Tag: Book Review

The Virtue of Nationalism – Book Review

A Review of Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism

The Virtue of Nationalism by Yoram Hazony advocates for national freedom as opposed to imperialism. Hazony seeks to show how the Bible sets the vision for a world of independent nations. The overall thesis of the book is that the world is governed best when nations are able to freely determine their own independent course, nurture their own traditions, and pursue their own interest without external interferences. According to Hazony, the new liberalism is imperialistic and has started restricting the basic freedoms of many nations. Contrastingly, nationalism entails the collective freedom to make choice and free-determination by a nation. Bottom line, Hazony advocates for nationalism explaining that it seeks to establish a world of truly free and independent nations.

Hazony divides the book into three parts: Nationalism and Western Freedom, The Case for the National State, and Anti-Nationalism and Hate. In part one – Nationalism and Western Freedom, the book lays out an argument asserting a biblical origin for nationalism in ancient Israel. According to Hazony, in an age of empires aspiring for universality (Persia, Rome, Babylon, and Egypt), Israel stood alone as a nation expressly forbidden by God to take other peoples’ lands but instead remain within its own borders. Hazony further elaborates that the biblical nationalism did not sit well with Roman Christianity came back with Protestantism in the Westphalia settlement (Hazony, 2018). Regarding the Biblical reference of the concept of nationalism by a state, Hazony is right. In Deuteronomy 2:4-19, God explicitly tells the Israelites not to expand their territory into that of neighboring nations. Moreover, Israel’s prophets frequently voiced their concern regarding the activities of the imperialistic empires such as Assyria, Persia, Babylon, and Egypt.

The second part – The Case for the National State, presents two interesting arguments. The first one is that nation-state is plausible historical compromise between tribal society and the global imperium. Given the two extremes, the nation-state stands out as the only political organization that best meets the competing human desires for freedom and belonging, and peace based on rule of law. The second argument postulates that variety among the social systems established in different nations serve as a global experiment that enable people to assess the strengths and weaknesses inherent in in them. Basing his argument on evolutionary theory and chaos theory, Hazony hypothesize that optimum outcomes are best achieved when there are competing alternatives. The argument is against the uniformity advocated by internationalism, which beneath the surface breeds rebellion (Hazony, 2018). Whereas this argument is to a degree plausible, it is not entirely correct. Nationalism is a compromise between the two extremes and is well-suited to satisfy the competing human desire for belongingness, freedom and peace. Nationalism provides nations freedom of self-determination, as a result, addressing the said needs (Baumann, 2020). Nationalism facilitates democracy and answers the wish of the sovereign people. However, the claim that optimum political outcomes will be achieved when there competing alternatives is questionable. Nations, especially in today’s outstandingly interconnected world, need to maintain diplomatic relations. Availability of alternative forms of governments all over the world established due to the freedom of nations to become self-determining is most likely to compromise the peace stemming from the diplomatic relationships (Statkus, 2019).

In the third part – Anti-Nationalism and Hate, Hazony argues that liberal internationalism is not straightforward positive agenda since beneath the surface it is an imperialist ideology that promulgates anti-nationalism hate. Hazony further elucidates that globalists are aggressively intolerant of cultural particularism and, as such, promotes hate and mistreatment of minorities. According to Hazony, nation-states are better suited to protect individual rights, especially minorities (Hazony, 2018). Whereas it is true that nations are well suited to protect the interests and rights of minorities, the statement regarding globalists promoting hate and mistreatment of minorities is arguable. Ateeque (2018), contradicts the argument that nation-states are well-placed to protect minorities citing evidence from nations that have refused to embrace universalism. Ateeque explains that research show that these nations have comparably less tolerance for divergent worldviews and, therefore, are more likely to mistreat minorities. Furthermore, the existence of international human rights which is a direct result of internationalism renders Hazony’s claim questionable (Ware, 2019).

Personal Opinion

            The model proposed by Hazony has both strengths and weaknesses. On the upside, nationalism is likely to promote freedom of nations to be self-determining. Additionally, nationalism will help preserve nations’ unique cultural heritage and allow them to base their laws and policies on their culture. Moreover, considering that the wars of the 20th century were a product of empires, free and independent nations are unlikely to take the same route. War between such minimal entities is likely to limited, local, and arguably easily mediated by neighboring countries.

            On the downside, there are troubling ethical aspects of Hazony’s proposed model. The idea of non-interference in the affairs of other nations poses a threat to fundamental human rights. Even in the 21st century the world has seen horrors inflicted to innocent populations due to internal wars within nations. For instance, internal clashes in the Middle East have seen many innocent people lose their lives and the life of many others destroyed. In such instances, it is only right that other nations interfere to prevent further deterioration. Hazony also fails to explain whether in his proposed model there is any room for global infrastructure.            

To sum up, The Virtue of Nationalism is a thought provoking book with laudable premise and attractive proposition. It is fertile with ideas and significantly contributes to the debate regarding how well to establish a just order, one that benefits people from all political perspectives. Although the book is not entirely persuasive it has several plausible arguments and sets up the stage for further debate on the issue.

Bringing Out the Best in People – Book Review

In a modern working environment, performance management needs to be updated regularly to meet the organizational standards. When an employer is eager to learn about gaining maximum performance from their employees, “Bringing Out the Best in People” by renowned psychologist Aubrey Daniels is the best source to consult. Daniels’s ability to utilize scientifically centered behavioral stimuli to the work setting and make it fun simultaneously makes this book a great resource for evaluation and analysis. In “Bringing out the best from people,” Daniels explains that reinforcement’s power and simplicity are the keys to maximum performance in an organization.

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            The book is a great resource based on its significant strengths. The book’s first strength is that Aubrey Daniels uses the Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence (ABC) theory to form the foundation of his transformation management theory. According to Daniels, positive reinforcement encompasses individual consequences after the portrayal of the intended behavior. To succeed in behavior transformation, Daniels (2016) notes that “we need to predefine the expected behavior we want to promote in our company and the outcomes of showing such behaviors.”

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            The reliance on ABC theory to define organizational behavior change management works to its advantage. It makes a person find himself in a scenario that requires immediate action – the antecedent. After that, Daniels elaborates how an employee can have the potential to select how to react to the problem at hand – to show behavior, as ABC theory puts it, that the behavior that will be portrayed is depended on the anticipated outcome at an individual level commonly referred to as the consequences of our actions. Daniels continues by writing, “these consequences can either be positive and worth to be rewarded or negative and the consequences that a person chooses today will significantly affect the same circumstances soon.” According to ABC theory, three fundamental elements determine behavior. The first factor is that it is a matter of concern for people to assess whether the consequence is negative or positive. The second factor is that it matters for everyone to determine whether the result is certain or uncertain and whether an individual will face the consequences with delay or directly.  Daniels suggests that to change behavior, employers should target positive consequences that are certain to occur, and with no delays. In other terms, Daniels is encouraging us always to reinforce a positive desired behavior immediately it manifests.

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            The only limitation I noticed with Daniels’s book is that he does not give the practical framework that employers can use to train their labor force short of positive consequences effectively. Behavior is an imperative factor in delivering and designing performance mechanisms in organizations. Running through the practice exercise and ABC theory proposed by Daniels may sway the workers’ attention. Therefore, a concise training model ought to have been discussed in the book to guide the HR departments in identifying the company’s positive behaviors.

            However, the “Bringing out the Best in People” has accomplished its primary objective of presenting an interactive model that employers can adopt to modify their workers’ performance. Daniels succeeds in advocating for the book’s aim by demonstrating four types of consequences that can be applied to learn or unlearn behavior. These four consequences are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and penalty. Positive behavior implies that a worker who exhibits the desired behavior in a company is rewarded with something valuable. On the other hand, negative reinforcement means that an employee displays the desired behavior as they want to alienate from particular consequences. As per Daniels, undesired punishment behavior is discouraged by giving that person something they do not wish to have. Moreover, Daniels adds that a penalty is given to employees who want to unlearn some behaviors by taking something valuable from them that they would not wish to lose. To effectively ensure that his objective is attained, Daniels stresses that the primary aspect of motivating people to transform their character is far the most critical since it is the only strategy that can encourage people to portray the wanted behavior permanently.

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            There is no element of biasness in the book. It only focuses on defining the desired behavior and the one that should be reinforced in an organization to earn maximum performance from employees. The book’s main focus was to create the link between individual behaviors and organizational goals on the highest level. Therefore, Daniels’ goals were to link the firm’s KPI and behavioral indicators’ vision and objectives on a personal level. And since the author accomplished his dream, it means there is no bias.            

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“Bringing out the Best in People” is complete as it has no salient information missing. The book defines standard work and documents what people can do to advance their behaviors, especially for indirect purposes. This approach helps the book to eradicate challenges encountered when determining someone’s performance. The book covers behavior management to achieve maximum performance. The book’s tone is that showing great performance due to behavior transformation. Unusual behavior is the recipe for achieving maximum performance. According to Daniels (2016), misbehaving should not get any feedback from managers and colleagues. Eventually, that individual will stop showing that behavior. However, every time a person shows good behavior, he should be granted positive reinforcement through verbal compliments and implementation. Therefore, the book elaborates behavior change management models and performance improvement criteria to the fullest. The current context of the issue is that organizational performance is becoming a public problem. Many firms want to get a competitive advantage, and the only way is by being unique in the industry. Daniels recommends that organizations adopt the ABC theory to direct individual pat as the most appropriate way to reinforce the new behavior.

Think Decide Act Management – Book Review

Think. Decide. Act. Management by Neck, Lattimer and Houghton is a management book that integrates theoretical and practical methods in the delivery of the management discourse. The authors employ an unusual pedagogy in delivering the content to the reader. Through an emphasis on critical thinking, case studies and practical examples, the authors are able to delve into various aspects of management.

The Core Premise and Concepts from the Book

The authors recognize that the organization in the in the 21st century faces many challenges related to uncertain economic conditions and increased competition. In that view, the authors’ main ideas and conceptions center on the strategies for success amidst such challenges. As a result, the authors emphasize the need for critical analysis and specific managerial attributes for a successful manager in the 21st century. In highlighting those attributes, the authors adopt both practical and theoretical pedagogy in the delivery of knowledge for the learners.

            Many management books have always adopted a theoretical pedagogy in delivering information to its readers. However, through a mix of real life cases, examples of how firms have successfully dealt with real life situations, the authors are able to offer a comprehensive and more practical approach.  For example, the authors gave an example of how Yvon Chounard the CEO of Patagonia has successfully driven the organization through difficult economic times with great success (Neck, Lattimer, & Houghton 8). In the case the authors offers how the CEO has been able to incorporate critical thinking with appropriate managerial behavior in guiding the company towards sustained economic growth.

In addition, the authors offer wide range of strategies that manager have adopted to meet their organizational goals. The authors give a number of examples highlighting the managerial behaviors during various challenges. The specific attributes that involve critical thinking are highlighted in each case. Through this, the authors aim to point the need and importance of critical thinking skills among the managers at various organizational levels.

Finally, the authors provide detailed discussion of the evolution in management and roles of managers in modern organization. The authors integrate the two concepts in a comprehensive way, completing each chapter with questions for critical thinking regarding the content learned in the book. The content in the book are arranged such that the information in the preceding chapter provides an insightful knowledge to be expanding in the chapter that follows. Besides introduction of new elements in the subsequent chapters, the information is tied with what has been learned in the previous chapter to provide a powerful and invaluable knowledge for learners.

How the Core Concepts in the Book tie into what has been Learned in the Class

            The core concept of role of managers in leading organization links well to what was learned in class about the roles of manager in organizations. Moreover, the book provides an in depth analysis of management theories such as positive psychology and systems thinking which are important concepts for any organizational manager. The overall information in the book emphasize on the role of managers, the qualities that such managers must possess in order to succeed in modern organizational environment as covered in class. The book further details the steps that managers must follow in order to solve any challenge that they face within their organization. Important role of managers such as in leading, managing change and planning and organizing as taught in class are well outlined and discussed in the text.

The Three Most Important Ideas You Personally Learned From the Reading

            The three most important ideas learned from the reading are the specific behaviors of managers, role of critical thinking in management and the skills required of a manager. The book created an understanding of the importance of critical thinking skills in management. According to the book, critical strategic thinking skills have been ranked as the most important attributes that any manager must possess.  These skills are important in shaping my career into becoming a competent manager in future. Through critical thinking skills, I will be able to examine challenges in my future career and make better informed decisions.

            The book also discussed the various roles of a manger, for example, leading, controlling and planning. These ideas are invaluable are important as they introduce me into my future responsibilities in my career. These ideas will be employed in my future career in outlining, providing direction and controlling the decisions that will be made as a manager. Moreover, the technical, relational and conceptual skills will be employed in my career, in performance of duties such as leading operations and solving complex problems.

Overall Assessment and Rating of the Book

The book is comprehensive and detailed, providing invaluable information to learners and even experts in management. On overall, I can rate the book on 4.7/5. The organization of the content and the mix between theory and real life examples provides a unique approach towards learning in management, making the book an excellent companion for management studies. Besides providing a detailed analysis of its content, the book is exciting to read, making it easy to conceptualize its content.

This War is for a Whole Life – The Culture of Resistance among Southern California Indians, 1850-1966 – Book Review

A Brief Summary of the Book

            The book highlights the controversy that touched on the freedom of the American-Indian occurred because of the cold war involving the two races (Hanks, 2006). The main concern was the termination of the foreign land and values trust protections. The actual main concern was based on the idea of the ‘no middle ground is tenable’. The legal and contact procedures ought to be the limelight more so on the work possibilities and political temperatures that would result in tension between the Americans and Indians. The major element of unity was acceptance to work with the Indians and equality among the people. In addition, the risks and dangers that touched on the issues of the assimilation of the Indians to a civilized group created many tensions.

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            Furthermore, the book asserts that the most dominant and civilized group had to embrace and accept the proliferation of the Indians into California, South of America. The book points the difficulty of the acceptance of the Indians due to the difference in the culture and general ways of life between the two groups. An excellent example was the Pratt’s motto that asserted ‘kill the Indian, save the man’, that was discouraging and charming, becoming a part of the Indian federal policy. The following are the discussions and analysis the book chapters, as they appear in the book.

Chapter One

            The chapter discusses the reforms of activism as a vital response regarding the Indian reorganization act. The chapter gives an analysis regarding the introduction as well as the implementation of the reorganization act. Furthermore, the chapter discusses how the Indians could survive in California under the act. It also gives an overview of the conflicts in the Southern California Indian country, which resulted from the political and tribal bands. The chapter is very important in creating the understanding of the reader about the whole process of political termination in 1950s. The manipulation that took place in the Indian office gave rise to the government distrust especially in the government agency.

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            The benefits of the Indian reorganization act had an equal impact on the on and off individuals, who were on the reservations in the country. Similarly, when the communism and socialism was allowed within the Indian country, it led to widespread criticism towards the IRA, making it political thus prompting high impacts. Between 1930s and 1940s as the American focused more on ending depression and the beginning of the Second World War, the problem of the Indians went towards the periphery.

Chapter Two

            The chapter of the book gives an analysis of the termination period that was taken as a potential and viable alternative after the new reforms that came courtesy of the activism. In addition, the chapter also focused on the entry into the Second World War as pointed in the previous chapter. The chapter indicates that the Second World War fueled political temperatures and led to the elimination of the Indian bureau. The effect was the likely creation of the division of the governance, harmonious relationships and unity that the bureau that would bring among the Indian-American country. As a way of enhancing the objective, the American government transferred the Indian office of home affairs to the Chicago to pave way for the Second World War operations. Furthermore, that had an added objective of reducing the significance of the well-being of Indian-American towards the periphery.

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            Moreover, the Indians continued to exercise the fight against the discriminatory practices that were championed and facilitated by the federal, local and state governments in the United States. They also fought the steps that were taken by the pro-terminationists in eliminating the protection within the federal government and disbanding of the BIA.  Besides, the chapter gives an explanation on the changes that were experienced and occurred which the mission Indians pursued into looking that the federal government fully dealt with the issues.

Chapter Three

            In chapter three, there is an intensified termination, while the mission of Indian activism receives higher rejection at home and in the congress. The main issue is whether the policy could get full support from the compact majorities and its applicability. The chapter gives a detailed analysis of the impact that activism could bring on the grass roots, judging from the mission of the Indian community. Besides, the chapter also analyses the potentials of activism based on the pro-termination groups, the spokespersons and the anti-termination groups, which were formed to control the termination process and the loose tribal lands.

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            In addition, the higher degrees of hypocrisy placed the termination process under siege. This prevented the mission Indians from exercising free and fair election of their representatives, who would aid in the process of termination. The events create a contrast with the concepts of freedom and emancipation as alluded by the BIA commissioner (Myer) and congress representatives. The scenes are a revelation of Myer’s pretense on the dynamic way of operations as adopted by the congress representatives.

            Finally, the chapter highlights the efforts by the Mission Indians in using all means in order to shade some light on their problems to the non-Indian population. In contrast, their efforts did not receive public scrutiny and made it hard to compromise the termination process. However, the congress passed a resolution in 1953s, which ordered the termination of the California-Indian reservations. Besides, upon the termination act, the eliminations of the Indian law resurfaced when the public law 280 was formalized.

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Chapter Four

            The chapter provides an analysis of the public law as stated in the previous chapter of the book. In addition, the chapter provides an analysis on how the house concurrent resolution 180 facilitated the elimination of the reservations of the Indian-Americans in California. The main arguments in the chapter relate much on the explanations of the ways in which the spokespersons and community groups facilitated the barring of the termination process.

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            The tireless efforts of the community groups and spokespersons were evident as the mission Indians thrived in their push for the tribal land. The community spokespersons showed their disagreement with the conclusion of the congress regarding the termination process, since they believed that it could destroy and strongly affect the well-being of Indian-Americans, who lived in the southern California.   As a result, they employed all forms of communications in order to convince the government regarding the consequences and impacts that could result from their conclusions on the termination process.

Chapter Five

            In chapter five, the fight against the termination process continues and the major problem was the next move after all the events highlighted in the preceding chapters. This chapter elaborates the role of the federal and fiscal governments in dispensation of power and in maintaining the well-being of the state. In fact, after a compromise between the mission Indians in Southern California and their allies concerning the termination process, the state government intervened. In fact, when the house passed the concurrent resolution 108, the state of California was fully in charge of the Indian problem. It dug deeper on the pertinent ways ensuring the prevalence of peace and unity among the white settlers and Indians of the Southern California.  Based on the outcomes of the termination process, the state of California was presented with a chance to assess, synchronize and evaluate the impacts of the process within the Southern Californian state. In 1953, the termination process led to development of a summit hearing where the south and north California convened to discuss the matter.

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            The ramifications of the termination process were the likely loss of the federal protection and money that would champion and facilitate the well-being of the societal demands and communism. The federal government delayed the termination process based on the fundamentals of doubts it had over the process. Therefore, the anti-termination groups prevailed in ensuring the process scuttled. In order to ensure the success of their move, they opposed and barred the government from implementing the house concurrent resolution 108. The house concurrent resolution 108 was meant to speed up the termination process. In the end, the mission Indians were successful in their efforts to stop the termination process.

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Overall Analysis of the Major Historical Events Discussed In the Book

The book gives a critical and in-depth analysis of the plight of mission Indians in Southern California. The chapters offer a systematic analysis of the way the problem of the Mission Indians escalated from a community problem to a Californian problem. When the problem became part of the state, it warranted an intervention for the well-being of the whole population regardless of the race or tribe. The success of the termination process restored a sense of unity for the Californian state, which was in a mess. Besides, the unity of the people was instrumental in pushing for the end of discriminatory practices that were prevalent in the state.

The Complexity of Connection: Writings from the Stone Center’s Jean Baker Miller Training Institute – Book Review

Relationships as Developmental Achievements

In this book the three scholars deepen and expand the centre’s psychology connectivity theory that is the core for human development and growth. In this extensive and integrative volume the three scholars present a practical examination and philosophy of both connectivity and disconnection at the individual as well as societal levels. Basically, thirteen chapters comprised in this text cover issues relating to sexual orientation, ethnicity and experience of the race and gender relationships by examining various ways in which people can come together irrespective of their differences or disagreements.

Nonetheless, besides philosophical theory, the book presents a material that is practical by discussing the implications of psychotherapy theory that summarizes human development and how an individual ethically interacts with others as a functional person. Historically, the kinds of projects that the centre has supported are wide and concern a varying human behavior, such as African partner violence, development of connections, harassment and bullying, empowering vulnerable children, early childhood studies, gender and teacher studies, men and women’s selfesteem, recovery from sexual harassment among many others. Mutual collaboration between the Stone Center’s Jean Baker Miller Training Institute and Centre for Research on Women has facilitated the inter-disciplinary research, training and release of various publications that have in overall helped to shape the world. The book explores fundamental and deep issues embracing the vision of advanced knowledge for working and survival. Marilyn Newman in her review noted the book’s impressive ability to influence the leader in a considerable manner due to its compassionate, accurate and multifaceted understanding of what heals and detours human relationships.

In chapter one, toward competence and connection, the desire and pursuance of connection considering the Stone Centre model are presented as the keys factors in human life while the element of isolation and chronic disconnection is taken as the most common source of human sufferings (p.11). Despite human inability to authentically represent in a relationship, one must detach falsification from suppression of authentic responses, while at the same time accepting the fact that we cannot impact relationships of other people where we have interests. The theme explored in this text is that of individual’s competence, need to connect, be creative in the modern world that values individual’s goals and competition that results to conflict of primarily relational individuals. Nonetheless, the book brings out the sense of immobilization, isolation, relational incompetence and self-esteem.

In this book, the authors connect the dominance of competence with masculinity (pp. 13- 14). However, both relational and instrumental competence portray the ability to bring a difference in the relationship or cause a difference of all individuals in a relationship. Moreover, such a capacity does not necessarily refer to influencing other people, but instead considers mutual influence. This follows a statement given by Jean Baker Miller, who stated that for an individual to grow in a relationship, both individuals must grow. As such, the authors feel that it is being in touch with both our feelings and own hearts, that we can touch other people’s hearts and help them grow.

In chapter two, Relational Resilience, one of the authors, Judith Jordan, says that life subjects all humanity to suffering and tension, and that individuals, as well as relationships, are circumvented by forces that cause pain and threat to dissolutions while, at the same time, causing pain, thus the need for transformation or relational resilience. On page 28 the author indicates that people’s inability to shift from disconnection to connection could result to isolation and immobilization that might turn into a prison. Judith goes further and discusses the traditional perception of resilience proposing that traumas experienced in life can lead to the burning desire to help others. The author goes on stating that helping others alleviates isolation and private pain from humans. Nonetheless, the author stresses that nobody would choose to undergo pain, but such pain provides a valuable lesson and develops an individual wisdom. In this book the authors also give a description of how relational resilience can be applied as a therapy to guard against vulnerability, hence assisting an individual to develop confidence, flexibility and awareness through reworking and negotiation of emphatic failures and misunderstanding.

In chapter three, Transforming Disconnection, the book explores self-sufficiency models and autonomy by examining how the element of separation is a key to the human condition. Notably, the authors argue that disconnection from other people forms the beginning of human suffering. To support this, a number of psychoanalysis’s theories are discussed elucidating the fact that people bear distinct habitual ways of responding to certain conditions leaving them vulnerable to disconnection. With the goal of therapy being to transform disconnections to connections, the chapter concludes that the ability to understand one’s disconnection is a key to developing a compassionate attitude that helps an individual to identify his or her needs, causes of disconnection and the need for reconnection (p. 63).

Part two of this book addresses the relationship. Chapters seven and eight cover relational possibilities and racial images and hoe racialism affects women. Moreover, therapy in groups and limited therapy topics are covered in chapters ten and twelve. Chapter eleven covers the use of models to understand both men and boys, whereas chapter thirteen dwells on utilization of relational thinking in the workplace and, more so, the entire organization. The authors express their goal of writing this book as to help the readers to find a sense of possibility and resilience. The authors have discussed the ideas underlying the marriage, religion, child bearing and upbringing and, more importantly, bring out gender identity in consideration of the family institutions. However, the basic question that the authors have tried to explore is what causes a change of a therapy? In this regard the authors agree that skills learnt in the treatment room can be used to effect the change through commitment to learning and responsiveness. The authors conclude by stating that through our ability and commitment to connection we are able to get a hope.

This book is provocative and well-structured. It raised quite a number of questions which it also follows with concrete answers. Notably, the book is highly suitable for individuals whose minds can accommodate to both uncertainties and opportunities, but, on the other hand, is highly unsuitable for people who are firmly held to a certain philosophy of treatment. The book explores practical considerations including short-term therapy and periodic counseling (p. 265). It portrays presentation of problems as a way of shaping treatment with no particular way of given consideration as the most favorable one for all individuals. The book focuses on the processes by stressing them as the primary therapeutic ingredient in the relationship as working together between a client and the therapist (p. 266). The authors express that no matter the course of treatment, it is always beneficial to be aware of transitions and shifts to better address the issues brought forward during the treatment course. In this regard the client will return to the path of development and fulfill his or her potential to the optimum, while, at the same time, adjusting to the prevailing demands and shifts. Regrettably, the danger arises where people’s coping strategies are rendered paralyzed, hence forcing them to retreat to their old coping patterns. People in time of stress tend to resort to what they understand best (p. 262). In conclusion, this informative book excellently presents a thoughtful map for the growth, development of ourselves and mores of our patients.

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.

Road to Serfdom – Book Review

Introduction

The “Road to Serfdom” is authored by Friedrich Hayek who was born in Austria (Hayek, 2015). It mostly focuses on socialism and its resulting adverse effects on a country’s economic path and life of the people. Through the various chapters, covered economic aspects are dealt with regard to socialist tendencies. Socialism is thought in the book to be the foreseen root of the future evils like Nazism and fascism. The book focuses on organization especially in a conscious way that direct all society’s step.  The book focuses on various countries and the socialist stances they have taken while ignorant of the anticipated evil results. Nazism and fascism are brought out as some of the evils of socialism and which lead to an end in the independence of individuals and the centralization of power to few individuals. In dealing with the great utopia, most people are of the view that socialism and democracy can be practiced together, which is not possible. Socialism has its roots in the French revolution and regards people as numbers democracy is the total opposite where freedom is sought through equality.

Totalitarianism and collectivism are some of the negative results from socialism. Totalitarianism mostly leads to a society directly controlled by the leader in place.  Collectivism is brought forth as the freedom of many, which is propagated by leaders who decide how the economy runs on behalf of their people. Totalitarianism inhibits freedom of the people. Hayek pursues another important aspect of the economy especially regarding the basics of people in satisfying their needs. Hayek is of the opinion that the society can advance greatly if liberty is assured to the people. Learning from the past and how organized activities by states has led to various evils like Nazism will help the government make better decisions and create a free society for every individual to exercise their freedom without infringing on the rights of others. The writer notes that serfdom comes in when there are controlled activities by the government and therefore lack of freedom for the people in question.

Critical Analysis

The author has lived in countries that were affected negatively because of having socialist thought for some time. Countries that have held or hold socialist thinking and further seen the evils or experienced them. As such, the author is in a better position of showing the state of society, which embraces socialist thought. The constant thoughts of planning and organizes may seem attractive at first but may provide a platform of destruction in the end. Freedom is an important aspect that Hayek handles in the book especially about political and economic freedom. A society rises and falls with the direction of its leaders especially those who think that everything in society should be centralized. Having lived in such countries and experienced such brutal forms of leadership, it becomes paramount that his arguments are valid when considering the aftermath of socialism. Hayek provides a greater understanding of how socialist thinking prepares leaders to undertake destructive tendencies and gives relevant instances of leaders like Mussolini and Hitler. Such incidences did not happen by chance, but the social processing of the society by the leaders further led them to such evils. Leaders in such cases did not anticipate such adverse consequences, but through their thinking of organizing and planning everything set a stage. Though the socialist approach is subtle, it is important to know the consequences of engaging in such thought and the author provides a better explanation of government control on various aspects of the society. Hayek bases his reasoning on his experiences especially in Austria and does not borrow much from other countries that have fared on well as socialists.

Hayek brings out the argument of socialism being a contributor to evils such as Nazism and fascism. In holding such views, he insinuates that Germany should not have been blamed on the Nazism that resulted but the focus should be on the social approach that was gaining ground in Germany before Hitler took place. Such an approach gave him the platform to carry out his leadership tendencies that led to brutal actions carried out on various sections of people in the society by his governance. Hayek further focuses on the individuals and their freedom, which is clearly a part of the thinking in Christianity. His thoughts on individualism are connected with humanism especially in the western European thought. Hayek dwells on various freedoms that are to be associated with the economy and the individual himself particularly relating the humanistic way of thinking. He is the view that liberalism is removed from society by leadership that embraces socialism. Therefore, though he is of the opinion that liberalism is highly beneficial to society especially its governance and economy there are various setback that can cause conflicting interests between liberalists.

Liberalism according to Hayek slacked at the start, and people did not put much consideration to it. Hayek notes that planning and organizing guided the thoughts of many philosophers like Hegel and Karl Marx who did not like such talk about the consequences that would arise if such controlling attitudes were taken by the leadership in place (MacGregor, 2014). Hayek further shows that socialism can be undertaken by honoring the freedom that people should have. Hayek further delivers into various systems in society like communism and fascism have the same means but different goals especially in leading to unintended consequences. Hayek further focuses on individualism and notes that governments or the leadership in place cannot meet all the needs of every individual in an instant. A planning to meet all needs would be quite cumbersome and complex since it will have to factor in all individuals. Hayek in is arguments disputes any notion that socialists can be democrats.

In dealing with economics and politics, Hayek suggests that the government should intervene where necessary and not have immense control over the business environment. He differs with Keynes on how government can intervene in a dire economic situation since he holds the view that government intervention should be minimal (Cate, 2012). Planned systems have both powers to regulate and to control the economy. The controlling of the economy stifles independences of the business to carry out their activities with freedom. Hayek in his thoughts on economy control and regulation by parliament does not give a definite answer to which systems of leadership especially liberalism or democracy can protect the freedoms of people in doing their daily economic activities. Totalitarianism clearly shows the ways in which economic progress is stifled. Hayek notes on the demerit of economic control and thus notes that it cannot assist a society to progress. In such economic control, people are restricted to the choices made for them through economic control, which Hayek totally disagrees with. Hayek is of the view that a controlled economy as predetermined actions as opposed to a free market economy. For securities of the people to be met, there is need for there to be the consideration of freedom to be considered. The provision of security should not counter the freedoms of the people.

Philosophical relevance

Hayek points out important issues that are part of any economic society. At present as governments, seek a more controlling stake, their respective economies it becomes significant to consider the resultant consequences. Governments should, therefore, learn to create a political and economic environment where they are not controlling. As such, they should not concentrate on centralizing powers particularly on how they can control the economic activities. The relationship of the government with people can benefit greatly if the government focuses on other aspects of the country such as legislation and playing a regulatory role in fostering the economy.  Socialism, in this case, should be avoided at all coasts since it cannot be intermingled with democracy.

Many leaders today hold socialist thoughts present in the modern day society, especially in America. Some of the features include too much stress on planning, the rising veneration in the country among others. Socialist forces were the precedence of Nazism in Germany, and even though the policies may seem good, they inevitably lead to evil consequences. Such tendencies as coming up with an economic system that is consciously directed as opposed to that which is competitive stems from socialist thoughts, which eventually lead to dire consequences in the end. In the most developed countries, the need for organization of the society is greatly stressed and some of the people hold socialist views without knowing the resulting consequences. Therefore, philosophically Hayek brings about a way of thinking that abhors socialist thinking and instead promotes aspects that support freedom and the government being more of a regulatory player in the economic stage.

Conclusion

Friedrich focuses on the freedoms that people have and how governments control can take away such freedoms. As such, most countries are adopting more control while some are taking partial control of the economy. At present democracy is emphasized and countries which stifle their economies by having much control will according to Hayek have destructive results. It is further important to note that at present more governments are taking on free trade areas between their borders and thereby encouraging more trade between countries and not only within the specific countries. Therefore societies should be watchful on how they use various policies at can be socialist and lead to bad leadership.

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

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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

Introduction

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).

Summary

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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