Reviews

One of the articles in Generation NExT (IC#43)
Originally published in Winter 1995/96 on page 56
Copyright (c)1995, 1997 by Context Institute

 

SIMPLICITY: Notes, Stories and Exercises for Developing Unimaginable Wealth
by Mark A. Burch

New Society Publishers
Gabriola Island, BC,
1995 130 pp., $12.95 (paper)

With the current media interest in Voluntary Simplicity, this book is a timely and welcome addition to the literature currently available. It is a well-written, simple and practical guide offering an in-depth exploration of voluntary simplicity.

Using exercises, a reader is guided through a transition away from consumerism to a simpler and more mindful way of living.The book is less about the getting rid of things, more about the inner, non-material benefits that come from choosing to live more simply.

The simple – though not necessarily easy – exercises are designed for use by individuals and groups (such as study circles).

– Jane Engel


A WORLD IN OUR HANDS
by Young People of the World

Tricycle Press,
P.O. Box 7123,
Berkeley, CA 94707
1995, 96 pp., $15.95 (paper)

This is supposed to be a book about the UN, which it is, but even more than that, it is a book of hope. It’s about the hope that the UN has brought to those in despair, of all the good things it has done. It’s a plea from my generation for more of this kind of wonderful work.

Illustrated with young people’s drawings, and full of their poems, it is a powerful work of art vibrating with love and an unquenchable desire for a better world. It made me cry and it made me smile. It made me both ashamed and proud to be human, and it gave me hope for the future.

– Celeste Gilman


ECONOMIC INSANITY
by Roger Terry

Berrett-Koehler Publishers
San Francisco, CA
1995, 181 pp., $24.95 (hardback)

Here is a book about economics that begins, appropriately enough, with the American Dream. No, not the one with the four-bedroom, three-bathroom, two-car garage house. The one with "liberty and justice for all" in it.

Terry offers a perceptive critique of growth-driven, consumer-based capitalism and how it managed to grow beyond the benign assumptions of Adam Smith and America’s Founding Fathers. His critique is historical, systemic, concise and brutal – a great introduction to the confluence (or lack thereof) of politics, economics, and morality.

As is usual with these sorts of books, his analysis of what’s wrong with the current order is a lot stronger than his suggestions for what might replace it. A useful addition to the canon, nonetheless.

– Jill Bamburg


THE RETURN OF THE SCORCHER
directed and edited by Ted White

The Video Project,
Oakland, CA,
1-800-4-PLANET,
27:45 min, $29.95,
PAL and international formats.

Due to their blazing speed, bicyclists late last century were called "scorchers." This half-hour video takes you on a ride to China, Europe, and the US to hear the stories of 20th century scorchers.

Bicycle-repair women, an inventor, octogenarian cyclists, a councilwoman, and a painter are among the colorful characters who make a good case for self-powered, two-wheeling as the most logical choice of transportation, period. Unexpected wit coupled with enthusiastically artistic camera work make this a film that speaks to scorchers and scorchers-to-be of all ages.

– Kathryn True

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