Books of the week review
Here are three suggested titles for summer reading pleasure.
The first is
“Original Politics: Making America Sacred Again.” In it Albuquerque author Glenn Aparicio Parry revisits a subject historians have studied – Native America’s early contributions to America’s political concepts.
For one, Parry says, give the Iroquois the credit they deserve because they gave American colonists the ideas for a participatory democracy and for unifying as a confederation.
And Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine were inspired by Native America’s egalitarianism in proclaiming the colonies’ independence from kings, Parry states.
Parry’s wide-ranging book moves forward in time, exploring the relevance of Native wisdom and political philosophy to the present-day.
The author urges Americans to replace the narrow centuries-old Western practice of linear thinking – the effect on just the human world – with circular thinking, by applying the still-valid Native concept of embracing humans and nature. “…we need to move with the knowledge that everything we do is interconnected,” Parry argues.
He believes that even in a worst case scenario, if the country had a fascist government, it doesn’t mean America can’t fulfill its ultimate sacred destiny to become a model of unity in diversity. He hopes the country can see itself for what it is now “and for the beautiful ideals that we began with, ideals influenced or directly appropriated from Native America …” Parry said.
“Original Politics” is the second volume of a planned trilogy; the first was “Original Thinking: A Radical Revisioning of Time, Humanity and Nature.” The third is to be about love.
Parry will be in conversation with radio host and producer Harlan McKosato in a virtual event on Zoom at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 24.
Those interested in attending should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. In response, Bookworks will send an email confirming the link in order to register for the free event.
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The second recommended title is “Victory from the Shadows: Growing Up in a New Mexico School for the Blind and Beyond.” The authors, who live in Albuquerque, are Gary Ted Montague, a person with low vision and the book’s subject, and his wife, Elaine Carson Montague.
The sensitively written memoir follows Gary’s years learning to adjust as a resident of the Alamogordo-based school and into the challenges of adulthood. He later retired from Sandia National Labs.
Perseverance is a major lesson his life conveys. Elaine Montague said she and her husband believe their book “will help erase some of the misconceptions that exist about the capabilities of those persons with vision loss (and help) to improve their opportunities for education and employment.” They also would like the book to be used in teacher-training programs.
“Victory from the Shadows” won first prize in the Adult Non-Fiction (Biography) category awarded by the National Federation of Press Women in its 2020 Professional Communications Contest.
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The third book is “Wrenched from the Land: Activists Inspired by Edward Abbey.” The volume contains the thoughts of 16 activists expressed in interviews by ML Lincoln, an author and the producer/director of the film documentaries “Wrenched” and “Drowning River.”
Among the activists interviewed are Santa Fean Jack Loeffler, an aural historian of indigenous and Native cultures; Terry Tempest Williams, a Utah native whose voice combines ecological consciousness and ethical social change; Shonto Begay, a Navajo artist who is an activist for environmental rights; and Charles “Chuck” Bowden, who was the first American to write about the anarchy from the Mexican drug wars and border violence.
Abbey, who died in 1989, is remembered for his books “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” “Desert Solitaire” and “The Brave Cowboy,” which was adapted to the screen and retitled “Lonely Are the Brave.” Lincoln and Diane Sward Rapaport edited the book.