desired to repair a constitutional system that they deemed broken. They desired to repair the then prevailing social thoughts, especially Enlightenment and English conservatism. They were out to ensure that the thoughts refrained from retrospective understandings of medieval Roman civilization in favor of forward-focused perceptions of the people inhabiting the New World.

Bailyn appraises the diverse origins of the conflicting notions about the leaders. He reflects on how the constitution’s framers resolved such notions, especially by inventing the federalism doctrine. He puts efforts in examining the thoughts of those who executed the revolution. “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” is hinged on the analyses and surveys of many political publications, especially pamphlets. The publications were published a few years prior to the revolution. The book benefited also markedly from several other momentous scholarship works like the treatise penned by Caroline Robbins about the traditions that define Commonwealth. In his book, Bailyn succeeds in establishing the meanings that revolutionaries drew from terms such as republicanism, liberty as well as power. In the book, the author appears to easily strip away the outdated accretions characterizing the terms and related ideas. In addition, he appears to recover the revolutionaries’ actual thoughts along with the real thoughts of the revolutionaries’ rivals or opponents.

For students of the revolution, the book certainly comes off as a highly influential treatise. It offers insights into the early pamphlets on the revolution. Interestingly, Bailyn demonstrates that, generally, all the pamphlets had many similarities: invocation of particular figures like John Wilkes, language, and the attendant arguments. Bailyn credibly demonstrates that the pamphlets’ contents aimed at giving pointers to the social thoughts that defined the English colonies in North America.[1] In “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution”, the author profoundly, as well as considerably, changes the direction and character of the typical inquiries on the revolution. As well, he erects a novel framework for the interpretation of a lengthy component of the US’ history. In all the areas explored by the book, Bailyn transforms what history students along with scholars priory thought regarding the colonies, and the revolution.

Bailyn uncovers a range of notions that colored the lives of the revolutionaries. Prior to the publication of the book, it is quite probable that the majority of the present historians did not know that the notions, or ideas, existed. Bailyn projects the ideas as radical, especially with respect to liberty and power. He projects the ideas as profoundly informed and fueled by conspiracy-related fears. As well, he amply and persuasively explains that the ideas triggered and sustained the revolution from the 1760s.

Through the book, Bailyn’s attainment is assorted. He succeeds in demonstrating that the leading scholarly influence on the revolution’s executors was a set of various classical models. The models included Enlightenment, British political and intellectual dissent traditions, common law tradition along with the covenant theology. The dissent defined the 17th century’s commonwealth arrangement. The models’ lenses were particularly essential and bound related multiple interpretative lens and traditions. Through the other foreign, or received, ideas were appraised. Bailyn convincingly demonstrates the ideas’ articulation particularly within America. He convincingly demonstrates how the ideas inevitably occasioned conflicts with the then Britain’s growing imperial authority. The book is a vitally acclaimed treatise. The author comes off as fueled by odd courage in his efforts to appreciate the revolutionaries as they appreciated themselves.

The book is a classic in which Bailyn giftedly explores the revolutionaries’ ideological persuasions and backgrounds. He brilliantly demonstrates that the revolutionaries were inclined towards opposition republican, as well as libertarian, English literature. He brilliantly overturns classical interpretations that project Locke as the elementary influence by showing the critical significance of individuals like Algernon Sidney, Lord Bolingbroke along with Thomas Gordon. Even then, the author acknowledges the significance, as well as centrality, of the natural rights principles and philosophy associated with Locke. He views the elementary philosophy underlying the revolution as having been a philosophy that perceives power as the persistent adversary of human freedom, or liberty.

Bailyn convinces his audiences that power ought to be restrained and watched keenly to ensure that it persists within its set limits rather than ending liberty and facilitating slavery. As opposed to numerous other historians, Bailyn asserts that the constitution does not repudiate the revolution. He asserts that the constitution is the revolution’s fulfillment, or realization. Notably, that assertion attracts significant skepticism although it appears to be hinged on sound scholarship. The reasoning behind the assertion is challenging as well as suggestive.

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Comparative Book Review : Carl Ernst and Mona Siddiqui – Islam


Essay (Comparative Book Review: Carl Ernst’s and Mona Siddiqui’s book)

Within this review you should outline the general subject of  Carl Ernst’s and Mona Siddiqui’s books. Summarize what the authors are saying on the subject and why. Express your thoughts on these book and try to grapple with the reason why the authors have written these book. What was the most interesting thing you learned about the book’s subject? Did the authors hold your interest? Do you agree or disagree with their thesis point? Compare a few similar themes between both books
Your first assignment should consist of a comparative analysis of the two texts. Students should have read both texts in depth and engaged the contents of the readings with the materials presented in course lectures. You must compare the books to each other simultaneously throughout your entire essay. Do not summarize one book, summarize the other book then try to conclude or compare the two texts at the end of your assignment. Engage both texts simultaneously throughout. Compare and contrast 3-4 themes that are discussed in both books. Explore how the author’s approaches are similar or different from one another on the same subject. Do not forget to relate what you are discussing in your essay back to our coursework and class discussions.


This is an university religion class- introduction to Islam

This essay must be a minimum of 2,000 words and a maximum of 2,500. The following two books are related reading material.
1.Ernst, C., Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World
2.Siddiqui, M., How to Read the Qur’an (London: Norton & Company, 2008)

Book Review – This War is for a Whole Life

Paper instructions:

There is a typed, 12 font, double-spaced, 3rd person book review of This War is for a Whole Life,
utilizing the following form:

  1. A brief summary of the book.
  2. Discuss and analyze the content of each chapter in the order that they appear in the
  3. Overall analysis of the major historical events discussed in the book.


Sample Paper

Book Review: “This War Is For a Whole Life”


Presently, there are many publications exploring the difficulties that have defined the lives of indigenous Americans especially from the 19th century. The publications include Walter Hixson’s “American Settler Colonialism: A History” and Richard Hanks’ “This War Is for a Whole Life: The Culture of Resistance among Southern California Indians, 1850-1966.” The latter covers the struggles that American Indians have undergone from mid-19th century to date. The struggles include the American Indians’ clashes with the American government. Richard Hanks explores the reasons why American Indians continue to fight for cultural integrity, land, sovereignty, and civil rights from the time when Europeans moved into their lands to date. The fight characterizes what Hanks presents as Pan-Indian activism.

“This War Is for a Whole Life” presents the controversies between American Indians and those who came in to occupy their lands as stemming from the setting aside of foreign and tribal land trust protections. The book shows that efforts geared towards the assimilation of American Indians into the mainstream society over the years have been hampered by controversies. Most of the controversies take legal dimensions. The author focuses on the mainstreaming of the American Indian population that moved to California. The population was embraced, as well as accepted, by the dominant community that had already occupied the area. The mainstreaming of the American Indian population in California was characterized by various challenges, owing to its special culture.

Chapter Analysis

The first chapter in “This War Is for a Whole Life” explores the reforms forced by activists following the enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act. The chapter zeroes in on the act’s introduction, as well as implementation, particularly in relation to the survival of American Indians in the southern areas of California. It sheds ample light on the political, as well as tribal, conflicts in the areas. When one goes through the chapter, he or she appreciates the 1950s’ termination program that defined the lives of the Indians. Notably, the program was tied closely to the Indian Bureau’s manipulation, which made the Indians distrust government functionaries and agencies.

From the chapter, it is obvious that the act’s introduction, as well as implementation, bequeathed various benefits on individuals living within Californian reservations. Communism and socialism were allowed into the American Indian country, persuading marked criticism relating to IRA. The chapter demonstrates how the difficulties christened the Indian problem were eliminated from mainstream political discourses in the 1930s and the 1940s on purpose. Discussions on the problem left the national scene rather fast as American authorities increased its focus on how to lift the country from the then ongoing depression and the Second World War.

The second chapter presents a critical appraisal of the period when there were many calls for termination to happen and the corresponding activist reforms. The entry of America into the war saw increased political agitation for the scrapping off the Indian Bureau. The bureau was charged with promoting governance and harmony within the areas dominated by American Indians. The chapter makes it rather clear that the government moved the mandate of the bureau’s office to allow for proper coordination of the war’s operations. The office was moved to Chicago. Besides, the office was moved to decimate the influence that the American Indians were developing especially within California.

American Indians were keen on fighting the discriminatory policies and practices directed against them by the federal, local, as well as state American governments. Those in support of the termination were keen on eliminating the trust land protections enjoyed by the Indians. The chapter covers the efforts made by the Indians in persuading the governments to preserve the protections comprehensively.

The third chapter covers the period in which the contestations regarding the termination issue escalated markedly. Indian activists were facing more and more rejection whenever they engaged the Congress. The chapter presents ample information on how mission Indians, Indian spokesmen, and other stakeholders in the termination debate engaged in activism. Those who held anti-termination sentiments were rather loud in making their arguments against the process of termination and loosing of Indian lands. The process was colored by hypocritical actions. Mission Indians were allowed to elect their representatives. The representatives were to be incorporated into government structures charged with executing the process. From the chapter, it is rather clear that the governments and those championing Indian interests were pursuing conflicting agendas discreetly.

From the chapter, it is evident that the interests’ champions were keen on explaining to the non-Indian populations the problems that were bedeviling the Indians, often in vain. Their positions received limited publicity, reducing their leverage on the direction taken by the process. Even then, in mid-1953, the Indian reservations with California were terminated on the strength of a resolution of the Congress.

The fourth chapter examines closely how the law christened Public Law 280 and the corresponding congressional resolution facilitated the doing away with the reservations. On the other hand, the chapter examines how Indians fought the doing away with the reservations. The Indians and their sympathizers put marked efforts into trying to save their hold on tribal lands. Indian activists argued that the doing away with the reservations would have destroyed the lives of their tribesmen especially in the southern areas of California. The chapter makes it obvious that the activists engaged in multiple negotiations with the governments to persuade them to go slow on the process.

The last chapter in “This War Is for a Whole Life” leads readers in reflecting on the responsibilities of the governments in supporting American Indians’ wellbeing, especially after the termination of the protections. When the resolution came into effect, the Californian state government took up the role of addressing the Indian problem. The government put in place critical mechanisms for making certain that settler and native communities lived harmoniously especially in the southern areas of the state. The government put in place programs aimed at addressing the adverse outcomes of the process. Public resources were committed to the facilitation and championing of communism and related social demands in the areas. Notably, the chapter makes it clear that the mission Indians remained unrelenting in opposing the process all through. Ultimately, they stopped it.

General Analysis of the Key Historical Events in the Book

As demonstrated earlier, “This War Is for a Whole Life” covers diverse, significant historical events. The events relate to the troubles faced by American Indians especially in the southern areas of California from mid-19th century to date. When reading the book, one gets the feeling that he or she is listening to accounts of the troubles from elderly Indians. Notably, Hanks relied a lot on elderly American Indians in building own appreciation of the troubles and the events that gave rise to the troubles.

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