Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Transformative Words: Writing Otherness and Identities

“Dr. Juhani Ihanus has done a remarkable job in examining the interface of the theoretical, philosophical, and interdisciplinary foundations of bibliotherapy, poetry therapy, and transformative writing. Beautifully written, Ihanus writes with passion, taking into account the critical importance of language and creative expression in a social and cultural context. This book, appropriate for professional and general audiences, has the potential to contribute to the well-being and growth of individual, groups, and communities.” – Nicholas Mazza, Ph.D., Dean and Professor Emeritus at the College of Social Work, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA, editor of Journal of Poetry Therapy, author of Poetry Therapy: Theory and Practice, and editor of a 4 volume series, Expressive Therapies

“’Welcome to the space of writing,’ Juhani Ihanus says, bringing wisdom as well as deep knowledge and practice of biblio/poetry therapy. These are powerful processes, benefiting from his explanation and explication. Be bold! Use your own pen or pencil as you go along, allow this text to help you develop your own story-making. Take the journey towards insight and inspiration through writing, with Juhani.” – Dr. Gillie Bolton, author of The Writer’s Key: Introducing Creative Solutions for Life

“The author’s knowledge of psychology and literature as well as his deep scholarship give a convincing basis for his views on the transformative resources of words and narratives.” READ FULL REVIEW IN The Journal of Poetry TherapyPaavo Manninen, Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

For more information about this book, please click here.

Ethiopia: Social and Political Issues

“This is a timely publication on Ethiopian issues which readers – experts on Ethiopia or not – will find to be a useful source to present and future challenges facing the Ethiopian state. The book consists of four sections, dealing with governance, health, gender and law, and the eleven chapters are authored by a variety of international scholars, including a good number of Ethiopians, from a range of disciplines. The book was published only a year after the country got a new Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed, opening up for profound changes in the political and economic landscape of the country. Although most of the research the chapters are based on took place prior to this, some of the authors have been able to relate to the new political climate emerging after the change in political leadership. Especially the last chapter of the book, Dessalegn Rahmato’s analysis of land deals, rural unrest and political crisis, is an up to date account both of the elements that led to unrest under Meles Zenawi and his successor Hailemariam Dessalegn and which eventually led to Hailemariam’s resignation in favour of Abiy. As always, Dessalegn presents a succinct and well documented analysis which serves well as the final chapter of this book. Also the chapter on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), by US scholars D. K. Hudson and S. C. Roach addresses an issue in process still of national and regional importance and actuality.” – Harald Aspen, Associate professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

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Plant Ontogeny: Studies, Analyses and Evolutionary Implications

“Dr. Diego Demarco has gathered in this book a large cast of researchers of recognized relevance in studies of plant morphogenesis. This book addresses different plant structures with an emphasis on ontogenetic processes. The various chapters cover topics ranging from case studies to texts with revisionary emphasis and allow us to realize the relevance of ontogeny for the understanding of plant structures or organs. The focus on the processes of development and morphogenesis gives the different chapters the proper interrelationship, which makes this work a reference in these aspects so little explored in the textbooks. Therefore, this book deserves attention not only for the peculiarity of its focus on morphogenesis but also for its potential as an educational resource, being relevant to both scientists and students.” – Dr. Élder Antônio Sousa Paiva, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

“This book is a very important contribution to plant morphology: original studies on ontogeny of flowers and secretory structures, on development of leaves and of specialized organs of parasitic plants, and on the diversity and development of arrangements of inflorescences, provided by prominent researchers, bringing new light to our knowledge of the structure, biology and evolution of several groups of vascular plants. The high quality of the book contents reinforces the persisting relevance of accurate anatomical analysis to botany.” – Dr. José Rubens Pirani, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our increased understanding of the phylogenetic relationships of plants makes it possible to revisit the organismic world in all its beautiful details. This contribution is an excellent illustration of the importance of combining anatomical and developmental studies, as it is clear that we know so little about the structure of plants. The book is a welcome addition to our understanding of developmental processes in the morphology of plants. Although the writing of “Plant Ontogeny” appears as an almost entirely Brazilian enterprise, it highlights a welcome Renaissance in morphological studies that appears to take the lead mainly outside Europe.” – Dr. Louis P. Ronse De Craene – Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK

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Social Policy on the Cusp: Values, Institutions and Change

“Human societies have made enormous progress during the course of the last century, but few seem satisfied with the status quo. Wars, disease and the devastating consequences of intense material inequalities such as prejudice, discrimination and social conflict plague the modern era. Yet scholars of social policy struggle to put forward convincing solutions. Professor Mohan and his colleagues deliver a coherent and credible response to this challenge. As well as setting out a comprehensive explanation of today’s economic and social problems, they provide an alternative way of thinking about the future of social justice as a normative and political ideals. In articulating these insights, this book will be essential reading for scholars and students of the social sciences, and practitioners in a range of public and other human services.” – Dr. Mark Hyde, Plymouth University, Plymouth, United Kingdom

“Based on the conceptual, illustrative, and prescriptive perspectives, two bright scholars on two sides of the Atlantic and sharing a common vision of a better world, have combined their efforts to produce this excellent work on futuristic social policy applicable globally… Functional and dysfunctional factors have been pointed out and their outcomes for human condition have been suggested using the European models where hope and happiness is slowly to take the place of despair and destruction. The work is monumental in content and scope and of extreme importance to scholars and students of social policy in different cross-cultural contexts.” – Satish Sharma, Professor and Former Director, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

“This is a fascinating book about the possibilities to find algorithmic solutions for the big problems facing today’s politicians and designers of social policy. We are entering a new world with ever expanding possibilities to use digital techniques to solve many of the urgent problems that face contemporary societies all over the world. The authors discuss both the benefits and the risks of using advanced technology to promote the pursuit of equality and sustainability that play such a big role in the public discussion today.” – Leif Nordberg, Professor emeritus (Statistics and Econometrics), Åbo Akademi University, Finland

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An Interdisciplinary Approach towards Academic Education on Sustainable Building Design

“The monograph is clearly structured and written in a way that can serve as a tool for various experts and professors in the field of sustainable building design education. The topics presented cover some of the key aspects of sustainability in contemporary building design. Through individual chapters, a strong integration of scientific research findings into the educational process is visible, as individual research topics emerge as guidelines for teaching and effective collaboration through interdisciplinarity.” READ MORE…Nataša Ćuković Ignjatović, PhD MSc.Arch BSc.Arch LEED AP BD+C, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architectural Technologies, Belgrade, Serbia

“I recommend this manuscript for publication as a scientific monograph that can be used in university teaching and which could serve as an incentive for academics to think about starting new courses based on different forms of teaching while engaging experts from different scientific fields.” READ MORE…Dr. Lea Petrović Krajnik, Assistant Professor, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban Planning, Spatial Planning and Landscape Architecture, Zagreb, Croatia

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Understanding the Schrödinger Equation: Some [Non]Linear Perspectives

“The book contains various approaches to the Schrödinger equation (SE) as a fundamental equation of quantum mechanics. In Chapter 1, a new pedagogical paradigm is proposed which allows one to understand quantum mechanics as an extension of probability theory; its purpose is providing alternative methods to understand the Schrödinger equation. Chapter 2 is devoted to the derivation of SE from the classical Hamiltonian by some procedure of second quantization. In Chapters 3–5, the authors consider the nonlinear SE with many applications: from nonlinear waves in deep water to formation of a cosmogonical body, surface gravity waves, superconductivity and nonlinear optics. The goal of Chapter 6 is to establish the connection of Schrödinger, Madelung and Gross-Pitaevskii equations. Chapter 7, “Paradigm of infinite dimensional phase space,” describes the deep connection between SE and the infinite chain of equations for distribution functions of high-order kinematical values (Vlasov chain). The authors formulate the principles which allow one to combine and treat in unified form the physics of classical, statistical and quantum mechanical phenomena. And in final Chapter 8 it is shown that SE can be mathematically derived from Hamilton’s equation if one uses the metaplectic representation of canonical transformations. All that makes the book interesting for a wide community of physicists.” – E.E. Perepelkin, B.I. Sadovnikov (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Department of Quantum Statistics and Field Theory, Moscow, Russia), and N.G. Inozemtseva (Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics, Department of Physics, Moscow, Russia)

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The Word Confined: Bible Study in an American Prison

“This book is a gift to all those wanting to bring effective and significant biblical instruction to the incarcerated as it is a guide that bridges the gap between the Church and the Prison Community for effective biblical training, learning and spiritual enhancement.” – Reverend Dr. Thomas L. Brown, Pastor Emeritus, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, Professor at Martin University, Radio Host for the Harambee Broadcast, Instructor in Yoga Meditation

“What is amazing about Charles Atkins’ book is that he succeeds in interpreting a very long and very committed experience in prison chaplaincy with a very deep and a very extensive knowledge of penitentiary studies, adult education and Christian theology.” – Reverend Dr. Olivier Bauer, Professeur Ordinaire, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

“Charles Atkins, Jr. places transformative religious education and transformative learning at the center of an approach to prison ministry that supports these pathways of development. This work centers on reflection and dialogue in an intentional environment where bible study meets the daily life concerns of late adolescents and young adults who seek to reconstruct their lives even as they dwell within the walls of incarceration. The Word Confined: Bible Study in American Prison provides a roadmap for a fresh constructivist approach to prison ministry.” – Dr. James P. Keen, Co-author of Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World,/I>; Former Vice President and Professor at Antioch College; Former Millicent Fenwick Distinguished Research Professor at Monmouth University; Founding Executive Director of the Governor’s School of New Jersey; Visiting faculty in Applied Theology at Harvard Divinity School

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Science Organizations and Careers: Essential Tensions

“Daryl Chubin gives the reader insights that only being fully self-consciously on the margin of science education and science policy could provide. These are not mere reminiscences. Rather, he focuses an analytical lens on the nation’s decades-long efforts to integrate women and historically underrepresented minorities into science.” – Sheila Tobias, author of Overcoming Math Anxiety and They’re Not Dumb, They’re Different

“Daryl Chubin provides compelling insights from his transformative and varied career paths that swerved in several significant directions. This is revealed in his statement, “When I went to Washington in 1986, I was a researcher. I became something else.” This gives a concise glimpse of his four decades in roles from an academic to senior governmental employee to substantive roles in non-governmental organizations as an individual committed to advancing equity. Chubin’s experiences and reflections are well worth reading.” – Henry Frierson, Associate Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School, University of Florida

Essential Tensions is both an outsider memoir and an insider view of an era and a cause. Both heartfelt and analytical, it captures the restless trajectory of a champion of social justice.” – Allan Fisher, co-author of Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

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What a Life: From Nazi Germany via Neo-Marxism to American Academia

Salomon Rettig remembers almost more than he can bear: his mother’s songs in Russian; his escape into books which had to be sold before the Nazis discovered them; the beatings and humiliation he suffered as a Jewish child on the streets of Berlin; sitting in class under a portrait of Hitler; the Jewish orphanage and journey aboard the Galilee to Palestine; the record player, the lover, and the tractors on a kibbutz; and then the U.S., the English language, the path to chairing a university psychology department, and life as a husband and father in New York. But the empirical details are not enough for Rettig. With his wide-ranging thinking in the social sciences and a commitment to seeing things for himself, he struggles to make sense of the programmatic, murderous violence of the Third Reich; the failed idealism of the kibbutz movement in pre-1948 Palestine; “the spirit of America” in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s; and his own feelings of alienation from systems, countries, and people. Sadness and frustration are on every page. But so is Rettig’s indefatigable curiosity about what it means to be a human being, whether in extraordinary or everyday circumstances, and his faith that with communication comes connection: “If I could even conceive of belonging,” Rettig writes, “then there was some tiny glint of hope … [that] I might someday find refuge.”
Mark Dow, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, Hunter College, NY USA; Author of Plain Talk Rising (poems) and American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

Salomon Rettig’s memoir documents his childhood as a Jew in Nazi Germany, his exodus to Israel whereby he escaped the holocaust, his coming of age on a Kibbutz, and his immigration to the United States after the war where he became a social psychologist. His story is emotionally gripping and haunting, and provides a timely account of the processes and consequences of authoritarianism on a personal and collective level. Rettig inspires the reader with his resilience. READ MORE…Gregory Bovasso, Ph.D., Community College of Philadelphia, USA

“Overall, I believe the book is intensely rich. As a historical reference, it provides a vivid, first-hand view of life during the absolutely insane, brutality of Nazi Germany. As an auto-biography I was particularly intrigued to learn more about the depth of the author’s incredible experiences and the direct ties to the multifaceted view of who he is as a person in all his complexity. It was also extremely interesting to follow the philosophical perspectives within a complex existential web. The connections between realities, thought and behavior were also very compelling psychology revealing deep understanding of human behavior. The linguistic descriptions were also extremely colorful, descriptive and captivating.” – Stephen D. Steinhaus, PhD, HRA Consultant

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Palestine: Past and Present

“The ostracisation of Palestine by the international community to facilitate its exploitation by colonial Israel is portrayed excellently in Palestine Past and Present. This collection of academic essays, presents a concise yet thorough assessment of specific issues related to Palestine, illustrating the importance of historical reference and contiguity to contextualise the current political trajectories that have consistently disadvantaged the Palestinian struggle for rights, independence and statehood.” To read the full review that was published in the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), click hereRamona Wadi, independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger

On the whole, a fascinating volume, insightful, analytical and is a must for students of the Arab Israeli conflict, Palestinian politics, and Middle East politics. I would use the book myself for my senior classes on politics of the Middle East. The editors and authors must be congratulated. While the theme of the book is not new, it breaks new ground in giving a kind of “devil’s advocate”-type approach, that tries to refigure the debate by factoring into the equation injustices exacted on the Palestinians. However, in doing so it maintains a balanced analysis, framed within known methods of analysis. The book oozes with added value. – Larbi Sadiki, Professor, Qatar University, Qatar

For more information about this book, please click here.