The Utne Weeder

Our staff's selection of good reads

| May/June 1999 Issue

Sacred Legacies: Healing Your Past and Creating a Positive Future by Denise Linn (Ballantine Wellspring, $23). If we investigate the psychological roots and branches of our family trees, says Linn, we will not only find and celebrate inherited strengths and talents; we can also define and repair unhealthy family beliefs and behaviors, creating a better legacy for ourselves and our descendants.
--Andrea Martin

Cities in Civilization by Peter Hall (Pantheon, $40). In this hefty volume, Hall studies various cities at the height of their glory (Athens in 500 B.C.E.; Paris at the turn of the century; Memphis at the birth of rock íní roll) to see what makes them pulse with creative energy.
--Jay Walljasper

Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America by Jennifer Price (Basic Books, $23). How can you not like a nature book with a chapter on plastic pink flamingos? And an essay on the metaphors in Northern Exposure and Twin Peaks? This well-researched and--dare I say it?--funny book is a delight for scholars, nature lovers, and neophytes alike.
--Andy Steiner

A Return to Innocence: Philosophical Guidance in an Age of Cynicism by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, with Annie Gottlieb and Patrick Buckley (HarperCollins, $22). A challenging and intimate series of letters between Schwartz and 16-year-old Buckley provides the backdrop for an instructive guide to friendship and sexuality, courage and consequence, and the terrifying journey to adulthood.
--Craig Cox

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden. (Atlantic Monthly, $24). Bowdenís wrenching account of the 1993 battle between Somalis and Americans in the streets of Mogadishu reads like the Vietnam War on fast-forward, raising deep questions about American foreign policy and military leadership.
--Jeremiah Creedon

The Ice Palace That Melted Away: Restoring Civility and Other Lost Virtues to Everyday Life by Bill Stumpf (Pantheon, $21). The designer of the ergonomic chair shares his quirky senses of humor and humaneness in this small gem of a book, as he proposes new standards for--among other ordinary opportunities for life-enriching innovation--pubs and public potties, taxicabs and jails.
--Cathy Madison

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