Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Woodlands: Ecology, Management and Threats

“Buy the volume, read it, use it as a reference, and crucially implement the vast range of ideas within it…publication of this volume is a great step in seeing both the trees for the forest and the forest for the trees, while making us think about the crucial role of treescapes in landscape mosaics, from the past to the present.” To read the full review as published in the journal, Ecosystems and People, Volume 20click here>>>. – Peter Bridgewater, The Australian National University, Canberra Australia

The Art of the Music Critic

“Max Stern’s passion and knowledge of music shines through in this comprehensive compilation that also serves as a treasured historic document about Israel.” – David Brinn, Managing Editor, The Jerusalem Post

“This fascinating collection of music reviews over many years by an outstanding musicologist, Max Stern, is a veritable textbook of how to make aesthetic judgments. This author is blessed with an appealing writing style, imposed by humility and decency. You don’t have to know much about music to enjoy, admire, and learn from this book.” – Jerome Gellman, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Progress in PMR

“Zsuzsanna Schmidt has been a dedicated expert on polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) for many years, and she has provided an up-to-date, concise and highly usable guide for both clinical research and everyday practice. As the head of the National Institute of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy, Budapest, I am delighted to recommend this book. Progress has been made in all fields of this challenging disease. I wholeheartedly recommend all medical specialist colleagues to read this excellent monograph and make use of this increased knowledge in their practice.” –Dr. Gyula Poor, Széchenyi Prize – Winning Academic, Professor, Semmelweis University , Head of the National Institute of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy, National Institute of Locomotor System Diseases and Disabilities 

Consciousness and Dreaming Mind: Mapping the Uncharted Territory of Thinking in Dreams

“In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Miloslava Kozmová shows that, contrary to the standard neuroscientific theories of dreaming, in our dreams we are not irrational, delirious or simply crazy or out of our minds, but instead we retain a coherent sense of ourselves and we use our minds rationally to solve the problems we encounter in the Dream World.” To read the full review, click here>>>– Antti Revonsuo, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Skövde, Sweden and Professor of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland

“Kozmova, working from within Hobson’s activation-synthesis constructs, adapts a Baysian psychoanalytic-based technique of intrapersonal piloting to explore the transference surrounding non-lucid dream synthesis.  Her text, as much a memoir as an intellectual synthesis, explores the misconceptions that have developed into the belief that dreams are degenerate, non-thinking states of consciousness.” To read the full review, click here>>>– James F. Pagel, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Colorado, USA and Director of Rocky Mountain Sleep Center

Environmental Geotechnics: Waste and Geotechnical Stabilization

“The knowledge in soil stabilization is widespread, practiced, and documented in geotechnical engineering. However, searching for and updating new materials as stabilizers for soils and other materials, such as mining tailings stabilization, is necessary. This book brings innovations in ​​the stabilized materials area, both in terms of new methodologies, materials, dosages, and evaluation of the physical-chemical-mechanical-environmental-microstructure behavior of stabilized composites, as well as in the development of geopolymers for applications in distinct areas of geotechnical engineering. It is an important contribution to improve the academic and the practice in the new geotechnical materials development, by incorporating sustainable materials and predicting less generation of environmental impacts.” – Michéle Dal Toé Casagrande, D.Sc., Full Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Brasília | UnB , Brazil

Afrodemocracy: New African Order

Afrodemocracy: New African Order is a resounding call to political action that the author makes available to readers.” To read the full review, click here>>>– Matema Masemola, College of Education, University of South Africa

Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific Construct

This book is an indispensable resource of deeply researched data and knowledge about a strategically critical region and its implications for global political and economic systems and their functions.  This edited volume is a significant contribution for assessing the foreign policy decisions of the regional actors in Southeast Asia and explaining the high stakes of maintaining freedom of navigation, a rules-based order, and strategic balance of power in the region, and the dynamics of U.S.-China strategic competition pertaining to these issues. This book is a must have for any student or scholar in the field of international relations.”  – Hayat Alvi Ph.D., Associate Professor, US Naval War College

“In an age of great power competition and global turmoil, the nations of Southeast Asia find themselves in precarious and uncertain times.  Domestic priorities and foreign relations must be balanced, as volatile geopolitical and economic forces both threaten instability and promise growth and prosperity.  This edited volume delivers unique perspectives on a dynamic region, one that continues to dominate international discourse.  Its various chapters are sure to spark lively debate and deepen our understanding of complex issues of tremendous global import.” –  Col Jeffry A. Hollman, Chief Mission Assurance, U.S. INDOPACOM J34

“This book unveils Southeast Asia’s intricate balancing act through a scholarly lens, revealing the challenges and opportunities amidst great power rivalry. Each chapter offers a profound analysis of regional complexities, delving into nuanced strategies adopted by Southeast Asian nations. This book serves as a valuable resource for scholars, policymakers, and students in international relations and security studies, providing valuable insights into the region’s dynamic evolution.” – Khoo Ying Hooi Ph.D., Associate Professor, Universiti Malaya

One of the most interesting features of today´s international affairs is provided by some of Southeast Asian countries’ position towards the US-China strategic competition – going along with the US in security matters and with China in economic ones. This fascinating and important book, edited by Indu Saxena and Stephen R, Nagy, analyzes in deep this peculiar phenomenon.” – Alfredo Toro Hardy (Fmr. AMB), author of America’s Two Cold Wars and US versus China: Who Will Prevail?

“Southeast Asia is the crucible of the U.S.-China competition. Indu Saxena, Stephen Nagy, and the contributors to this volume provide invaluable insight into how key nations in the region see the two powers and the resulting security dynamics. It is an important read for anyone trying to make sense of Southeast Asia’s place in the Indo-Pacific.” – Brad Glosserman, visiting professor Tama University, Japan & Senior Advisor for Pacific Forum

 “The Southeast Asian countries are in quest of “strategic autonomy” to navigate the competitive waters of quasi cold war between the U.S. and China. Indu Saxena and Stephen Nagy have co-edited the volume to explain the complex choices encountered by the Southeast Asian countries to maintain their economic ties with China and strategic and economic partnerships with the U.S. These countries, by seeking strategic autonomy, want to duck the emerging regional geopolitical paradoxes. Rich in facts and analysis, this compendium is an invaluable addition to existing literature on Southeast Asian developments.” – Chintamani Mahapatra, Prof. (Fmr) Jawahar Lal Nehru University, India & Director KIIPS (Kalinga Institute for Indo-Pacific Studies)

“I strongly recommend this insightful volume. It is refreshing to read the work of scholars who are embedded in the region. The authors offer a novel and effective antidote to many of the conventional perceptions of developments in Southeast Asia, as these nations attempt to wrestle with new complexities in a challenging regional and global system.” – Simon Reich, Professor, Rutgers Newark, USA

“The growing significance of the understanding of the Indo-Pacific has been consistent with the escalation in US-China rivalry. While the rivalry has been extensively discussed, much less attention has been devoted to the implications for Southeast Asian countries. For most countries of Southeast Asia, the wider discourse of the Indo-Pacific is fraught with unease, arising from the avoidable issue of choosing sides in the rivalry. The dilemmas and specific nuances of responses from the region have been elaborately captured by this volume. The essays in this volume will contribute significantly to the knowledge and understanding of implications for Southeast Asia as the Indo-Pacific construct deepens its strategic foundation.” – Amitendu Palit, Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead (trade and economics), ISAS-NUS

A Question of the Sanities: Ecology and the Human Conundrum of Remorse

“Every new work (both fiction and nonfiction) by Tobias and Morrison is a cause for gratitude and celebration. Their latest book, A Question of the Sanities: Ecology and the Human Conundrum of Remorse, is a penetrating treatise of essential, perennial ideas, and insightful new ones. Grounded in the heartbreaking realties that the biosphere is unraveling with unrelenting speed, each of the 31 essays illuminate an aspect of human biophilia and biophobia, our confoundingly mixed relationships with the greater world of other living beings. This work is unique because it dares to ask the questions that might save us, such as: “In the persistent struggle between violence and unconditional love … what can we actually manifest that is something new and thoroughly refreshed?”  … To read this indispensable book is to be at once educated, delighted, and transformed — not only intellectually but also in our heart of hearts that calls for a deeper and more meaningful existence.” – Michael Pastore, Author, Publisher of Zorba Press,

“In a time when human proclivities are entwined with, and overwhelming natural systems, we seem to be lurching towards Armageddon. We wonder if there is a safe harbor still in sight. This book – A Question of the Sanities – provides an unblinking view of the future, but gives a philosophical understanding that hope is possible.  It should be read by all those of us trying to make sense of our world.” – Dr. G. Wayne Clough, PhD, 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, President Emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology

“Michael Tobias and Jane Morrison are more attuned to what’s happening on our planet right now than anyone I know. Surrounded by insanity, they bring sanity. Enveloped in darkness like the rest of us, they have found a unique and profound way to bring light.” – David Rothenberg, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, New Jersey Institute of Technology

“In this collection of essays, Tobias and Morrison illustrate two human conditions. The collective (population level) where groups of humans exhibit greed, stupidity, short-sightedness, and distancing from the Natural World. The other is the individual condition, where individuals show love, compassion, and respect for other humans and the Natural World. The question is how to reconcile the two before we make ourselves irrelevant by going extinct and taking much of Nature with us. Tobias and Morrison address this question brilliantly with their characteristic insights and erudition.” – Con Slobodchikoff, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Northern Arizona University, CEO of Zoolingua, CEO of Animal Communications Ltd, Director, Animal Language Institute

“As ever, Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison can be counted on to confront the big questions of our time, in this case the survival of the human psyche – meaning soul in the deepest sense – at a time of unprecedented ecological violence and emotional chaos.  The authors draw on a vast range of scientific, sociological, and literary/philosophical reference points to make their argument for endurance in the face of catastrophe. There is bravery here, brilliance, and a willingness to push against the usual boundaries of thought.” – Jay Parini, Author of The Last Station and Borges and Me, D.E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College

“It is a sublime, consoling vision, a landmark work that takes the age-old discussion of good and evil, of far more recent deliberation across the natural sciences and genetics regarding evolutionary purpose or design, as well as the theory of random homeostasis (the title of their previous book) and places these critical wellsprings of research into a startling new context: The survival of pragmatic idealism as an evolutionary foundation. For optimists and pessimists, young and older, fatalists and exhausted Utopians, scientists and theologians, philosophers and quantum physicists, Tobias and Morrison’s latest book is essential reading.” – William Shatner, Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

“An incredible book, profound and unprecedented investigation. Such philosophical courage and analysis are deemed highly necessary for this very lonely earth – ravaged by conflicts and war, greed, exploitation and mindless hunger for wealth and power. Through this outstanding book, Jane and Michael provide extensive discussions and key areas of research solutions towards protection of the planet in its ongoing challenges. An exhaustive and rare study, this study will prove to be a critical reference in this current epoch of an uncertain world.” – Ugyen Tshewang, PhD, Former Environment Secretary of Bhutan, Founder of Bhutan’s National Biodiversity Center, and Bhutan’s National Gene Bank, Co-Author of Bhutan: Conservation and Environmental Protection in the Himalayas, and Bionomics in the Dragon Kingdom: Ecology, Economics and Ethics in Bhutan (Springer Nature Publishing Group, 2021 and 2018)

“This remarkable original treatise explores and probes vast new wild territory of ecological understanding few have ever ventured or articulated. An absolutely astonishing, wide ranging, truly sobering first-hand account of our “insane” trajectory in a devastated world, sadly bereft of human conscience.  Tobias and Morrison are some of the deepest thinkers of our time. This book is a serious wake-up call as well as sanctuary for the soul!” – Michael S. Bostick is an Environmental Professional, Artist, and Freelance Writer

“Violence towards one’s own species is not uncommon in nature… Not only do we harm one another, we harm the planet we share and have the intelligence and awareness to recognize the causes, effects, and consequences of such violence. But do we have any remorse for any of our actions responsible for destroying our species, and every other species on the planet?  Questioning sanity is commonplace in our times. Tobias and Morrison provide a thoughtful, transformational perspective that makes us question why we conduct ideological warfare while our existence, and that of all Others, hangs in the balance.” – Melanie L. DeVore, PhD, Georgia College & State University Professor, Department of Biology & Environmental Sciences; Arizona State University, Adjunct Faculty Member, Center for Biology & Society and School of Life Sciences; University of Washington, Research Associate in Paleobotany, Burke Museum; University of Rwanda, Honorary Research Fellow in the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management (CoEB-UR, CST)

“Fascinating, frightening, and bursting with historical context and the wisdom of past visionaries, if a book can change the readers’ perspective, this is it.  Tobias and Morrison call on us to take our hands from our ears and hear what Edward Munch called “The scream of nature”; to remember that, even as we destroy the natural world for the most frivolous of reasons, we must see that we are part of, not apart from, it. Is there time? Be brave, read this book, perhaps aloud from the rooftops.” – Ingrid Newkirk, Founder and President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A Forbes Person of the Year, and Author of 14 books on animals, their abilities, language, and sentience, and the subject of the HBO documentary, “I Am an Animal.” 

“Michael and Jane have produced a book that makes us all question our sanity.  The population of our planet has increased four times during the last 85 years.  All economies are exponentially fueled by the finite realities of gas, oil and coal, which will peak and decline to zero. Against this backdrop, the Authors have mobilized a comprehensive understanding of the physics, chemistry and mathematics that define our biological sphere. They frame each chapter with a psychological, philosophical and ethical underpinning.  Their prose is flavored with music, art, literature and poetry.  Each of the 30 chapters layers an assessment of the human conundrum….” – Bob Gillespie, President and Chairman of the Board, Population Communication

A Question of the Sanities is a critical reflection on the condition of humans and other species, an earnest call for ecological redemption, and a vision for a peaceful and sustainable future.  Drawing upon their global field research, dozens of disciplines, and the lived wisdom of humans across cultures and religions, the Authors challenge us to act in the spirit of ahimsa to mitigate the biospheric violence. That is, to make choices that are rooted in reverence for nature, compassion for all living beings, and conscious consumption. A must read for all who care about the wellbeing of our planet and its habitants.” – Tara Sethia, PhD, Founding Director of the Ahimsa Center, Emerita Professor of History, California Polytechnic State University Pomona. Author of Gandhi: Pioneer of Nonviolent Social Change (The Library of World Biography, 2011) 

A Question of the Sanities – Ecology and the Human Conundrum of Remorse by Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison engages crucial ecological, philosophical, and social issues of our times. Our lives are witnesses and participants in mass extinction and ecological pillage… A Question of the Sanities is a philosophically wide-ranging work that explores the social context and deep history of the way we all live in the 21st century. A highly recommended and challenging book; an enlightening opportunity to explore and help humanity confront the essential pursuit of ecological renewal.” – Roy Morrison, Author of Ecological Democracy, Sustainability Sutra: An Ecological Investigation and The New Green Republic. Managing Partner of Sun Partners Solar and Fellow at the Center for Ecozoic Societies, and has coordinated China’s International Working Groups (CIWG). Founding Director of the Office for Sustainability at the Southern New Hampshire University

A Question of the Sanities is a poignant elegy to our beautiful and bountiful earth. We humans have known for ages about the environmental catastrophes facing us all, but have largely ignored them, hoping for scientific breakthroughs or some kind of miracle. Now, it is the alarming speed and scale of environmental crises that is finally getting our attention. Each year there are more and more unimaginable “natural” events converging with disastrous political and economic policies. In the face of this turmoil, Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison invite us to stop for just a short time in the midst of our comfortable lives and ponder how we got to this point and how we might unravel all the issues and ethical considerations involved…” – Anne and William Frej, Authors of Travels Across the Roof of the World: A Himalayan Memoir. William is a Photographer and Career Diplomat, Author of Maya Ruins Revisited: In the Footsteps of Teobert MalerBlurred Boundaries: Perspectives on Rock Art of the Greater Southwest, and Seasons of Ceremonies: Rites and Rituals in Guatemala. Anne is an Urban Planner, early advocate of the “Design with Nature” Movement, and Author of Green Office Buildings: A Practical Guide to Development

“Is there hope for humanity? For a humanity that has abandoned its birth mother and forgotten where it came from and where it is going? The Authors of A Question of the Sanities seek answers to the most critical questions of our time, while holding up a mirror to take us through millennia of forgetting. For centuries, we have glorified our actions, proclaimed our own superiority, while forgetting the rights of nature, the greatness of simplicity and cooperation, and our responsibility to our world. We have forgotten the bond that binds us to Mother Nature and all her inhabitants. I thank the Authors for inspiring us all!” – Maria Sagi, PhD in Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. Creator of the Sagi Method of Informational Healing and Diagnosis; Author of 12 books and the Science Director for the Club of Budapest 

“Tobias and Morrison are those rare trans-disciplinary souls who endeavor to give the Universe a language of compassion, hope and transcendence in an Anthropocene of unfathomable pain and violence. Their research spans history, art, species legacies, activism, the voices of the voiceless, tribal heritages and imaginations to shine light on what we can and must do to avert a planetary catastrophe. The voice in these chapters is authoritative, and its wisdom timeless.” – Atul K. Shah, PhD, Professor of Economics at City University of London; Author. 

“This book is a round-the-world tour (de force) through a systemic epidemic; disconnection from Self and Other. It’s as if the pathos of every current and ancestral expression of life to ever grace this planet has contributed to authoring these pages. A tree is not just some ‘noun’ over there. Nor is water, air, soil, species … and earth in relation to cosmos. Nature and Human Nature: that’s our forgotten love story. Michael Tobias and Jane Morrison: this is our blessed reminder.” – Alison Goldwyn, Writer, Podcaster, Music Composer and Founder & Creative Director for Synchronistory®

“Tobias and Morrison’s A Question of The Sanities begs the central questions: Why are Homo sapiens so destructive? Is there hope for humanity in a world which has entered a sixth, global-extinction Anthropocene? Anyone already familiar with their writing will immediately recognize the Thomas Pynchonesque complex literary style that explores the dilemmas of being human. They interpret the fate of the world through a multifaceted prism: history, science, ethics, the arts and humanities, as well as by personal anecdotes. It would be difficult to overstate the breadth and depth of the thinking and writing of Tobias and Morrison. They are without equal, and this, their latest, will give pause to any reader with an ounce of compassion if not concern. A Question of the Sanities is an intellectual and artistic achievement. I highly recommend it.” – David J. Wagner, PhD, Former Museum Director, Author of American Wildlife Art (2008), Independent Curator of Travelling Environmental Exhibitions

“At the heart of this seminal book, A Question of the Sanities, is a crucial, and singular message: We desperately need to stop imparting pain to not only our own species, but all others; by restoring our traditional interspecies relationships that are so critical for every biome.” – Dr. Tarun Chhabra, Botanist, Anthropologist, Head of the EBR Trust in the Nilgiris, India, and Author of The Toda Landscape – Explorations in Cultural Ecology, Orient BlackSwan, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 2015. Edhkwehlynawd Botanical Refuge Centre Trust – Nature Needs Half

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Unveiling Resilience: Navigating the Pandemic and Redefining Higher Education

“I highly endorse this timely and unique publication.  While much of the analyses of continuity in education during the COVID-19 pandemic focuses on the different ways in which digitalisation has ushered in new ways of working and organising, this book is original in many ways.  First, it provides a holistic understanding of higher education by considering contributions across a diversity of educational settings including classroom delivery, research, student well-being and administration among others.  Second, it focuses on a so far under-researched geographical area of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, specifically based on experience from the Sultanate of Oman.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it places emphasis on how pandemic response is socially-constructed and that to be resilient over time it has to align with historically formed institutional norms and local practices.   The in-depth analysis provided in this book will be of immense value for researchers undertaking comparative studies in different country and regional contexts. The in-depth insights obtained in this book suggest the need to improve networks between academic institutions and government agencies for improved learning about the crisis which can feed into policy. ” – Dr. Shirin Madon, Associate Professor of ICTs and Socioeconomic Development, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom



Islamic Sources and International Law

This book was reviewed in the journal, AR-RA’IQ, by Dr. Sulaiman Dorloh and Dr. Muhammad Atiullah bin Othman – “The book, ‘Islamic Sources and International Law’ (Nehaluddin Ahmad & Gary I. Lilienthal, 2023), conducts a critical investigation of whether people are bound by international treaties, in either or both Islamic and liberal democratic traditions. It considers those countries, that identified as liberal democracies, as being the primary adherents of western-derived international law.” To read the full review, click here.