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A book by Daniel Quinn.

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Seeking: One Student With Desire to Save the World

  • May 19, 2010


So posits Daniel Quinn's novel that uses Socratic dialog to discuss society, nature, culture, morality, and mythology, an questioning of humanity's relation to nature.  The ambiguous meaning of the question perfectly epitomizes the philosophical nature of the novel; is man the destroyer or conservator of nature?

Naturally, the answer is a resounding BOTH.

Ishmael, the gorilla philosopher, guides a man through his philosophical journey.  Beginning with a careful deconstruction of societal assumptions, Ishmael ultimately builds a new basis for understanding ecology and morality, one that provides new guidelines to, in effect, save the world.

Far from a condescending, guilt-producing morality tale on the benefits of environmentalism, Ishmael provides true insight into ancient cultural attitudes that have brought imbalance to the natural world.  Quinn's novel, born after several decades of his own research and thought, is intensely rich and dense with ideas. It simply begs for discussion.  This is the type of book which begs to be written in, underlined, dog-eared, and argued over. 

I recommend it to everyone who has ever, as the books protagonist student has, wanted to save the world in a grand way. Though Ishmael does not pretend to have all of the answers, he does have the questions.  And for now, that is the best place to start.

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May 25, 2010
This is a great read! Thanks for writing a review on it. This is a book that I should revisit, so I can contribute a review as well. :)
May 25, 2010
That would be wonderful!
May 25, 2010
I will let you know when I can get around to it. :)
May 19, 2010
Wow, what an interesting topic, and this sounds like a very eye-opening book. Thanks for sharing this great review, Sarah!
More Ishmael reviews
review by . June 17, 2010
  Years ago, when my 9th grade biology teacher recommended that we read Ishmael over the summer, I was perplexed as to the reason why. Wouldn't a biology teacher recommend we read something like Hawkin's Selfish Gene or Darwin's Origin of Species? It seemed odd to pick up a nonfiction book that had no obvious surface issues related with biology.      Of course, as teachers always do, he had a valid point to his suggestion. Ishmael centers around Ishmael, …
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2010
A highly recommended book that helps the reader to better understand modern human psychology. The method in which this message is developed is a bit strange at first, but becomes important as the novel goes on. A book that really changed the way I think about the world!
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
i want a husband like this
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
A great book that will really shake your paradigm and make you think about humans' place in the world.
review by . June 03, 2010
It may be that Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael" is tainted for me because of the context in which I had to read it: an introductory social science class at university.  That said, I remember feeling that the idea of an ape sermonizing about the litany of deficiencies and arrogance in the human race to be very heavy-handed and rife with liberal guilt.        There are many other, superior texts out there which point out the interconnectedness of the human, animal and …
Quick Tip by . May 25, 2010
Perfect Book for a Recent Grad
About the reviewer
Sarah ()
Ranked #916
Ilove oranges, thuderstorms, Robert Bly poetry, and cups of tea to go with Tom Stoppard Plays.
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Author: Daniel Quinn

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