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The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive Hardcover – 7 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S. (7 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583943609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583943601
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Millard on 10 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Martin's book is a rare seed indeed. Now on my third reading I am walking at the slowest pace and rereading every line, sentence and word as I do not want to miss anything. I have a feeling this seed is vitally important and the images Martin conjures are striking and thought provoking. There are layer upon layer in this book that needs digesting and metabolising. The idea that we as part of the systems that created the Atom bomb are superior in any way to those 'simple' Indigenous peoples and cultures makes me weep. The book brings laughter, joy, guilt, embarrassment and even some hope that a tiny seed, unseen perhaps, is not too far away, if only we knew where to look. I am learning how to find seeds, and how to plant them with honour and dignity - A book to treasure and cherish--ENJOY!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Victor on 25 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know this author... I have worked with him. His eloquence is unsurpassed... his wisdom and generosity in giving his promise to the world is right here is this wonderful read!!!!
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By Rob M on 16 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anything from Martin Prechtel is always worth reading well recommend this latest offering.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A very important book... 5 Feb. 2012
By T. Lightsey - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Martin's newest book offers us something even beyond the reach of all his others. Even though it's composed of long, always fascinating, narratives from his life, as we read, something within us begins to awaken as well, like a seed, stirring in the vacant lot of our souls. Martin is reminding us of something that we've known, inside, for a long, long time, and he's doing it, not only through the incredible depth of knowledge and perspective that he carries from his upbringing and years among the Maya, but moreover, from the experiences and realizations he's had back here in the States. He has created a story that will begin a kind of remembering in you, an awareness of our part, after all, in this huge, crazy whirlwind of a cosmos.

The consequences of our forgetfullness, of living here as of we didn't really belong, or as if we somehow `owned' this place, are all too obvious to anyone with a heart and eyes to see. Even the best intended spiritual practices often reinforce this perception. Martin is awakening something else altogether in this book; he tells a story which is not only of himself, but is, in fact, is a story which is also ours, and which can begin, if watered by our attention and by the grief that's bound to come, begin to germinate and become something very real and awake in our lives. A very important book for anyone who wants to move beyond the scientific process and into the time to come.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This wisdom is deep and clear 12 Feb. 2012
By Marcel M. Allbritton - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now and then when you read something, you just know that the information is deep and clear. There is great wisdom here to help us heal as a society. The challenge is in internalizing the wisdom through action and reflection, not just reading the book. It comforts my soul to know that this source is here for those ready to do the work and heal themselves and and their people.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Kernel of Recognition 24 Feb. 2012
By Dale DuVall - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Reading Martins newest book is like swimming in rich amber honey. If you try to rush in and through it, it will exhaust you, but if you slow down, it surrounds you with it's sweetness, carefully crafted by dedicated diligent lovers of the blossoms of life. As another reviewer stated, this book speaks to an emptiness we all know and adds a missing dimension to those of us who coax food from the place that we live. Martin reminds us that there is another way to think in this world that is not slave making or dictating from a pedestal, but as a participant in this great swirling, breathing, jumping cacophony of smells and sounds that is life.

The book itself is a beautiful, elegant tall corn mother, who is unknowingly approached and whose face is revealed, hidden in plain sight in the jungles of Guatemala. The stories are the ears of delicious fruit, their origins described in soul filling detail and finally the roots are tendrils of hope, describing how we too can approach and rejoin the world and thinking we abandoned so many millennia ago with small beautiful efforts, together helping life to live, not killing it by our daily amnesiac consumption.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 14 Jun. 2012
By Zola - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There may never have been someone like Martín Prechtel who is able to navigate in such a complex, elegant, eloquent and profound way the troubled, polluted waters between traditional understandings of so-called "intact" peoples about the world and how we are to live within it and modern Western ways of thinking descended from now ancient imperialisms and assorted Earth-transcending monotheisms yet still seeking (some of us!) to comprehend and learn from this ancient intact world. This new book directly addresses our current situation not by adding to the flood of "quick fixes" proposed by every discipline under the Sun which only further challenge the already trembling populations of plants, animals, mountains and people, but instead speaks of how to settle in for the long haul in a most positive and life-feeding way.

While many if not all recent books engaging the current cataclysmic state of mainstream culture and the endangered life of the biological and geological world are capable of delineating the catastrophe in precise and excruciatingly exquisite detail, Prechtel's book instead offers not only complex and unsentimental hope but deep, "simple", grounded, "practical" answers as to how to proceed, now. Based on his profound and innate rather than simply anthropological understanding of the life-affirming, world-feeding spiritual, agricultural knowledge and practices of traditional peoples everywhere and brilliantly sifted through his unique ability to articulate these understandings clearly and with exquisite, heart-breaking beauty to a non-traditionalist mind and heart, the book is a passionate paean to a state of being which contemplates the current reality peacefully (rather than angrily, in a state of self-indulgent depression, with hedonistic excess, or immersion in hysterical end-of-the-world prophecies of a mythological or fundamentalist nature ) while at the same time continuing to work - and work hard - with great complexity of understanding and exquisite delicacy to keep the world alive with a dedication to seeds themselves (and of people as seeds holding an ancient DNA), in order to "feed a time of hope and beauty beyond our own".

I most courteously and fiercely encourage well-meaning and open-hearted folk of all persuasions to read this astonishing and truly radical (in the original meaning of that term, as arising from or adhering to the root) book, for it speaks with profound eloquence and passionate humility of what our relationship might be with the land, the plants, the animals, the weather-- so we might live decently, vitally and honorably another day in these unconscious and rapacious days.

Marianne Lust, Ed.D
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is a giant of a book unlike anything else out there 23 Mar. 2012
By Richard W. Bredeson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I recently finished reading Martín Prechtel's latest book having preordered it and received it on its publication date. My long anticipation of the work and excitement to devour it in wholly massive gulps was only tempered by its importance and my savoring each bite as I moved through the elegant prose poem word by precious word treating each one as a seed for growth and understanding. This is a giant of a book unlike anything else out there. This work is itself an instruction manual for humanity to find an "unlikely peace" in this post-modern, post-everything chaotic world we are waking up to.

In the interest of full disclosure I first met Martín in 2002 at the Minnesota Men's Conference. I had at that point read his first book, "Secrets of the Talking Jaguar", published in 1998. I have since read everything he has written multiple times and will continue to read his books for the rest of my life. Each is built of many layers of information, knowledge and wisdom. And I am currently a participant in his school, Bolad's Kitchen, in his third group known as the New Sprouts.

That said, "The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic" is Martín's most important work yet. It offers me many additional readings as I absorb each layer of the stories and the wisdom much like an archeologist peeling back the compost heap levels of ancient communities to reveal the underlying meaning and cultures that instruct us in ways to build a new community and a new culture in order to keep the seeds alive! These seeds are our seeds if we can find them. In fact these seeds are us. And they are vital to the very survival of humanity.

At first blush the part of the subtitle: "The Parallel Lives of People as Plants", sounded a bit strange to me, and intriguing. Martín explains his meaning here very clearly, again in the extraordinarily multivalent way he has of bringing together complex thoughts and concepts into juxtaposition to deepen the understanding of his meaning. Read the book to discover for yourself how true this exploration of people as plants is!

As I read this book I found myself chuckling at the humor in the stories and anecdotes from his time in Guatemala. More often the tears would come as I went through both grief and inspiration as the words sank slowly into my psyche, almost at once plunging me into the depths of despair and rising to the heights of confidence and optimism as I with Martín consider the human condition and our future.

If you have had the privilege of meeting Martín you will hear him, see him and sense his very presence as you read his words. It is so good to have him close, just here on my shelf! And if you have not yet met him this is a wonderful opportunity to begin your journey toward an "unlikely peace" with yourself and your fellow humans! You will meet Martín on this journey.

"The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic" ended much too soon for me. The work is totally satisfying and certainly complete meeting all the promises of the delicious title and the enticing Part and Chapter titles. I just wasn't ready to let Martín go; I wanted to keep his voice in my head. So, I went back to his earlier book: "The Toe Bone and the Tooth" (now published as "Stealing Benefacio's Roses") to again savor that sumptuous feast and retain his voice echoing through my whole body down to the very core, that seed within!

If you have any sense that the indigenous cultures of humanity have something to teach us, if you are interested at all in how we can resuscitate a culture from the mess we are now in, if you have ever prayed for peace, if you love stories, if you are intrigued by the title, if you find yourself wondering where the human family is going, then read this book. It is important. It is powerful. It will make you cry - and laugh. And you will love yourself just a little bit more for having read it!
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