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Ishmael School & Library Binding – Oct 1999

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Product details

  • School & Library Binding: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books (Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613080939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613080934
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

In addition to Ishmael, Daniel Quinn is the author of Providence: The Story of a Fifty-year Vision Quest, The Story of B, A Newcomer's Guide to the Afterlife (with Tom Whalen), and Ishmael. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D&D TOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Despite a mildly frustrating Q&A format, this is a deep and (beneficially) mind-altering work that can re-shape how you think about almost everything. So, why so few reviews for this masterful work over here, when there are over 1000 on Amazon.com?

Quinn synthesises numerous schools of thought - primarily anthropology, history, biology, and theology - in such a way as to paint a truly all-encompassing portrait of how we got here. The basic premise is as accurate as it is appalling: a classic catch-22:

A. Father Culture teaches us to produce more food than we can use.
B. We reproduce in direct correlation with the amount of available food.
C. The more we reproduce, the more food we need.

Yes, it is an over-simplification but it's still truth. This work uncovers our cultural myth that it's OK to keep consuming, destroying the environment, producing more food and multiplying our population at insanely unhealthy levels.

In several later books Quinn takes this further. "My Ishmael" is basically a repeat of "Ishmael" and slightly disappointing because of that but "Story of B" explains that our current focus on agriculture is basically at "war" with nature and only really became that way with patriarchy. Many open-minded archeologists are telling - off the record - of more and more clues that patriarchy suddenly, about 6,000 years ago, came in from nowhere, overwhelmed, and radically changed our direction from, the peaceful lifestyle enjoyed for hundreds of thousands of years previously. Ancient times were by no means brutal and backwards, as we've been brainwashed to believe.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Buy this at the same time as "The Story of B" and "My Ishmael" becuase they form a kind of unofficial trilogy - "Ishmael" laying the ground foundations of Quinn's theory, "The Story of B" expanding and adding to those ideas and "My Ishmael" completing the set by showing how the decline of our culture can be averted.
It would be too hard to outline Quinn's theory about why our society (and only our society) works so badly, but if you have ever thought that there must be something better than living a life working hard to gain things which are free, such as food, then this book is for you. If you have ever felt hollow or unfufilled by your life and the way you live it, then this book has one important message for you - it is not your fault. I hope my enthusiasm for this book will encourage you to read it, because I can honestly say it has changed my life. Everywhere I look I see elements of Taker culture and I want to scream at the top of my lungs and show everybody what is wrong. I want to open their eyes. I'm sure you don't understand what I'm talking about unless you've read the book, but if you buy it then you will.
The revelations I had whilst I was reading this book, "The Story of B" and "My Ishmael" were so amazing I felt sick, elated, depressed but mostly a sense of enormous relief. It is not every single human in our culture that is wrong, there is nothing wrong with us. It is our society...our society that imposes laws that it knows will be broken and then is suprised when they are, our society that thinks humans are God's over other animals, out society that has abandoned the way Tribal societies lived and survived with for hundreds and hundreds of years, our society...Please, I urge you to buy this book, there is nothing more I can say. Buy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Here goes the long awaited, badly needed Prophet of our times! In simple words, structured like a tutorial, Daniel Quinn interprets modern man and his origin in a completely new and extremely convincing way, a way which, like it or not, makes perfect sense and leaves you whith the uneasy feeling that, now that you've read the book, the ball is in your court. At least, now you can no longer say that you haven't been warned.
Something sinister has, however, happened in the wake of this book which once more might be regarded as evidence for some cynical conspiracy out to discredit, belittle or ridicule anything which might threaten the status quo: Hollywood made a nice, positive film with a happy ending called Instinct, which leaves you feeling all warm inside, allegedly based on Ishmael. Well, it isn't!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Carter on 4 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Theres not much more I can say than what has already been said by other reviewers. I will just say there are two types of people that will read this book. The first is the person who is not ready to hear the message contained within the book, and will go back to living in a culture that is not only destroying the world but causing the human race to quickly head towards extinction. These are the people that cannot understand the premise of the book, and will simply continue to bury their heads in the sand ignoring the signs all around them.

The other type of person is ready to hear the message, and allows the book to explain why despite all of human advances in civilisation, there is still something fundamentally wrong with modern human culture. These people can see the bigger picture than what is written in mere words, and are ready to help others see the message of the book too. These people like myself, don't want the world destroyed and don't want the human race to end soon.
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