In September we will be reading three selections that fit the theme “Rebellion: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”: Walden and Civil Disobedience by, Henry David Thoreau, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by, Jeanne Theoharis, and Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century by, Marc Sageman.
Walden and Civil Disobedience by, Henry David Thoreau.
'If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.' Disdainful of America's growing commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau left Concord, Massachusetts, in 1845 to live in solitude in the woods by Walden Pond. Walden, the classic account of his stay there, conveys at once a naturalist's wonder at the commonplace and a Transcendentalist's yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. But even as Thoreau disentangled himself from worldly matters, his solitary musings were often disturbed by his social conscience. 'Civil Disobedience', expressing his antislavery and antiwar sentiments, has influenced nonviolent resistance movements worldwide. Michael Meyer's introduction points out that Walden is not so much an autobiographical study as a 'shining example' of Transcendental individualism. So, too, 'Civil Disobedience' is less a call to political activism than a statement of Thoreau's insistence on living a life of principle.
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by, Jeanne Theoharis.
Born in rural Alabama 100 years ago, Rosa Parks grew up picking cotton from sunrise to sunset. Raised by a devoted single mother, she attended segregated schools and faced daily oppression in the Jim Crow south. But contrary to popular myth, Parks had a long history of fighting back, even before she refused to give up her seat on that Montgomery bus: a young Parks once tossed a brick at a white boy who teased her brother. Later, Parks joined her NAACP branch and worked to register black voters and end housing discrimination. And her activism continued even after she left Alabama for Detroit. A new biography on the life of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty First Century by, Marc Sageman.
In the post-September 11 world, Al Qaeda is no longer the central organizing force that aids or authorizes terrorist attacks or recruits terrorists. It is now more a source of inspiration for terrorist acts carried out by independent local groups that have branded themselves with the Al Qaeda name. Building on his previous groundbreaking work on the Al Qaeda network, forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman has greatly expanded his research to explain how Islamic terrorism emerges and operates in the twenty-first century.In "Leaderless Jihad," Sageman rejects the views that place responsibility for terrorism on society or a flawed, predisposed individual. Instead, he argues, the individual, outside influence, and group dynamics come together in a four-step process.
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Reminder: We usually choose 2-3 books per month. You're welcome at our meeting whether you read all or none of the books. We read fiction, nonfiction, and plays, and usually try to cover 1 piece of classic literature monthly. We read books reviewed or mentioned on NPR, and try to mirror NPR's tone at our meetings: thoughtful, polite discussion & commentary, with no arguing or posturing, and no sacred cows or unmentioned elephants in the room.
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