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Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power by [McIntosh, Alastair]
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Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Length: 356 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"Soil and Soul" is a kind of "No Logo" in a Fair Isle jumper: essential reading. -- Sunday Herald

Few activists win such resounding victories in their lifetime ... None that I know have have done it with such a natural gift for storytelling. -- Ecologist

McIntosh writes beautifully ... gripping and often moving -- Observer

This has to be the book of the decade. Lyrical, passionate and poetic, McIntosh's writing is truly compelling. -- Sunday Herald

About the Author

Alastair McIntosh is a Scottish writer and campaigner. A fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology, he lectures all over the world on subjects including new economics, community and non-violent defence strategies. He is author of Soil and Soul, published by Aurum.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2585 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1854109421
  • Publisher: Aurum Press; New Ed edition (26 Aug. 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008QWCS0Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,058 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`Soil and Soul` is a story of one thing and many things; the Earth and its people. Alastair McIntosh provides us with an object lesson and demonstration inhow the welfare of the later is indivisibe from that of the former. He demonstrates this interconectivity by telling the story of how crofters, on the Hebridean island of Eigg, reclaimed their custodianship of the land from the Laird and thus ended nearly 1000 years of injustice and feudal land tenure. He also tells the story, as yet unresolved, of the worlds largest aggregates consortiums attempts to gain licence to hollow out a superquarry on the Isle of Harris which would result, as one local put it, turn Harris into `..the gravel pit of Europe`.

`Soil and soul` is, though, more than the lineal accounting of eco campaigning and legal battles from an author who was intimately involved with both issues. Much of the book is given over to matters of history, theology, feminism and ecology. McIntosh begins with the tale of how Kings and corporations, power and wealth, have, over the centuries, in the Scottish Highlands obscenely stolen, terrorised and bullied it indigenous people. Inherent in this process, he posits,was the wilful destruction of native spirituality and self sufficiency all in the pursuit of power and worship of Mamon. In one sense then it is the history, writ small, of much of the history of the world.

If you blanch at the invocation of Mamon then perhaps this book isn`t for you. McIntosh doesn`t pull his theological punches. His spiritual outlook is deeply rooted in pagan christianity and its deep reverence of the `Mother Earth` and an imminent god. Passages from the Bible are often quoted. Do not, though, be put off by his pertinant meanderings into eco-feminism or liberation theology.
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Format: Paperback
For me this was a book about the intersection of work and life and living. I travel a lot working as a consultant for major companies, which can be thrilling and enthralling but very often leave you feeling disconnected and challenged. This book is critical to understanding that disconnection and has really helped me both in work and at home to ground what I do in a helpful way. It reminds you to think carefully about values and what they mean for how at work and in life we make decisions, and it provides great ideas on how to keep grounded in a more volatile world. In many ways it is even more vital now than it was when it was first written.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Alastair McIntosh's book begins with a rich and detailed depiction of his childhood on the Isle of Lewis, with stories of hunting and fishing, local lairds and bards, Celtic legends and histories of both triumph and atrocity. Foremost among these are the clearances, which saw the Scottish highlands cleared of farmers and crofters and given over to a landowning nobility. Countless thousands moved to the cities or took passage to America, and hundreds of years later Scotland's feudal system remained. 80% of the land was owned by just 900 families.

A second strand running through this opening section is the creeping force of globalisation and its impact on Hebridean culture. The Islands had a `vernacular economy' based on reciprocity and sufficiency, and this was gradually replaced work and money. "We were classed as poor because nothing went through the cash economy" writes McIntosh, raising the question of what we value, what wealth really is. Instead of sharing and cooperation came wages and consumption, and with them a gradual erosion of identity, community, and responsibility. `Progress' came to the islands, but much was lost in the process.

Part two of the book explores responses to these powers through two case studies. The first is the Isle of Eigg Trust, a group who contested and finally bought back their island homeland from the international playboy lord, kicking off land reform in Scotland in the process. The second is the story of how Redland Aggregates was thwarted in its attempt to create the world's largest quarry out of the Isle of Harris' Mount Roineabhal. The public enquiry for the superquarry was the first to include theological arguments, and included the testimony of a native American chief on the sacredness of place and the duty of care for God's earth.
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Format: Hardcover
Alastair McIntosh's Soil and Soul leads me on from my first reading of Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The same thirst for justice, the same identification of the eloquent bard with the voiceless ones rekindles poetry and revolution in the readers heart and thunders forth "alarm! alarm!" as deep as any Biblical prophesy.
McIntosh is able to leave one foot firmly planted in the old ways of a native Celtic people and the other slap bang in the middle of scholarly argumentation thereby bridging the great divide between poetry and science. He helps us to come to terms with our broken hearts and understand the dysfunctional power behind the carnage.
Soil and Soul is a major work which stretches us from the psychohistory of colonisation as seen through the lens of Hebridean culture to inspiring, empowering and entertaining case histories of community empowerment and cultural healing in which the author has played a pioneering part: read it!

- John Seed (author of Thinking Like a Mountain).
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