by Alice Walker
From Publishers Weekly
Often rambling and occasionally pedantic, the essays in Walker's latest collection can also be stunningly insightful. Mixing prose with poetry, she discusses Martin Luther King, feminism and meditation, among other subjects, always circling back to themes of integrity and activism. The most substantial entries are based on live lectures. In a speech to the graduating class of the California Institute of Integral Studies, Walker urges that we not fear the pause that "wisdom requires" when "something major is accomplished," despite our eagerness to rush into "The Future." She manages to show how this "moment of reflection" is natural and necessary, whether the defining event is college graduation, menopause or the buildup to a military invasion. Her 2002 lecture, "I Call That Man Religious," argues that Fidel Castro is a "truly religious man" because he "speaks out for the rights of the poor," in contrast to the Catholic Church, which hid its priests' abuse of children for so long. More contradictory is "Crimes Against Dog," in which she describes a visit to buy a labrador retriever and her discomfort at the similarity between dog breeders and slaveholders, but doesn't consider getting a mutt. Despite the annoying inclusion of homework-like assignments at the end of most essays, this book will inspire hope. (Dec.)
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A beautifully packaged book of spiritual ruminations with a progressive political edge, from the incomparable Pulitzer Prize-winner—a woman who has devoted her life to befriending the earth.
From the Introduction: "In fact, the happiness that imbues this kind of (impersonal) friendship, whether for an individual or a country, or an act, is like an inner light, a compass we might steer by as we set out across the lengthening darkness. It comes from the simple belief that what one is feeling and doing is right. That it is right to protect rather than terrorize others; right to feed people rather than withhold food (and medicine); right to want the freedom and joyful existence of all human kind. Right to want this freedom and joy for all creatures that exist already, or that might come into existence. Existence, we are now learning, is not finished! It is a happiness that comes from honoring the peace or the possibility of peace that lives within one's own heart. A deep knowing that we are the earth—our separation from Earth perhaps our greatest illusion—and that we stand, with gratitude and love, by our planetary Self.
Author of the perennially bestselling novel The Color Purple, Alice Walker has long been a force for sanity in a chaotic world. In We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For she draws on her deep spiritual grounding, her political conviction and experience, and her literary gifts to offer a series of meditations filled with wisdom, hope, encouragement, and, at times, serenity to a world in need of all these things. The perfect gift for Alice Walker fans and anyone who longs for peace, on earth and within, this lovely volume will be embraced for its wise insights and mature compassion.