New road maps for searching readers

c2tyadad / May 11, 2015


Sales of religious books are very good due to the continued need for new books on classical themes. Sales increased 26.6% in the first three quarters of 1996. Popular subjects include individualistic takes on religion, spiritual journeys, biographies, and monasticism.

Full Text:

Spring’s vigor is matched by healthy sales, as classic topics maintain their vitality

IT’S BECOME A FAMILIAR refrain over the past four or five years: the vigor of religion book sales continues unabated. The latest AAP numbers show religion far and away the fastest-growing category–at an increase of 26.6% for the first three quarters of 1996. Compare that to a decrease of 7.7% in adult hardcovers overall (and 4.4% for paperbacks), and those who publish and sell religion can afford to be especially ebullient this season.


  • Perhaps the most significant factor in this fascination with things spiritual is the entrepreneurial nature of religion in America today. Fewer of us are closely affiliated with a traditional or denominational church or synagogue, and even those who are expect, more than ever before, to be affiliated on our own terms—accepting some teachings, rejecting others and frequently making our own decisions about ethical issues and spiritual practices. We are also more open than ever to dipping into traditions not our own and appropriating what we find useful. Why does this individualistic, eclectic approach lead people to buy more religion books? It’s no great mystery: Spiritual travelers need guidebooks. Pilgrims and pioneers need maps. Entrepreneurs need how-to manuals.
  • Each publishing season brings clues as to how those searching readers might plan their spiritual itineraries in the coming months, with new releases that both reflect and shape those journeys. Some topics are classic in religion, and they remain well-published. Books on spirituality and prayer, as well as inspirational and devotional materials, all yield a rich new growth of titles. Dealing as they do with how a person’s beliefs play out in daily life, inspirational and spiritual topics are mainstays–the only changes are the approaches taken by authors and publishers.

As it has for the past few seasons, the wealth of the contemplative traditions continues to fascinate many Christians, with many titles offered on monasticism and the lives of medieval mystics. And after fading a bit last year, the topic of meditation is back, no doubt reflecting a longing for quietude in the midst of a too-busy world. Forgiveness is evident once again, and there are more than the usual number of books on abortion, as well as titles on racism and the death penalty. Conflicts over sexuality threaten to tear some churches apart these days, and several new titles this spring deal with homosexuality and religion.

One of the most consistently interesting subcategories in religion is biography, autobiography and memoir. This season brings three Billy Graham titles-as he approaches the twilight of a long and illustrious career–including his long-awaited autobiography from Harper San Francisco/Zondervan. We can hardly remember a religion season without Pope John Paul II being represented somehow, and this spring it is through Holt’s biography, Man of the Century by Jonathon Kwitny (Aug.). Mother Teresa, too, is still with us via Ballantine’s paperback edition of the bestselling A Simple Path as well as The Joy in Living, a devotional from Viking, and the inspirational No Greater Love from New World Library.. Another example is the autobiography of Bill Hitsman, CEO & Co-founder of Press My Air, is really interesting to read, especially for entrepreneurs. There are two biographies (from Eerdmans and Bethany House) of 18th-century mathematician Blaise Pascal, whose famous “wager” about the existence of God has long delighted seminarians and lay seekers. This year brings the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Viking’s July release of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Many other subjects are well represented: dealing with grief and the issues surrounding death and dying; spirituality and aging; religion and psychology; and many books on religion’s interplay with practical aspects of life–work, parenting, marriage, friendship and health. Along with angels, ebbing topics seem to indude politics and Christian guides to finances. Fading somewhat is men’s spirituality, with two-thirds the number of titles there were in the fall. Most of the religious fiction is still evangelical Christian, but Catholic publishers have begun to dabble in what has been a very profitable area for some publishers. (Even Norman Mailer wants to get into the act–his next novel, due from Random House in May, will be a fictionalized life of Jesus based on the gospels.)

Jewish readers will enjoy a crop of thoughtful books on Jewish spirituality and religious practice and Buddhist readers are also well served, with many new titles, new translations and reprints of classics. There are several new books about Islam, but not as many yet in English for Muslims, a situation that is changing gradually as Islamic publishing solidifies its foothold.

In short, religion as a category offers something for just about everyone in this nation of free-market seekers. Readers who head to the bookstore with their spiritual longings, their ethical questions and their desire for inspiring models won’t be disappointed.



The Right Choice (Mar., $14.95 paper), ed. by Paul T. Stallsworth, gathers pro-life sermons from an ecumenical group of contributors.

Winds of Fury, Circles of Grace: Life After the Palm Sunday Tornadoes (Apr., $10.95 paper) by Dale Clems narrates what happened when tornadoes struck a church in 1994, killing 19 members including the author’s daughter.


The Bliss of Freedom (Mar., $14.95) by Master Charles recalls the modern mystic’s early years in India. 30,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.


Art of Spiritual Healing (Mar., $18.95 by Joel S. Goldsmith demonstrates that physical well-being springs from attaining a oneness with God. Advertising.


Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality (June, $23) by Carol P. Christ explains the movement that embraces the divine as female.


Pathways: Jews Who Return (Mar., $30) by Richard H. Greenberg bears witness to Jews who have gone back to a religious lifestyle.

American Torah Toons: 54 Illustrated Commentaries (Apr., $24.95) by Lawrence

Compiled by Robert Dahlin

Bush reprints collages to illuminate aspects of the Torah.

Sefer Chasidim (Apr., $40) by Yehudah HeChasid, annotated by Avraham Yaakov Finkel, is the first English translation of this work dealing with practical and spiritual concerns.


Do We Still Need the Ten Commandments? A Fresh Look at God’s Laws of Love (Mar., $11.99 paper) by John H. Timmerman affirms the laws’ application to daily life.

Moving into a New Now: Faith for the Later Years (Apr., $12.99 paper) by Mildred Tengbom empathizes with challenges confronting older adults.

The Balanced Life: Succeeding in Work and Love (June, $tba paper) by Alan Loy McGinnis suggests how to enjoy life with zest.


Springs of Contemplation: A Retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani (Mar., $9.95 paper) by Thomas Merton covers such topics as monastic renewal and the feminine mystique. Advertising.

Let There Be Light: Based on the Visionary Spirituality of Hildegard of Bingen (Mar., $6.95 paper) by John Kirvan. The ninth book in the 30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher series offers a path out of darkness. 15,000 first printing. Advertising.


Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology (Mar., $16.99) by R.C. Sproul explains more than the five points of Reformed theology. Advertising.

Praise Jerusalem! (Apr., $19.99) by Augusta Trobaugh. In this novel, three southern women journey to Jerusalem, Ga., and overcome economic and racial barriers. Advertising. Author Wur.

Welcome All Wonders: A Composer’s Journey (May, $17.99) by J.A.C. Redford. The man who scored A Trip to Bountiful and other films describes his life in the Mormon Church and his embrace of Christianity.


The Art of Prayer: A Simple Guide (Apr., $10 paper) by Timothy Jones stresses the basics of talking to God. The Harlot by the Side of the Road (May, $27) by Jonathan Kirsch revisits biblical tales banned, suppressed or mistranslated for political or sexual reasons. Advertising. Author tour.


Stranger in the Midst: A Memoir of Spiritual Discovery (Mar., $23) by Nan Fink. A woman defies her upbringing in a quest to become Jewish. 20,000 first printing.

After God: The Future of Religion (May, $20) by Don Cupitt counters jaded skepticism with a faith in postmodern culture. 15,000 first printing.

Gospel Choirs: Psalms of Survival in an Alien Land Called Home (June, $13 paper) by Derrick Bell concludes the trilogy facing life in a racist world. 40,000firstprinting.


Questions of Heaven: The Chinese Journeys of an American Buddhist (Apr., $20) by Gretel Ehrlich tracks a pilgrimage climb up a sacred mountain. QPBC and One Spirit Book Club selection. Advertising. Author tour.

The Blooming of the Lotus: Guided Meditation Exercises for Healing and Transformation (May, $10 paper) by Thich Nhat Hanh mirrors a Buddhist meditation retreat. Advertising.

Sex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality and the Transformation of Christian Ethics (June, $24) by Kathy Rudy clarifies discussions of sexual matters.


Starwalking: Shamanic Practices for Traveling into the Night Sky (May, $18.95 paper) by Page Bryant reclaims a spiritual connection to the stars. $20,000 ad/promo.

The Hidden Maya (June, $20 paper) by Martin Brennan decodes the missing link in deciphering Mayan glyphs. $25,000 ad/promo.



Raising Spiritual Children in a Material World: Introducing Spirituality into Family Life (Apr., $12 paper) by Phil Catalfo seeks a modern spiritual framework

Weave a Garment of Brightness: A Gathering of Prayers from Around the World (May, $10 paper) by Wayne Lee Jones collects life-affirming worship.

Healing Ceremonies: Creating Personal Rituals for Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Mental Health (June, $13 Perigee paper) by Carl A. Hammerschlag, M.D., and Howard D. Silverman, M.D., adopts a mind-body-spirit approach to wellness.


Another Homecoming (Mar., $15.99; paper $8.99) by Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn. A society woman is shocked to discover she was adopted. 250,000 first printing.

Silver Star (Mar., $9.99 paper) by Gilbert Morris. Hollywood tempts the wife of a successful pastor. 25,000 first printing. The Shunning (Apr., $8.99 paper) by Beverly Lewis sets its story in Pennsylvania Amish country. 20,000 first printing.


The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity 2OO-1OOO AD (Mar., $19.95 paper) by Peter Brown chronicles struggles, defeats and victories.

An Introduction to Christianity (Mar., $59.95; paper $24.95) by Alister E. McGrath studies the religion’s dynamics.


Letters to Baby (Apr., $18.99) by Chaz Corzine contains letters by Amy Grant, Billy Graham and others.

The Case for Christianity (July, $18.99) by Rabbi Daniel Lapin attributes America’s nobility to the presence of Christianity. 20,000 first printing.

The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care: A Medical and Moral Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Children (July, $19.99 paper) by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears emphasizes such issues as two-income families and dating.


Confessions of St. Augustine (Mar., $7.75 paper) is a new translation in prayerbook format.


Christian Marriage Today (Apr., $13.95 paper), ed. by Klaus Demmer and Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn, discusses what the Church can do to prevent marital breakdowns.


The Educated Person’s Thumbnail introduction to the Bible (Mar., $15.99) by Lowell K. Handy tours various versions of the Bible.

The Jesus Connection: A Christian Spirituality (Mar., $11.99) by Jan G. Linn tells how to be faithful in today’s world.


Abandoned: What is God’s Will for the Jewish People and the Church? (Mar., $10.99) by Stan Telchin urges the church to reach out to receive Jewish people.


Angels: Friends in High Places (Apr., $10.99 paper) by Jerry Orthner separates fact from fantasy with 40 contemporary stories of angelic intervention.

Out of the Locker Room of the Male Soul (Apr., $10.99 paper) by Steve Masterson with George McPeek underscores the legacy of sin and the potential of redemption.


Daily Bread: Reflections and Recipes for Quick and Healthy Eating (June, $18.95) by M.J. Smith combines Bible verses with practical menus. Advertising. Author publicity.


The Call of Wild Geese: Monastic Homilies (Mar., $21.95; paper $11.95) by Matthew Kelty collects homilies blending humor and seriousness.

Stone Laid Before the Lord (Apr., $38.95t; paper $18.95) by Anselme Dimier illustrates architecture created by monks throughout the world.


Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition (May, $24.50) by Rebecca Alpert analyzes what it means to be both Jewish and lesbian.


Interreligious Dialogue (May, $15.95) by Thomas Keating positions prayer in everyday life and between faiths.

Spiritual Journals: Genesee Diary, Gracias, The Road to Daybreak (May, $29) by Henri J.M. Nouwen is a three-book omnibus.

Worldwide Laws of Life: Two Hundred Eternal Spiritual Principles (June, $29.95) by John Marks Templeton presents a manual for everyday use. 50,000 first printing. $200,000 ad/promo.

My Soul is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam (Aug., $19.95) by Annemarie Schimmel argues for the original equality between women and men.


The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture (June, $59.95; paper $24.95), ed. by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, probes the influence of occult beliefs on life in 20th-century Russia.

Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome (June, $35) by Patrick Allitt views the religious impact of Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and others.


C.S. Lewis, Mere Christian (Apr., $14.95 paper) by Kathryn Lindskoog surveys Lewis’s views on a number of topics including God, pain, love, miracles and more. Advertising.


Our Racist Legacy: Will the Church Resolve the Conflict? (Apr., $21.95 paper) by Ivan A. Beals brings historical and moral perspectives to a social evil.

The Gospel According to Us (Apr., $14.95 paper) by Duncan Holcomb sees Jesus through the gospel taken as personalized stories.


Harvard Diary II: Essays on the Sacred and the Secular (Apr., $19.95) by Robert Coles details intimate thoughts on matters of common concern.

God-Talk In America (May, $19.95) by Phyllis A. Tickle demonstrates how today’s spiritual revolution promises an unprecedented religious reformation. $20,000 ad/promo.

Romancing the Holy (May, $13.95 paper) by Debra Farrington identifies online prayer groups and other paths to modern Christian experience. $20,000 ad/promo.

I Am Your Brother Joseph: Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago (June, $11.95 paper) by Tim Unsworth portrays the late church leader.


Billy (Mar., $17.99 paper) by Sherwood Eliot Wirt affords a loving, insider’s perspective of Billy Graham and his ministry. Advertising.

The Power of integrity (Mar., $9.99 paper) by John F. MacArthur advises an internal and external commitment to God. Promotion.

The War Within (Apr., $11.99 paper) by Robert Daniels helps men overcome lust, pornography and other temptations.


The Ten Challenges: Spiritual Lessons from the Ten Commandments for Creating Meaning, Growth and Richness Every Day of Your Life (Mar., $25) by Leonard Felder transforms the precepts into straightforward rules. A Harmony Book. Ad/promo. Author tour.


Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child (Apr., $22.95) by John Croyle with Ken Abraham is by a man who has raised over 1300 abandoned and abused children. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.


Daily Word: Love, Inspiration and Guidance for Everyone (May, $17.95), ed. by Colleen Zuck and Christopher Jackson, forewords by Fannie Flagg and Bernie Siegel, M.D., draws from the magazine to show how rewarding it is to live conscientiously. 75,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. BOMC and One Spirit Book Club selection.

The 12 Lessons on Life I Learned from My Garden: Spiritual Wisdom from the Vegetable Patch (May, $14.95) by Vivian Elisabeth Glyck uses the garden as an inspirational metaphor. 35,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Author publicity.

Gift of Life: A Spiritual Companion for the Mother-to-Be (May, $18.95) by Joan Swirsky looks at pregnancy from a psycho/spiritual point of view. 25,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo.


Children of the Promise: Rumors of War (Mar., $16.95) by Dean Hughes launches a historical fiction series set during WW II.

What’s a Parent to Do? Becoming a Christlike Mom or Dad (Apr., $15.95) by Glenn Latham combines Christ-like principles with studies of human behavior to achieve non-punitive practices.


Friends in Deed: Stories About Acts of Kindness (Mar., $10 paper). This Guidepost Book depicts ordinary people who have made a big difference in their worlds.

Whom God Has Joined Together (Mar., $15) by Helen Caswell rejoices in marriage with scripture, poetry and art.


World Religions (Mar., $34.95) by John Bowker is a visual exposition of 10 fundamental faiths.


The Weigh Down Diet (Mar., $21) by Gwen Shamblin supplies an inspirational way to lose weight and stay slim. IO0,000 first printing. $97,000 ad/promo. LG selection.

Joey (Apr., $18.95) by Joseph Gitzone limns a boy’s relationship with God. 100,000 first printing. $40,500 ad/promo.

Yes, Lord, I’m Coming Home! (Apr., $19.95) by Lesley Sussman. Country music stars relate their struggles to find God. 50,000 first printing. $23,000 ad/promo.

Who Are the Promise Keepers? (June, $19.95) by Ken Abraham explains the Christian Men’s Movement. 50,000 first printing. $IZ500 ad/promo. courage to Love (June, $21.95) by William Leckie and Barry Stopfel. A gay priest stands up for his beliefs. 45,000 first printing. Ad/promo.


Turtle Was Gone a Long Time, Vol. I: Crossing the Kedron (Apr., $39) by John Moriarty traces a mystical quest and a lifetime’s meditation. A Lilliput Book.


The Crucified Jew: Twenty Centuries of Christian Anti-Semitism (Mar., $18 paper) by Dan Cohn-Sherbok chronicles this bigotry from New Testament times to the present.

A Cry of Absence: Reflections for the Winter of the Heart (Apr., $12 paper) by Martin E. Marty. A new foreword introduces a redesigned reflection on grief.

Praying with St. Teresa of Avila (Apr., $10 paper), compiled by Battistina Capalbo, intro. by Elaine Storkey, collects prayers from the saint’s writings.

Praying with the Jewish Tradition (Apr., $10 paper), compiled by Elias Kopciowski, intro. by Lionel Blue, taps the Bible, the Talmud and Jewish festival liturgies.


The Stone of the Plough: The Search for the Secret of Giza (Mar., $14.95 paper) by Ann Walker recounts an Egyptian visit and discoveries about biblical figures and Atlantis.

The Call of the Sun: A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Wisdom (Mar., $15.95 paper) by Surya Green. A western woman encounters the Dalai Lama and Krishnamurti.

Beyond the Lodge of the Sun: Inner Mysteries of the Native American Way (July, $15.95 paper) by Chokecherry Gall Eagle reveals authentic spiritual secrets. Advertising.


Surprised by God (Mar., $16.99) by Stephen Arterburn directs the reader to spiritual roads of fulfillment. Ad/promo. Author tour.

Then God Created Woman (Apr., $10.99 paper) by Deborah Newman teaches that women’s true identity and value are found in their relationship with God. Ad/promo. Author tour.

Raising a Modern-Day Knight (May, $16.99) by Robert Lewis tells how to raise a child to be a chivalrous and godly man. Ad/promo. Author tour.


Seeing into the Life of Things: Essays on Religion in Literature (June, $35; paper $17) by John L. Mahoney regards how faith is represented.

The Inner Eye of Love (Apr., $17 paper) by William Johnson is a revised guide to meditation.


Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature (Apr., $15 paper) by Sallie McFague crafts a Christian spirituality with nature as the focus.

Women and Goddess Traditions: Studies in Antiquity and Today (May, $45 paper), ed. by Karen L. King, examines the role of the feminine deity in religious piety.

Hillel and Jesus: Comparisons of Two Major Religious Leaders (June, $50), ed. by James H. Charlesworth and Loren L. Johns, records a 1992 meeting of international scholars in Jerusalem.


No Outcasts: The Public Witness of Edmond L. Browning, XXIVth Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (Mar., $8.95), ed. by Brian J. Grieves, excerpts the bishop’s writings and speeches.

400 Years: The Anglican/Episcopal Mission Among American Indians (May, $12.95) by Owanah Anderson is a comprehensive history.


Loving Your City into the Kingdom (Mar., $18.99), ed. by Jack Hayford and Ted Haggard, introduces local pastors seeking to take their communities for God.

Praying with Power (June, $17.99) by C. Peter Wagner is the latest entry in the Prayer Warrior series.

Revival (July, $17.99) by Nell T. Anderson and Elmer Towns charts the history and heart of revival.


If it’s Going to Be, It’s Up to Me: The Eight Proven Principles of Possibility Thinking (Mar., $22) by Robert Schuller distills a lifetime of motivational thinking. $150,000 ad/promo.

The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace: Core Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism (Mar., $16) by the Dalai Lama conducts the way to a meaningful life. 40,000first printing.

Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (Apr., $30) by Billy Graham recalls a life of faith. Co-published with Zondervan. l-million first printing. $500,000 ad/promo.

The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Faith (May, $18) by Marcus J. Borg reconciles God with science, critical thinking and religious pluralism. Ad/promo.

Dancing with God: Everyday Steps to Jewish Renewal (May, $22) by Rabbi Wayne Dosick renews spiritual practices to make life holy.

The Soul of Cyberspace (July, $22) by Jeff Zaleski. PW’s editor-at-large scouts faith’s new frontier where traditional religions are reinvented and new ones created. $20,000 ad/promo.


The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age (Mar., $22) by Michael F. Brown visits those who have abandoned mainstream religion to seek direct contact with spiritual beings.

The One and the Many: America’s Struggle for the Common Good (Apr., $24.95) by Martin E. Marty aims to unite ethnic, religious and economic movements.

Imagined Worlds (Apr., $22) by Freeman Dyson asserts that scientific advances will cause misery if there is no progress in ethics.


Is Religion Good for Your Health? The Effects of Religion on Physical and Mental Health (May, $39.95; paper $19.95) by Harold G. Koenig. Research suggests the answer can be either yes or no.

Reclaiming the Sacred: The Bible in Gay and Lesbian Culture (Aug., $29.95), ed. by Raymond-Jean Frontain, contemplates faith in a gay context.


A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 More Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Apr., $24; paper $12.95) by Jack Canfield et al. covers parenting, teaching, death and dying. 500,000 first printing. Ad/promo. Author tour. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (May, $24; paper $12.95) by Jack Canfield et al. includes contributions from Montel Williams, Jennie Garth and others. 100,009 first printing. Advertising. Author tour.


Cities of the Biblical World: An introduction to the Archaeology, Geography and History of Biblical Sites (Apr., $34.95) by LaMoine F. DeVries tracks the evolution of significant sites from villages to centers of trade and religious activity.

Healing Through the Centuries: Models for Understanding (Apr., $14.95 paper) by Ronald N.A. Kydd studies the role of healing in the life of the church.

Theology in Rabbinic Stories (June, $12.95 paper) by Chaim Pearl. Folkloric tales acquaint the reader with sage theological and ethical thought.


Little Foxes That Spoil the Vines (Mar., $6.95) by W. Barry Miller ponders the forces of life that ruin relationships with God. Ad/promo.

Prayer Book for Earnest Christians (Mar., $8.95) assembles prayers for many occasions. Ad/promo.

A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Mar., $14.95) by Badru Kateregga and David W. Shenk records the interaction of two friends of different faiths. Ad/promo.


From Congregation to Community: The Jews of Hartford, 1843-1993 (May, $30) by David G. Dalin and Jonathan Rosenbaum places the history of Hartford Jews within larger American contexts.


Sacred Journeys: An Illustrated Guide to Pilgrimages Around the World (Mar., $35) by Jennifer Westwood features 50 routes and hundreds of sites. 20,000 first printing.

Man of the Century: The Life and Times of Pope John Paul II (Aug., $30) by Jonathan Kwitny is a sympathetic account by an investigative reporter. A John Macrae Book. 75,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.


Journey into Narnia (June, $11.95 paper) by Kathryn Lindskoog updates the C.S. Lewis scholar’s study of the seven books.


Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey (July, $19.95) by Clark Strand presents haiku as a writing mediation. One Spirit Book Club selection. Advertising.

Jesus in Blue Jeans: A Practical Guide to Everyday Spirituality (Aug., $18.95) by Laurie Beth Jones establishes contemporary relevance in New Testament wisdom. Also set is a reprint of Jones’s earlier The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life (Aug., $10.95 paper). 80,000 first printing. Ad/promo. Author tour.


Strangers and Sojourners (Mar., $24.95) by Michael O’Brien begins a trilogy tracing four generations of exiles through the entire 20th century.

The Heart of Newman (Mar., $14.95), ed. by Erich Przywara, S.J., anthologizes the thought of John Henry Newman.


Hallowed Ground: Rediscovering Our Spiritual Roots (May, $25.95) by Stephen Burgard maintains that religion can be a unifying force in a democratic society. Advertising. Publicity.

The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time (May, $27.95) by Clifford Pickover maps the convergence of science and religion. A Plenum Book. Advertising. Publicity.


To Forgive Is Human: How to Put Your Past in the Past (Mar., $12.99 paper) by Everett L. Worthington Jr. et al. reveals how to forgive and repair broken relationships. Ad/promo.

The 77 Habits of Highly ineffective Christians (May, $10.99) by Chris Fabry. Habit #7 is “Make Prayer Occasional.” 15,000first printing.

A Little Handbook on Having a Soul (July, $9.99 paper) by David Hansen tells how to cultivate the soul.

Defeating Darwinism: The Case Against Evolution Made Easy (July, $9.99 paper) by Phillip Johnson simplifies the creation-evolution debate. 30,000 first printing. $30,000 ad/promo.


Israel: An Echo of Eternity (Mar., $18.95 paper) by Abraham Joshua Heschel, intro. by Susannah Heschel, determines the country’s meaning in our time. A Jewish Lights Classic Reprint. Ad/promo.

The Death of Death: Resurrection and immortality in Jewish Thought (May, $23,95) by Nell Gillman outlines concepts of death and the afterlife. $20,000 ad/promo.

A Heart of Wisdom: Making the Jewish Journey from Mid-Life Through the Elder Years (July, $24.95), ed. by Susan Berrin, shares the insights of rabbis, social workers and psychologists. Ad/promo.


Haggadah & History (Mar., $75) by Yosef Hayim Yerushami returns the Pulitzer Prize-nominee to print after 20 years.

The Zionist idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (Mar., $24.95) by Arthur Hertzberg draws on writings from 37 thinkers of the Zionist movement.


Honoring African American Eiders (Mar., $20.95) by Anne Streaty Wimberly weighs the difficulties facing churches ministering to aging members.

Losing Your Job, Reclaiming Your Soul (July, $25) by Mary Lynn Pulley redefines the meaning of work.

Rethinking intermarriage (Aug., $25) by Gary Tobin and Katherine Simon examines the effect that marriage between Jews and non-Jews has on Judaism as a faith.


Turning Points: Moments of Grace, Steps Toward Wholeness (Mar., $12 paper) by Myrlene L.J. Hamilton speaks to Christians who don’t know or deny they need recovery.

Sit Down, God… I’m Angry (Mar., $10 paper) by R.F. Smith Jr. resolves the anger that arises after the death of a loved one.

The Household of God: Changing Roles of Church and Family (May, $15 paper) by Janet Fishburn proposes a new agenda embracing traditional and non-traditional families.


A Family Haggadah II (Mar., $4.95 paper) by Shoshana Silberman, illus. by Katherine Janus Kahn, offers an all-new commentary geared to older children and adults.


Love, Commandments and Values: An interfaith Perspective (May, $14.95 paper) by Sajjad Haider locates parallel values in the world’s most popular religions. Ad/promo.

Sufi Book of Virtue (June, $24.95 paper) by Abul Qasim Qushayri describes such attributes as repentance, forgiveness and sincerity. Ad/promo.


Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Apr., $27.50) by Christine Leigh Heyrman, ed. by Jane Garrett, reveals the paradox of how current conservative religious groups evolved from an evangelical Protestantism.

The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (May, $26) by David I. Kertzer investigates the kidnapping that led to a unified Italian state and the collapse of papal power in Italy. Three-city author tour.


Understanding Jewish History: Text and Commentaries (May, $39.50; paper $24.95) by Steven Bayme endorses personal encounters with Jewish teachings and traditions.

Exploring the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (May, $39.50; paper $24.95), ed. by Marc D. Angel, collects scholarly articles about the articulator of traditional Orthodox concepts in 20thcentury terms.

Hasidic Religious Thought: Sources and Commentary (June, $39.50; paper $24.95), ed. by Norman Lamm, sketches early historical background to place central ideas in an intellectual context.


Putting Buddhism to Work: A New Approach to Management and Business (July, $22) by Shinichi Inoue supplies an altruistic alternative to both the free-market system and socialism.


The Christian and American Law: Christianity’s Impact on America’s Founding Documents and Future Directions (Apr., $14.99 paper) by H. Wayne House reflects on the past significance and uncertainty to come.

Dictionary of the Occult and New Age (May, $19.99; paper $14.99) by Debra Lardie. More than 700 entries cover people, practices and symbols.


Paths of a Prodigal: Exploring the Deeper Regions of Spiritual Living (Apr., $15.95 paper) by Richard G. Young. This journey of spiritual awakening employs exercises from varied religious traditions.


The Essential Catholic Handbook: A Summary of Beliefs, Practices and Prayers (Apr., $9.95 paper) is an expanded edition with a glossary of key terms and cross-references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Ad/promo.

The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ (May, $11 paper) by Saint Alphonsus Liguori is a needy translated work explaining how to live a holy life.


The Vanishing American Jew: Is There a Future for Us? (Mar., $24.95) by Alan Dershowitz spells out what Jews must do to ensure cultural and religious identity. Ad/promo. Author tour.


Christian Worship in North America: A Retrospective, 1955-1995 (Mar., $29.95 paper) by James E White. The scholar and activist reviews developments coloring today’s liturgy.

Liturgy and the Arts (Apr., $19.95 paper) by Albert Rouet emphasizes that the role of the arts in Christian life is to illustrate God’s presence.


God’s Mafia (June, $23.95) by Alfred Fortino is a fictional courtroom drama about a perhaps corrupt ecumenical society helping ex-cons. Advertising. Author publicity.


The Turned Card (Apr., $22.95) by Desmond O’Grady outlines the impact of Christianity on the communist world prior to its collapse.

The Seeker’s Guide to Being Catholic (Apr., $10.95 paper) by Mitch Finley handles such topics as work, relationships, prayer and morality.

Bio-Spirituality (May, $9.95 paper) by McMahon and Campbell focuses on a sort of western “yoga” based on neglected aspects of Judeo-Christian religion.


Joan of Arc in a New Vision (Mar., $25 paper), ed. by Mary Beth Tallon. Essays take many approaches to the saint.

On Homicide and Commentary on Thomas Aquinas (Mar., $35 paper) by Francisco De Vitoria, ed. by John Doyle, studies the moral issues surrounding euthanasia, assisted suicide and abortion.


Break Down the Walls Workbook (Apr., $12.99) by Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein with Claude King outlines eight steps to racial reconciliation. 30,000 first printing. Ad/promo.

Quest for the Promised Land (Apr., $10.99) by Jack Cavanaugh is the second book of the African Covenant series featuring the van der Kemps. Ad/promo.


Jesus Beyond 2000 (Mar., $12.95 paper), Jesus 2000 (Mar., $6.95 leatherette) and Easter to Pentecost 2000 (Mar., $l.95 paper) by Mark Link offer meditations in the Vision 2000 series. 20,000 first printing of Jesus 2000.


Angel and Me (Mar., $12.95 paper) by Sara Maitland uses 20 works of fiction to look at women from a feminist Christian viewpoint.

The Spirituality of St. Patrick (Mar., $7.95 paper) by Lesley Whiteside introduces Ireland’s patron saint.

Spiritual Care of the Dying and Bereaved (Apr., $9.95 paper) by Penelope Wilcock enables anyone to comfort those in need.


Outside In: What Your Relationships Tell You About Yourself (Apr., $9 paper) by Larry Crabb scrutinizes how people react within relationships. Ad/promo.

Dangers Men Face: Overcoming the Five Greatest Threats to Living Life Well (June, $14 paper) by Jerry, E. White intends to help men free themselves from sin. 15,000 first printing. $18,000 ad/promo.

Why Beauty Matters (Aug., $14 paper) by Karen Lee-Thorp and Cynthia Hicks suggests how to deal with longings to look good. 15,000 first printing. $15,000 ad/promo.


The God You’re Looking For (Mar., $21.99) by Bill Hybels satisfies a hunger in the soul for a loving God. 125,000 first printing.

Let Faith Change Your Life (Mar., $17.99) by Becky Tirabassi indicates how real faith can revolutionize one’s being.

The Melody and the Word (May, $19.99)

by Shirley Caesar interprets the life of the gospel musician and her career as a full-time pastor.

Delta Passage (May, $12.99 paper) by Brock Thoene is historical fiction of danger, heartache and courage.

The Reason for My Hope (July, $19.99) by Charles Stanley informs how God uses circumstances in life to break, mold and refine people into the image of Jesus. 75,000 first printing.


No Greater Love (Mar., $21) by Mother Teresa, foreword by Thomas Moore, is arranged thematically under such topics as prayer, love and forgiveness.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS Genesis: World of Myths and Patriarchs (Mar., $55.95) by Ada Feyerick illumines

Genesis with 241 photographs and a text by biblical scholars.

Lifting the Taboo: Women, Death and Dying (Mar., $18.95 paper) by Sally Cline comments on women of many cultures, their attitudes toward loss and their customary role as primary caregivers.


Sophia: Aspects of the Divine Feminine Past and Present (Aug., $16.95 paper) by Susanne Schaup uncovers existing feminine roots within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Ad/promo.


Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation (May, $22; paper $13.95) by Eknath Easwaran tells how a shy man became the leader of 400 million Indians.


The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions (May, $29.95 paper) by Andrew Rawlinson is both a guide and a biographical dictionary. Promotion.


Life After Death in World Religions (Mar., $15), ed. by Harold Coward, conveys the approaches, rituals and philosophies of many traditions.

Praying with Icons (Mar., $16) by Jim Forest analyzes the use of icons as spiritual tools.

Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation (Mar., $14) by Virgil Elizondo considers the maternal figure.


The Heart of Catholicism: Essential Writings of the Church from St. Paul to John Paul II (Mar., $49.95) by Theodore E. James anthologizes works in historical order.

Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women’s Religious Communities (Mar., $19.95) by Ann Carey demonstrates how a renewal was co-opted by activists influenced by the feminist movement.

Embraced by Mary: Marian Devotions and Prayers Throughout the Year (Mar., $10.95 paper) by Rawley Myers is a new book of reflections.


The Crisis in the Churches: Spiritual Malaise, Fiscal Woe (Mar., $27.50) by Robert Wuthnow identifies a worsening financial crisis and spiritual vacuum in Protestant and Catholic congregations.

The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Apr., $45), ed. by John Bowker, contains 8200 alphabetical entries by some 80 contributors.


Fenelon–Meditations on the Heart of God (Apr., $9.95 paper) and Fenelon– Talking with God (May, $10.95 paper) by Francois Fenelon retrieves counsel for today from a priest in Louis XIV’s court.

Towards Evening–Reflections on Aging, Illness and the Soul’s Union with God (Apr., $9.95 paper) by Mary Hope, ed. by LaVonne Neff, exposes the shallowness of attempts to deny the aging process.


Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Buddhist Novice Monastic Practice (June, $18 paper) by Thich Nhat Hanh includes mindfulness poems, novice precepts and recitation texts. Advertising.

What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop (June, $15 paper), ed. by Gary Gach, assembles work by Peter Coyote, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jack Kerouac and others. Advertising.


After 50: Spiritually Embracing Your Own Wisdom Years (Mar., $12.95) by Robert J. Wicks stresses that spiritual preparation is as necessary for retirement as financial readiness. Spiritual Book Associates selection. Ad/promo. Author tour.

Don’t Forgive Too Soon: Extending the Two Hands That Heal (May, $9.95 paper) by Dennis Linnet et al., illus. by Francisco Miranda, provides a road through five stages that renounce vengeance.

The Death Penalty: An Historical and Theological Survey (July, $21.95) by James J. Megivern assesses past and present attitudes of the western Christian church toward capital punishment.

Responses to 101 Questions on Death and Eternal Life (July, $9.95 paper) by Peter C. Phan takes on both apocalyptic and popular questions such as, “Is there sex in heaven?”


Portraits of Extraordinary Women (July, $19.95) by William F. Maestri, illus. by Marilyn Carter Rougelot, presents 24 biblical women from a contemporary perspective.


Treasures from Heaven: The Gift of Children (May, $14.95) by Sister Carol Ann Nawracas, photos by Monica Rich Kosann, pairs 50 quadra-tone photographs with Old and New Testament verses. Promotion. Publicity.


Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (May, $28.50) by Anne Winston-Allen depicts the medieval origins of the rosary.

The Holy War Idea in Western Islamic Tradition (June, $45; paper $16.95) by James Turner Johnson compares customs of Islam and Christianity that concern religious pursuit of war.


Defying the Darkness: Gay Theology in the Shadows (Mar., $12.95 paper) by J. Michael Clark states that one must acknowledge and yet defy tragedy.

The Feminine Mystic: Readings from Early Spiritual Writers (Apr., $14.95 paper) collects extracts remaining from ancient thinkers.


The Miracle of Change: The Path to Self-Discovery and Spiritual Growth (Aug., $24) by Dennis Wholey includes contributions by Marianne Williamson, Thomas Moore and others. Ad/promo. Author tour.

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS Religions of Tibet in Practice (Mar., $60; paper $22.50), ed. by Donald S. Lopez Jr., is a large and practical sourcebook.

A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence (Apr., $24.95) by Jeffrey Burton Russell dispenses with cliches to depict heaven as an imminent reality. Catholic Book Club and Religious Book Club selection.


The Millennium Myth: Love and Death at the End of Time (Apr., $16 paper) by Michael Grosso tracks millennial thought from the time of Revelation to the New Age. One Spirit Book Club selection.

Luminous Essence: New Light on the Healing Body: An Alternative Healer’s Story (May, $14 paper) by Daniel Santos sets out Asian and Native American methods of healing. One Spirit Book Club selection.

Medicine Women: A Pictorial History of Women Healers (June, $20 paper) by Elisabeth Brooke journeys from ancient temple priestesses to alternative practitioners of today. 15,000 first printing.


The Miracles of Jesus and The Wisdom of Jesus (Mar., $14.95 each) by James Harpur and Rev. Marcus Braybrooke, which launch the Bible Wisdom for Today series, underscore contemporary relevance found in Jesus’s life and words.


Those Who Knew Him: Inspirational Verse (Mar., $13.99) by Gilbert Morris, illus. by Stan Myers, retells the life of Jesus through poetry. Advertising.

Our Values: Stories and Wisdom (Mar., $12.99) by Dale Evans Rogers with Carole C. Carlson advises how America can return to historic family values.

The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple (Apr., $10.99) by Robert Van Kampen explains the timing and the rapture of the church at the second coming of Christ. 25,000 first printing.

In Search of Morality (July, $16.99) by Robert A. Schuller declares that morality comes from the inside out, not the outside in. 40,000first printing. Advertising. Author tour.


Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening (Apr., $21.95) by Stephen Batchelor explains awakening and how to practice it in the Buddhist faith.

The Cloister Walk (Apr., $12 paper) by Kathleen Norris takes a new look at family, community and spirituality.

The Book of Tibetan Eiders: The Life Stories and Wisdom of the Great Spiritual Masters (July, $14 paper) by Sandy Johnson, foreword by the Dalai Lama, documents teachers on the brink of extinction.


The Parables of Christ (June, $35.95) by Leopold Fonck explains the parables from a historic, literary, mystic, moral and controversial point of view.


The Crescent and the Cross: The Monks of Atlas (Apr., $7.95) contains the story and writings of Trappist monks murdered in Algeria last April by Muslim extremists.


Friends (July, $6.95 paper), ed. by Carl Koch. Stories by teens honor friendship. Ad/promo.

Stories of Our Lives (Aug., $12.95 paper) by Peter Gilmour finds art and spirituality in recalling memories of the past. Ad/promo.

Praying with John Cardinal Newman (Aug., $7.95 paper) by Halbert Wiedner is the latest entry in the Companions for the Journey series. Ad/promo.


Awakening to Zen: The Teachings of Roshi Philip Kapleau (Mar., $22) is by Kapleau, author of The Three Pillars of Zen.

Reformations: A Radical Interpretation of Christianity and the World, 1500-2000 (Apr., $30) by Derek Wilson and Felipe

Fernandez-Armesto looks at the Protestant Reformation for roots to Christianity’s current resurgence.

The Book of Eulogies: A Collection of Memorial Tributes, Poetry, Essays and Letters of Condolence (May, $25), ed. by Phyllis Theroux, commemorates notable lives in a sourcebook for the grieving.


Great Grace (May, $9.99 paper) by J.I. Packer. Thirty-one devotions shed light on many facets of grace.

The Women’s Guide to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (May, $10.99 paper) by Susan Muto and Adrian van Kaam emphasizes themes particularly pertinent to women.

Praying for Your Unbelieving Husband (July, $9.99 paper) by Michael Fanstone supports wives whose spouses don’t share their faith.

Coffee and Conversation with Ruth Bell Graham and Gigi Tchividjian (Aug., $14.99) by Ruth Bell Graham and Gigi Tchividjian. The mother/daughter writing team offers comfort and inspiration.


When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Mar., $20) by Pema Chodron. An American Buddhist reveals the secret to happiness. One Spirit Book Club selection. Advertising.

The Way of the Bodhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara (Mar., $14 paper) by Shantideva promotes the ideal of compassion and methods for attaining it. Advertising.

The Kabbalah of Envy: Transforming Hatred, Anger and Other Negative Emotions (May, $18) by Rabbi Nilton Bonder resolves conflict peacefully by drawing on Jewish tradition. Advertising. Author tour.


An Owner’s Manual for the Unfinished Soul (Mar., $17.99) by Calvin Miller fosters an admiration for all moments of life. $35,000 ad/promo.

Spiritual Nightlights: Meditations for the Middle of the Night (Mar., $14.99) by Linda Devries furnishes insomniacs with biblical solace. $45,000 ad/promo.

Mothers & Daughters (Apr., $17.99) by Madeleine L’Engle and Maria Rooney. Mother and daughter distinguish what makes this relationship special. $35,000 ad/promo.

Your Baby’s First Year: Spiritual Reflections on Infant Development (Apr., $11.99) by Ruth Ann Parish, M.D., melds practical information and insights into God’s grace. Ad/promo.


From One Medium to Another: Communicating the Bible Through Multimedia (Apr., $19.95 paper), ed. by Bob Hodgson and Paul Soukup, assembles 18 essays by experts in multimedia, including the booming electronic culture.

New Image of Religious Film (Apr., $19.95 paper) by John May documents an international symposium on interactions between cinema, theology and religious culture.

Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ Figures in Film (June, $19.95 paper) by Lloyd Baugh offers a more specific focus.

Vatican Star, Star of David: The Untold Story of Jewish/Catholic Relations and the Second Vatican Council (June, $24.95 paper) by Mark J. Hurley recounts the unfolding of a new starting point in interfaith cooperation.


Embraced by Angels: How to Get in Touch with Your Own Guardian Angel (Mar., $5.99 paper) by William A. Burt collects stories of those who have done it.

The Directory of Saints: A Concise Guide to Patron Saints (May, $5.99 paper) by Annette Sardoval lists saints alphabetically according to need or situation.

Spirit Guides: Angels in the Army of God (July, $5.99 paper) by Norma Kalina describes her communication with guides through automatic writing.


Spiritual Serendipity: Cultivating and Celebrating the Art of the Unexpected (Apr., $20) by Richard Eyre opens the mind and accesses divine guidance.

Seeds of Light: Healing Meditations for Body and Soul (Apr., $20) by Elizabeth K. Stratton. The founder of the Touching Spirit Training Program unlocks potential wellness.

Spiritual Simplicity: Simplify Your Life and Enrich Your Soul (July, $22) by David Yount is by the religion columnist for the Scripps-Howard News Service.


Change Happens: Finding Your Way Through Life’s Transitions (Mar., $19.95) by C.W. Brister uses testimonies by various people to show how to manage change.

Go to Work and Take Your Faith Too! (Mar., $13.95 paper) by Ross West approaches work from a Christian point of view.

From Our Christian Heritage: Hundreds of Ways to Add Christian History to Teaching, Preaching and Writing (Mar., $29.95), ed. by C. Douglas Weaver, retrieves Christian tradition from obscurity.


Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective (Apr., $12.95 paper) by the Dalai Lama opposes the forces of hatred with the practice of tolerance. Promotion.

A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life (Apr., $12.95 paper) by Vesna A. Wallace and B. Alan Wallace is a primary source for Tibetan Buddhist literature on altruism and the spirit of awakening. Promotion.

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas (Apr., $12.95 paper) by Geshe Sonam Rinchen, ed. by Ruth Sonam, summarizes the Mahayana Buddhist path to perfection. Promotion.

SOPHIA INSTITUTE PRESS Holiness for Housewives (and Other Working Women) (Mar., $12.95 paper) by Dom Hubert van Zeller includes prayers to help housewives become holy.


God Is! (Mar., $14.95) by Mark R. Littleton marks God’s greatness with stories, poems, quotes and illustrations. 50,000 first printing. Ad/promo. God’s Vitamin “C” for the Spirit of Women (Apr., $12.95 paper) by Kathy Collard Miller gathers stories and poetry by and for women. 50,000 first printing. Ad/promo.


Dying the Good Death: The Pilgrimage to Die in india’s Holy City (Apr., $19.95t) by Christopher Justice follows those who travel to the city of Kashi (Benares) to die.


Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity (Mar., $14.95) by Elizabeth Clare Prophet relies on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Gnostic texts to show that Jesus was a mystic teaching reincarnation. Advertising.


Return to the Promised Land: The Story of Our Spiritual Recovery (Apr., $12.95 paper) by Grant R. Schnarr. The 12-step program combines with stories from Exodus and Joshua. Ad/promo.


The Science of Mind (Mar., $25.95) by Ernest Holmes is a new edition of a classic text published on the 70th anniversary of the United Church of Religious Science. The same month brings Holmes’s This Thing Called You, This Thing Called Life and Creative Mind and Success ($16.95 each) 15,000first printing of The Science of Mind. Ad/promo.

Cultivating Inner Peace (May, $21.95) by Paul Fleischman is a psychiatrist’s way to serenity. 25,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

Spiritual Passages (June, $15.95) by Drew Leder observes that time brings renewed possibilities to achieve wholeness. 20,000 first printing. Ad/promo.


A Sense of the Sacred: Finding Our Spiritual Lives (Apr., $19.95) by Adele Getty injects spirituality into life through ceremony.


The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion (Apr., $16.95 paper) by Mary Miller and Karl Taube is reportedly the first English-language dictionary on the subject. Advertising.

Sacred Sex and Christian Mysteries (May, $10 each) are new volumes in the Sacred Symbols series on ancient wisdoms. Ad/promo.


The Lost Gospel Q: The Original Sayings of Jesus (Mar., $15), by Marcus Borg, consulting editor, foreword by Thomas Moore, was written in the 50s of the first century, predating the New Testament. Published by Ulysses Press.

Liturgical Spirituality (Apr., $22 paper) by Philip H. Pfatteicher examines how spiritual life is formed by the ordered form of Christian worship, east and west, Catholic and Protestant.


Jesus: An Unconventional Biography (Mar., $24) by Jacques Duquesne determines what is certain, probable, improbable and symbolic within the gospels. Ad/promo.

From a Monastery Kitchen: The Classic Natural Foods Cookbook (May, $24) by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila Latourrette is a newly revised and expanded edition. 15,000 first printing. Ad/promo.

A Human Search: Father Bede Griffiths Reflects on His Life (May, $]5 paper), ed. by John Swindells. An oral history profiles a mystic and thinker who reconciled eastern and western philosophies.

The Spiritual Genius of Saint Therese of Lisieux (June, $12 paper) by Jean Guitton is published for the centennial of the saint’s death.


Buddhism in America: A Record of the Landmark Conference on the Future of Buddhist Meditative Practices in the West (May, $21.95 paper) features excerpts from more than 50 workshops and lectures. Advertising.

Zen Around the World: A 2SO. Year Journey from the Buddha to You (July, $21.95 paper) by C. Alexander Simpkins and Annellen M. Simpkins chronicles the development of Zen from the Buddhas original enlightenment experience. Advertising. Author tour.

The Buddhist Directory: The Total Buddhist Resource Guide (July, $24.95 paper), compiled by Peter Lorie and Hilary Foakes, identifies facilities, teachers and retail outlets in North America. 15,000 first printing. Advertising.


Dolores Curran on Family Prayer (Apr., $9.95 paper) by Dolores Curran. The syndicated columnist responds to those yearning for meaning. Ad/promo.

The Parish of the Next Millennium (May, $9.95 paper) by William J. Bausch pinpoints problems plaguing society and the signs of a moral turnaround. Ad/promo.


The Power of Personal Integrity (Mar., $9.99) by Charles Dyer interprets the components of integrity with biblical examples and recommends how to develop each quality.

The Atonement Child (Apr., $19.99; sale price $16.97) by Francine Rivers. A story with a contemporary message deals with the abortion issue.

Vote of intolerance (July, $19.99; sale price $16.97) by Josh McDowell is a novel showing how Christians can impact society by remaining moral.

Questions & Answers for Today’s Family (July, $19.99) by James Dobson ushers the family safely into the next century.


An Invitation to Shabbat (Mar., $12.95) by Ruth Perelson et al. and A Shabbat Reader: Universe of Cosmic Joy (May, $12) by Dov Peretz Elkins celebrate Shabbat observances. Ad/promo.

Talmud Torah (Apr., $12) by Jacob Neusner is the third in a series on the relevance of primary text study to daily life. Ad/promo.

Where We Stand: Jewish Consciousness on College Campuses (Apr., $8.95), ed. by Alan J. Smith. Essays by Reform Jewish leaders discuss issues faced by Jewish students. Ad/promo.


Writing with Light: Meditations for Caregivers in Word and Image (Apr., $12.95 paper) by Robert Merrill Eddy and Kathy Wonson Eddy, foreword by Henri J.M. Nouwen, is intended to strengthen, comfort and motivate those caring for others.

My Rose: An African American Mother’s Story of AIDS (Apr., $12.95 paper) by Geneva Bell tells of a woman overcoming shame and anger at God brought on by her gay son’s illness.


Setting a Trap for God: The Aramaic Prayer of Jesus (Mar., $10.95 paper) by Rocco Errico takes its rifle from the Aramaic meaning of the word “prayer” Promotion.


Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (Apr., $50; paper $18.95) by Daniel Boyarin recovers the Jewish ideal of the gentle, receptive male.

Early Daoist Scriptures (Aug., $50) by Stephen R. Bokenkamp introduces scriptures never before published in the west.


The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism (May, $22.95) by Regina M. Schwartz contends that the biblical concept of monotheism has been misused as a justification for violence against outsiders.

Redeeming Culture: American Religion in an Age of Science, 1925-1962 (May, $28.95) by James Gilbert assesses the confrontation between science and religion.

The Antigay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right (May, $24.95) by Didi Herman probes how and why the antigay movement has become a top priority.


What Is a Person? An Ethical Exploration (Mar., $23.95) by James W. Walters seeks to determine what constitutes personhood.

Houses of God: Region, Religion and Architecture in the United States (June, $34.95) by Peter W. Williams surveys American places of worship.


Redeeming the South: Religious Cultures and Racial Identities Among Southern Baptists, 1865-1925 (Apr., $49.95; paper $17.95) by Paul Harvey recalls what blacks and whites accomplished together and separately.

America’s Communal Utopias (May, $60; paper $24.95), ed. by Donald E. Pitzer, covers everything from the Shakers to the Branch Davidians.


Christians Among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics (Mar., $29.95; paper $16.95) by Stanley Hauerwas and Charles Pinches calls upon non-Christian accounts of virtue to create a Christian rendering of hope, courage and patience.

The Longing for Home (Apr., $34), ed. by Leroy S. Rouner, judges that the home is both a place and a condition of the spirit.

Thomas Aquinas Theologian (Apr., $36; paper $16.95) by Thomas F. O’Meara indicates how Aquinas’s theology mirrored his personality and his times.


Dimensions of Prayer: Cultivating a Relationship with God (May, $12.95) by Douglas Steere underscores the life-changing possibilities of prayer.

Called by a New Name: Becoming What God Has Promised (Mar., $9.95 paper) by Gerrit Scott Dawson invites those with negatively impacting names to receive new ones from scripture.

Children & Prayer: A Shared Pilgrimage (Mar., $10.95 paper) by Betty Shannon Cloyd includes rituals and other activities to enrich parental efforts in building spiritual awareness in children.


The Bible: What’s in It for Me? (Apr., $16.99) by J. Stephen Lang opens the Bible for everyone.

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted (July, $16.99), ed. by Ron R. Lee, represents the thinking of over 25 marriage experts and several high-profile Christian couples.

Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man (Aug., $12.99 paper) by David Frost with Fred Bauer recaptures TV interviews between Frost and Graham that began in 1964.


The Joy in Living: A Guide to Daily Living with Mother Teresa (Mar., $19.95), compiled by Java Chalina and Edward Lejoly, is a treasury of 365 meditations, prayers and reflections.

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (July, $34.95), ed. by Geza Vermes, appears on the 50th anniversary of the artifacts’ discovery. Published by Viking/Allen Lane. Advertising.


Saint Veneration Among the Jews in Morocco (June, $49.95) by Issachar Ben-Amj selects material from over 1200 testimonies to describe historical and legendary saints.

Rebecca Gratz: Women’s Judaism in America (July, $39.95) by Diane Ashton profiles the 19th-century woman who founded America’s first Jewish Sunday school and the first American Jewish foster home.


The Sathya Sai Baba Compendium (Apr., $19.95 paper) by Brian Steel provides data about Sai Baba, a man revered for building modern schools and hospitals throughout India. Ad/promo.

Sefer Yetzirah (Apr., $22.95 paper) by Aryeh Kaplan translates mysterious kabballstic texts to reveal theoretical, meditative and magical implications. Ad/promo.


Reclaiming the Church (Mar., $12 paper) by John B. Cobb Jr. decries the professionalization of theological education and advocates a resumption of passionate commitment.

The Unholy in Holy Scripture: The Dark Side of the Bible (Apr., $14 paper) by Gerd Ludemann looks at difficult passages such as God’s command to exterminate entire peoples.

All God’s Children: A Biblical Critique of Racism (Apr., $12 paper) by Steven L. McKenzie urges a reading of the Bible that encourages inclusion.

Soul Survivors: An African American Spirituality (June, $15 paper) by Carlyle Fielding Stewart III maintains that at the root of African American Christian life is a force for joy and hope that nourishes survival.


The Fallowland (Mar., $15.95) by Constancio Virgil is the first American printing of this work by the religious philosopher. $20,000 ad/promo.

Ethiopian Tewahedo Church: An integrally African Church (Mar., $16.95) by Archbishop Yesehaq conveys the principles, theology and liturgy of the Oriental Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Ad/promo.


Buddhist Ethics (May, $14.95 paper) by Hammalawa Saddhatissa addresses all fackets of ethics from a Buddhist point of view. Ad/promo.

Sleeping, Dreaming & Dying (June, $16.95 paper) by the Dalai Lama issues a dialogue on the nature of consciousness between western scientists and the Dalai Lama. $20,000 ad/ promo.


Their Blood Cries Out (Mar., $]2.99 paper) by Paul Marshall denounces current persecution of Christians around the world. Publicity.

Great Souls (Apr., $22.99) by David Askman depicts six influential figures from Billy Graham to ElSe Weisel.

Counterfeit Revival (Apr., $19.99) by Hank Hanegraaff unmasks fraudulent movements. 50,000 first printing. Advertising. Publicity.

Improving Your Serve (Apr., $16.99) by Charles Swindoll offers practical lessons on Christian servanthood.

Experiencing Forgiveness (June, $18.99) by Greg Laurie declares that, regardless of the past, anyone can have a new beginning. Advertising. Publicity.


A Mother’s Bible and Dad’s Bible (Mar., $16.99 each) are in the easy-to-read God’s Word translation. 20,000 first printing of Mother’s, 15,000 of Dad’s. $200,000 ad/promo.


Reflections on Jesus and Socrates: Word and Silence (Mar., $30) by Paul W. Gooch ponders themes arising from the two men’s lives: death and witness, and silence as the limit of the language and love.

Men, Religion and Melancholia: James, Otto, Jung and Erikson (Apr., $27.50) by Donald Capps charts psychological origins of the four figures’ religious visions and their battles with melancholy.

On Toleration (May, $16.50) by Michael Walzer shows how power, class and gender interact with religion, race and ethnicity.


The Joyful Journey (Mar., $16.99) by Barba Johnson et al. is aimed at helping women renew their passion for Jesus. 100,000 first printing.

God’s Outrageous Claims (Mar., $18.99) by Lee Strobel. Understanding the incredible claims can lead to an authentic Christian life. 60,000 first printing. $60,000 ad/promo.

Streams in the Desert (Apr., $14.99) by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, ed. by James Reimann, introduces this devotional book to contemporary readers in a modernized version. 200,000 first printing. $60,000 ad/promo.

The End (July, $10.99 paper) by Ed Dobson answers the millennium-inspired question: Is the end in sight? 50,000first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.

For Those Who Are Broken (Aug., $13.99) by Charles Stanley comforts those experiencing hard times by revealing why God allows them to happen. 60,000 first printing. $30,000 ad/promo.

Give Me That Online Religion

Amid much ado about sexually explicit materials available in cyberspace, the easy access to spiritual resources via the Net is often overlooked. One who has looked is Debra Farrington, whose Romancing the Holy (Crossroad, May) provides a “seeker’s guide” to a variety of spiritual practices and experiences including online religious communities.

Another exploration of “faith’s new frontier” is The Soul of Cyberspace (Harper San Francisco, July) by PW editor-at-large Jeff Zaleski–not to be confused with Douglas Groothius’s The Soul in Cyberspace, out this month from Baker Books. Both titles view the implications of online spirituality; after sex, religion may be the hottest topic on the Web.

Mending Broken Kids

How can you tell when a publisher really believes in a new title? Consider Nashville-based Cumberland House, started in 1995 by Ron Pitkin, former Word sales rep, Thomas Nelson editor and Rutledge Hill Press partner. Pitkin is demonstrating his faith in Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child (Apr.) with a massive 100,000-copy first printing and a $100,000 ad budget–an impressive commitment from a small, new publisher. The $22.95 hardcover tells the story of former All-American football star John Croyle and the 1300 neglected, abused and abandoned children who’ve lived and been loved to success at his Big Oak Ranch Home in Alabama since the ministry’s work began in 1974.

And will Pitkin’s commitment pay off?. Well, you might remember a title by an unknown author Pitkin discovered and published while at Rutledge– something called Life’s Little Instruction Book.

Getting Older, Getting Better

With the first crop of baby boomers hitting their 50s, publishers are exploring ways to turn these graying readers’ attention to matters of the spirit, and almost a dozen new titles are on the way from a variety of religious perspectives. Augsburg weighs in with two titles including Welcoming Change: Discovering Hope in Life’s Transitions by James Miller. Paraclete also has two this season including the second volume of Anchors of Hope: Words of Life for the Soul by Hal Helms. From Bethany House comes I’m Too Young to Be This Old! by Patricia “Poppy” Smith. All three will be released in May, which has been designated Older Americans Month.

Jewish readers can glean insights from the more than 50 contributors to A Heart of Wisdom: Making the Jewish Journey from Mid-Life Through the Elder Years, edited by Susan Berrin (Jewish Lights, July). Getting older doesn’t always seem funny, but the humor of aging is captured in Forty Reasons Why Life Is More Fun After the Big 4-0 by Liz Curtis Higgs (Thomas Nelson, Apr.). Readers a decade ahead of Higgs may prefer to consider Robert Wicks’s more sedate After 50: Spiritually Embracing Your Own Wisdom Years from Paulist Press. Most sober of all may be Toward Evening: Reflections on Aging, Illness, and the Soul’s Union with God (Paraclete, Apr.) by Mary Hope, a meditative approach to the challenges of growing older.

Billy Graham–The Summing Up

Channel surfers will find Billy Graham, the most popular evangelist of the 20th century, popping up on their screens frequently these days, even though the Inauguration and his eloquent prayer for the occasion has passed. Most of the hubbub now centers on his much-awaited (10 years in the writing) autobiography, Just as I Am, due in April from Harper San Francisco, copublished and offered to the CBA trade by Zondervan. Graham’s book will be launched with a $500,000 national marketing campaign; the announced first printing is one million copies.

An insider’s look at the great man is offered by 40-year Graham associate Sherwood Wirt in Billy (Crossway, Mar.). Wirt was founding editor of Graham’s popular Decision magazine and has traveled with Graham on many of his crusades.

A third Graham book in the pipeline is Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man (Chariot-Victor, Aug.), based on TV interviews David Frost conducted with Graham that began in 1964.

Graham will also be featured in Great Souls (Word, Mar.), in which David Aikman profiles six of this century’s most influential figures; also included are Mother Teresa, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and Elie Wiesel. Not bad company for a preacher from the mountains of North Carolina.

Surfing and drugs

c2tyadad / May 10, 2015

The Relationship Between Drugs and Surfing is Long and Checkered. Is it Time to Tell the kids the Truth or File for an Amicable Divorce?

In Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now, only two soldiers ultimately survive the deadly gauntlet up the Nung river. One, Captain Willard, is a CIA-backed hitman, a trained government killer sent into Cambodia to dispatch the renegade Colonel Kurtz on the orders of a corrupt US millitary junta. The other. The other draftee-surfer Lance Johnson, is a modern nomad from the California beaches trying to run down the clock of his combat tour as peacefully as possible.

  • As the small Navy PBR patrol boat crawls toward Kurtz’s jungle fortress, the remaining crew is picked off in diabolic fashion by Kurtz’s makeshift guerilla army. The mission quickly devolves into a mad lethal morass. Willard responds by reverting to his reptilian core, all fear and survival instincts. Johnson, the surfer drops a hoarded tab of LSD and proceeds to float unscathed through the jungle and all its scenes of lovely surreal slaughter. The warrior survives with cunning and mayhem: the surfer with open wonder and a dab-like sense of cosmic flow.
  • In the end, Johnson, who Joined the villagers pagan revels, has to be led out of the Jungle like a child. He has obviously come home. Bright-eyed and delirious, covered in mud-ash and sacrificial blood, it’s likely Johnson could have stayed in the village forever, whirling ecstatically in dreams of perfect wavespeeling of a deserted jungle reef.

It’s not a huge leap, however, to link surfers with ingesting low-level street psychotropics, or any other mind altering substance for that matter. There’s certainly precedent. Surf cutlure has among and celebrated history of zealous partying, starting with the Dionyslan wine-soaked beach parties at Windansea in the 50s and ending with the Ecstasy-drenched sponsor raves of the late 90s. No mystery in that. Surfing is a youthful culture and youth will have its party.

But how much does the Jeff Spicoll archetype–the surfer stereotype as hedonistic happy-go-lucky pothead in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High-reflect the modern day surfer? To an extent, surprisingly well, although as the surfing population ages and aligns along mainstream demographics, the doper-surfer population has shrunk overall compared to when Fast Times came out. On a recent bulletin board thread, 36 surfers responded to the query “Surf and weed…who likes it?” The results: 20 enthusiastically for, five vehemently against, and the remaining 11 had either a laissez-faire attitude or wero former users who had outgrown their pot cravings.

  • The November 2001 issue of South Africa’s ZigZag surf magazine rates Jeffrey’s Bay as the “best right-hander on the planet.” It also–between “Crowds” and “Wind”–scores “Dope Availability” as “good.” An article titled “Weeds” in the same issue gives a scholarly exploration of kelp alongside a thoughtful first-person essay on marijuana use among surfers.
  • “My first dagga [marijuana] experience happened at the hands of surfers” writes Port Elizabeth surf columnist Hagen Engler. “But was that just chance, or are the two linked” Is dagga part of the surfing culture? If I’d been, say, into golf, would one of the older golfers have lit up a split on the fourth tee, and schemed, ‘Want?'”

Possibly, but there’s no way Engler would have turned on the radio afterward and heard “golf” music. Surfing has always struck a cheeky, anti-authoritarian pose expressed to the rest of the world through its own unique music, media and art. Surfing at its core burns with an outlaw–or at least an outsider–fire. It’s this very antihero chic that the surf industry and mainstream extract from the surf culture to market their clothing and mundane products.

By cosmic nexus or just good timing, modern surfing’s first major growth spurt from 1960-67 grafted seamlessly with the entire 60s counterculture–particularly the phenomenal growth of the rock music and the psychedelic revolution. The demographic of most surfers of the time, where 25 was considered the beginning of geezerhood, made them actual partisans of the revolt. By the late 60s it was simply impossible to distinguish surfers and the surf culture from the rest of the youth rebellion.

In the 1967 Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test–the book which documented Ken Kesey’s comet-like rise and fall as a guru of the Woodstock generation-Tom Wolfe writes of surfers and beach kids from La Jolla making the pilgrimage up to Haight Ashbury to be part of “The Life,” as Wolfe dubbed the exploding LSD counterculture.

“Even devoted surfing cliques like the Pump House Gang–the mysterioso sea and all that–are easing into The Life, and some move up the beach from the Pump House, away from the sets of good surfing waves they used to wait for like Phyrgian sacristans…”

SURFER Magazine quickly picked up the cue. Under the editorial helm of the fiery, rabble-rousing Drew Kampion and newly psychedelicized publisher John Severson, the magazine openly celebrated drug taking as a de facto part of the new surfing lifestyle. While the beer-drinking old guard clucked their tongues about the hoards of draft-dodging longhaired freaks that usurped their once clean, manly sport, most found the message refreshingly…groovy. They tuned in, turned on and started surfing like those holy Phyrgians. In the late 60s a crew of dedicated North Shore surfers such as Jackle Eberly, Owl Chapman and John Peck first parsed Pipeline’s complex deadly tubes frying on varying doses of LSD.

“People who were into exploring drugs were also into exploring new dimensions in surfing,” reflects Kampion, speaking from his home on Whidbey Island, Washington. “You had the famous nocturnal Walmea sessions of Jock [Sutherland] and other guys on acid. I’m sure the adventurous quality of that individual probably came before the drug did, so the drug was just an extension of the interest of that person to push the envelope.”

A quick fan through SURFER’s 1968 issue shows the advertisers weren’t far behind. The clean macho all-American competition stripes of early 60s longboards quickly metamorphosed into day-glow funky flowers and baroque paisley board motits. “Super vibes” and “good karma” were listed along with flat bottoms and dropped ralls as critical design features. In the 70s it was common practice to celebrate cerebral otherness by glassing a perfectly formed marijuana leaf–supposedly picked from one’s own covert stash–on the deck of one’s board, Miki Dora reportedly went one better by glassing a gelcap of infamous Owsley acid into one of his luridly painted pintalls.

At the time, SURFER was decidedly subversive, anti-Vietnam, pro-drug, pro free love, anti-contest, anti-establishment and above all, young white, middle class and Male. SURFER reeked of pungent smoke, agitprop, bad haiku and turgid cosmic exhortations to “Focus on infinity!” and “Shriek loud[ly] of joyous rebirth within liquid wombs.” Rick Griffin, SURFER’s staff artist and creator of Murphy–the comic, cosmic durg icon–went to San Francisco in the mid 60s, turned on and churned out mind-bending psychedelic poster art for the Grateful Dead and the Fillmore West concert hall. Griffin created a vibrant conduit between the surf culture and the 60s Haight head culture, and his powerful surf mandalas jumped off the page.

  • Kampion and the contributors–Griffin, Art Brewer, C.R. Stecyk, Bill Hamilton, Kevin Naughton and others–delighted in tweaking the nose of he surfing establishment by loading up the issues with sly drug and sexual references. The 1970 “End of the World” issue featured a time capsule where a joint (propped in the statuette of Corky Carroll’s first trophy) was preserved for future generations to spark up.
  • Pacific Vibrations, Severson’s 1970 film captures the era perfectly. It was giddy, raw, and probably overreached itself trying to pawn surfers off as profound sea gurus, but it did show a lot of healthy happy young folk having one hell of a good time.

“The sport and the mag seemed to stagnate in the late 60s until surfers started lopping feet off their boards and ingesting mind-expanding potions,” recalled Severson some 15 years after he sold the magazine and retired to Maui. “The information was suddenly all new and exciting; perhaps the most fun years of all in terms of information and graphics.”

Given surfing’s globetrotting nature and the perq for large chunks of unbroken leisure time, it’s only natural that some surfers gravitated to durg smuggling and dealing as a way to keep going to the beach. The product was discreet, portable and offered a ridiculously high return on investment. Best of all, the surfer-dealer set his own hours to a ready and willing clientele.

The swashbuckling lore of surfer-run drug cartels runs deep, starting with surfers smuggling in the odd kilo of Mexican dirt weed to California on a day trip to Baja, to full-blown shipments of Afghanl hash–compressed into secret Mercedes compartments–coming in via cargo ships. The notorious Brotherhood of Eternal Love, which included a number of prominent surfers of the time, ran Mystic Arts, a storefront LSD and hashish operation in Laguna Beach during the late 60s. Several of its former members are reputed to have retired into idyllic surf obscurity on their profits; Surfers were once listed with the CIA and the South African police as “deviant” characters.

New York surfer Allan Weisbecker unapologtically recounts his former career as a Caribbean hashish runner in his 2001 book In Search of Captain Zero.

“One more run, we kept telling ourselves, then off we’d go to put some personal Xs on what was in those days a largely blank surf map. One thing led to another, however, and to another, and flushed with success our ambitions grew…We’d do Endless Summer one better. Unlike the vagabonds who lived that seminal fable, we would never return.”

And thus spawned the urban legend that many major surf labels started with excess drug profits. The ubiquitous Lightning Bolt logo was presumably taken from the glyph stenciled on the packets of Thai sticks smuggled into Hawaii in the late 60s. By the late 70s, however, the party was over. Or it least it went indoors. The Vietnam War ended, Nixon was impeached, rock ‘n roll went corporate and surfing was just about to. Psychedelics were no longer a novelty and harder drugs like heroin and cocaine increasingly infiltrated the surf culture. Several well-known surfers–Bunker Spreckels, Bruce Valluzzi, Rusty Starr, Kevin “the Head” Brennan–OD’d. 1981, ESA all-star Rick Rasmussen was blown away Mafia-style in Harlem during a heroin deal gone sour.

Several others burned out or turned into the walking dead. Ron Stoner, SURFER’s one-time star photographer, never really came back from a bad acid trip and later underwent 18 electroshock treatments. He was last seen wandering homeless around Kauai in 1977 and was declared legally dead in 1994. Jeff Hakman battled heroin addiction for 15 years; Michael Peterson the brilliant but troubled king of Kirra and the Gold Coast’s leading world-title contender, succumbed to drug addiction and mental illness in the late 70s and became a recluse.

Rabbit Bartholomew, 1978 World Champion and current ASP President, recalls in his autobiography Bustin’ Down the Door about “the day the devil came to Kirra.” He states unequivocally that heroin use stole a whole generation of promising Queensland surfers. An extended fiat spell and a drought of marijuana left the door open for a flood of cheap Asian heroin into the Gold Coast surf community. “It was 1975 and he was standing on the hill at Snapper Rocks, with a big Grim Reaper overcoat on, calling in guys from the surf with these pockets full of smack,” he writes.

With the birth of professional surfing in 1976, it no longer became chic to trumpet one’s vices. As mainstream sponsors were brought in (ironically many of them alcohol companies such as Smirnoff Vodka and Lancer’s Wine), the surfers began editing themselves for family viewing. An uncomfortable grid of corporate ethics was imposed over a lifestyle that was the antithesis of structured professional sports. Even SURFER Magazine began to reflect this new reality.

The last gasp of SURFER’s stint as a true counterculture icon (and a yardstick as

To how much attitudes changed) came in 1977 when then publisher Steve Pezman conducted a lengthy interview with LSD guru Timothy Leary on “The Evolutionary Surfer.”

“…on any planet like ours, when a culture gets into surfing, it’s a sign of maturity on the part of that species. It’s no accident that many, perhaps most, surfers have become mystics,” waxed Leary.

Aging boomer surfers, now with teenage children of their own, might be quick to write off their own psychedelic adventurism as simply the youthful excesses of a rebellious, maybe even silly, bygone era. That, however, discredits the intent, if not the realities of the times. Many people of the 60s honestly believed they were effecting profound social change, challenging entrenched institutions and oppressive social mores by opting out–at least spiritually–of the system. Surfing, with its healthy free-flow gestalt, personified a sun-drenched alternative to the stiffing bland consumerism shoved down America’s throat after World War II.

In Nat Young’s tell-all autobio Nat’s Nat and That’s That, the 1966 world champ unabashedly tells of gobbling magic mush rooms and smoking pot daily on his Byron Bay farm in 1971 before surfing the pristine, under-populated breaks of Broken Head and Angourie. He compared it to a religious experience and claims his surfing hit its apogee during that era. The era–organic gardening, communal living, design experimentation, drug taking and all–was beautifully documented in Albert Falzon’s Morning of the Earth and set the archetype of surfer as blissed-out seeker for years to come.

“I felt like a warrior; I could do anything: I was invincible!” crows Young. “I was in exciting–though in hindsight a very dangerous-state to be in.”

In the newest…lost video, “the Decline of Surfing Civilization,” 22-year-old New Smyrna aerial wizard and ASP underachiever Aaron, “Gorkin” Cormican, currently ranked 972 on the WOS, chugs a full pitcher of beer on a $100 bet. A crew of under-aged grommets hoot Cormican on and drench him with ale suds. He belches, then weaves toward the camera waving his newly won Ben Franklin. Foaming lewdly with the rude yodel of youth he screams, “I am a pro surferl I make money!” The scene ends with Cormican pinned against the wall by a comely blond who towers over him by a head and licks the beer dregs from his eagerly proffered neck. Debauched and victorious, the half-eyed Cormican sticks out his tongue and flashes a pair of naughty headbanger’s horns.

Parents are shocked, surf-industry deacons are mortified, and of course, the kids love…lost and the whole blue-collar, rock star badness of it all…lost Enterprises was one of the fastest growing surf companies in the late 90s and continues a healthy upward profit curve despite a weakening economy.

As much as they posit themselves as the cheerleaders of degeneracy, substance abuse and general jackass behavior, the…lost crew, which includes top ASP pro Cory Lopez, his brother Shea, and the nefarious “Randall,” probably offers a truer picture of the modern-day surfer than most of the surf industry would care to admit. They’re young, white, male, middle class, politically apathetic and they like surfing, loud rock, hot chicks and partying with their buds. They rail against surfing’s long slide toward homogenization, and delight in taking cheap shots at Kelly Slater and the rest of the “just say no” Momentum cabal whom they write off as tea-totaling posers.

Peter King, born-again christian and surfing’s answer to Jay Leno, has a problem with that. King, 33, grew up as a surf kid in La Jolla in the early 80s, a time when cocaine use was reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S. He recalls surfers overdosing in he upper parking lot at Windansea; his two brothers, both surfers, battled with heroin addiction for years; and his parents are recovering alcoholics. In his ledger, there is no room for low-level experimentation and he scoffs at the concept of responsible adult use.

“I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you can’t pick the companies that are marketing drunks,” says King, who currently works with WRAD (Wave Riders Against Drugs) preaching a strict message of drug abstinence to middle-school kids. “But it’s sad to see kids ruined like that. I sure would hate to be one of those surfers or companies that markets that kind of stupidity and know one day that I encouraged some kid to ruin his life. That would be a real horrible feeling.”

King has a strong case. The drugs–and the rationale–on the street today are not the same as they were during the nostalgia-misted 1967 Summer of Love. Then, most of the counterculture drugs were low potency, organic and used in communal, almost sacramental fashion to expand one’s understanding of the big questions. Since then, however, the pharmaceutical buffet has expanded to include narcotics and powerful designer drugs that have nothing to do with peace and love, and everything to do with profit. The potential for addiction, or even death, has increased exponentially in surf culture.

Tom Dugan, long-time photo editor of Eastern Surf Magazine, suffered a devastating blow from drugs last October when his 19-year-old daughter Chantele was found dead of a morphine overdose in the dunes of Indian Harbor Beach, Florida. A beautiful, outgoing young woman, Chantele, or “Tele,” grew up tagging along on father Tom’s photo shoots up and down the East Coast. In the affluent Brevard county beach suburb where she and Tom lived, Chantele was considered the honorary kid sister to a crew of hot local surfers, including Kelly Slater. She was popular, a good student, and attended Brevard Community College. With Tom helping with her portfolio, she began to model professionally.

She also began to experiment with cocaine and other club drugs. One evening, after partying with come friends until 2:00 a.m., Chantele ended up at a stranger’s house–28-year-old Ronald Edmundson’s–reportedly to score some cocaine. Accounts differ, but as reported in Florida Today, a Brevard County newspaper, Edmundson is accused of switching the cocaine with morphine in order to seduce Chantele. She walked into his bedroom and never walked out. In the morning when Edmundson discovered Chantele dead, he and a friend took her body and left it on a nearby beach. Edmundson has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

“I hate drugs and everything about them,” said Chantele’s grief-stricken father. “They’ve taken everything from me.”

Few, if any, current Top 44 pros will go on record saying they use illegal drugs. The ASP has a set of sanctions ranging from fines to suspension for any members caught, or rather exposed, using illicit drugs. The last publicized drug outing was in 1993 when Australian pro Robbie Page was busted for drug possession in Tokyo when customs agents found a small quantity of LSD in his wallet. Page spent over two months in a Tokyo prison and was ultimately deported. The ASP censured Page with a one-year competitive ban.

Yet the wealth of anecdotal data gleaned from observation, interviews, research studies and a smattering of arrest reports indicates that drug use among professional surfers–legal and illegal–fairly mirrors the general use for young adults between the ages of 18 and 30. An estimated 70 percent of pro surfers drink alcohol on a moderate or regular basis; 25 to 30 percent have smoked marijuana on an occasional or daily basis in the last year; and under five percent use stimulants or psychotropic drugs such as LSD, cocaine or ecstasy on an occasional basis. Tobacco smoking is below the national average and steroid use is nearly non-existent. A number of high-profile ASP pros have had well-documented drug meltdowns (and subsequent comebacks) and at least four world champions have been known to use illicit drugs to varying degrees.

To mollify mainstream sponsors, however, the ASP desperately attempts to put a clean face on professional surfing but is constantly tripped up by the covert recreational–and in some cases competitive–drug use by several of its top athletes. Despite the establishments’ staunch anti-drug stance, the drug culture comes bubbling to the surface through veiled references in the surf media and surf videos showing young intoxicated pro surfers on tour rampaging through the global scenery. In the past, young surfers like Christian Fletcher, David Eggers, and Matt Archbold–with their storied exploits, drug woes and periodic rehabs–became walking cautionary tales of the temptations awaiting the unwary on the pro tour.

The temptations still exist. The infamous French Leg, a 10-week string of European contests and wild sponsor parties that reached their zenith in the late 80s, transplanted the urban rave scene to the beach. Although the Hossegor party scene these days is a pale routine of its notorious 80s glory era, surviving the European leg is still a macho right of passage for the aspiring pro. The morning-after casualties are rife, and more than one competitor has been seen throwing up–or passed out–in the Cote Landes dunes shortly before his heat.

Graham “Ces” Wilson, a survivor of the ASP bad-boy 80s, once observed about ASP rookies on tour: “Little buggers see too much and have to be shipped home in a wooden crate after six months.”

This points out the glaring schizophrenia of professional surfing: The culture of surfing–a spiritual, highly individualistic act that hovers somewhere between sport and religion–existed long before its professional counterpart; Professional surfers are only professional in the technical sense in that they get paid to surf, but they still retain strong roots in surfing’s outlaw culture.

“Surfing is different from most sports because it’s a lifestyle,” says eight-year ASP veteran and 2000 Pipeline Master Rob Machado. “You look at the recreational surfer. He and his bros jump in a car and drive down to the beach. You’re in the most beautiful environment, relaxing, surfing, having a great time. If someone was going to break out a joint, you’re in the best place to do it. It’s been like that from the beginning. Surfing is this magical thing. Some people want to make it more magical. But then you cross into professionalism and it becomes a whole different thing. You’re taking the lifestyle and you’re trying to cover some of it up.”

Perhaps what is remarkable is not the prevalent link between surfing and drug use, but rather the muffled puritanical tone the surf industry takes when preaching against the evils of drug abuse; or in the case of the surf media, almost total silence. “The media is shit-scared of the advertisers,” states Shaun Tomson, 1997 world champ and an outspoken critic of drugs in professional surfing. “A big proportion of the surf kids that are sponsored by the advertisers use dope. They’re terrified of letting that leak out. But they’re too scared to draw the line in the sand. Consequently, the media is too scared to make a statement because they would upset their primary advertisers. The ASP, too. They are scared of the surfing industry and the surfers. But they are not doing the right thing by the community.”

Tomson, who retired from competition in 1989, recalls paddling out for a contest heat at Sunset in the mid-80s, and seeing his fellow competitor, a well-known surf star, snorting cocaine with his caddy from a specially sealed baggy. Tomson, who claims to have never used any illegal drug, is angered by what he sees as the double standard that allows some pro surfers to have a pharmaceutical edge. He advocates a zero tolerance policy and random drug testing by the ASP.

“I’m assuming that some drugs definitely give people a performance advantage,” says Tomson. “In a competitive situation, definitely because guys smoke pot to help themselves relax before heats. I’ve competed against a lot of guys who’ve used coke to get themselves psyched up before heats. I’ve competed against guys on acid and who knows what that’s done to their consciousness. If a guy wants to get doped up to the maximum and surf his brains out, that’s fine. But in a competitive situation, it cannot be tolerated in any way, shape, or form.”

Ironically, Tomson finds support for his call from members of the opposing camp. Joel Tudor, 1998 world longboard champ, has always been open, or at least held an ambivalent attitude about his own drug policy. Tudor claims his own recreational drug use begins and ends pretty much at marijuana, a choice for which he neither endorses nor apologizes, although he considers alcohol the far greatersocial evil and wholeheartedly supports decriminalizing pot.

What Tudor resents, however, is the erosion of civil rights due to what he considers a phony, politicized “drug war” and having to adhere to a squeaky-clean image of pro surfing when in fact, he says, many of his professional colleagues are into regular substance use, or abuse, of some kind.

“It’s happening,” says Tudor, 1998 world Longboard Champ, “but people in the industry aren’t responsible enough to talk about it.”

Can there be a middle ground on moderate soft drug use? On an individual level, perhaps. But on a societal level, obviously no. The drug issue has become so politicized that all subtlety is drowned by a flood of hysteria and rhetoric.

“We accept drugs are here to stay,” says Ethan A. Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy center set up in New York City. “There never has been a drug-free society. We must learn how to live with drugs so they cause the least possible harm and the best possible good.”

Like South Africa after apartheid, perhaps surfing needs to honestly address its own murky, drug-laden past with its own version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In war, the truism goes, the first casualty is truth. Perhaps, the first casualty in the sports’ war on drugs was the truth about drugs.


When it comes to drug use, the surf media has traditionally adopted a strict. “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Having already broken the code with the development of this story, however, SURFER decided to ask, and let you tell, at least figuratively. We conducted a very random, very anonymouse beach poll, questioning surfers under the age of 25 from up and down the California coast. The respondents fairly typified young surfers everywhere and were chosen from a broad selection of socio-economic backgrounds (i.e. we didn’t find them all at a reggae concert in Ocean Beach). The results were surprising but then maybe not so. The fact 57% of surfers under 16 said they have tried drugs might seem high, but when compared to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s national teenage average of 54% (“Monitoring the Future” Study, 2000) we don’t come across quite so spicoll-like dude.

Have you ever tried drugs?

Yes 84%

No 16%

Do many of your friends use drugs?

Yes 63%

No 37%

What about alcohol?

Tried it 14%

Regularly 70%

Never 16%

Do you see a big difference between alcohol and drug use?

Yes 70%

No 30%

Do you think many pro surfers use drugs?

Yes 68%

No 32%

Do you think drugs have a negative effect on surfing performance?

Yes 89%

No 11%

Seize the day … when in Rome

c2tyadad / July 17, 2015

When my partner and I arrived in Rome we were jet-lagged and exhausted from a full day of travel. What sounded best was to hit the bed full force, but in order to transition into Rome time we stayed up and fought the good fought of sleep deprivation. Luckily we happened to be staying in a wonderful and relatively tourist-free area called Trastevere that sits on the other side of the Tiber River. Our travel guide, which we didn’t happen to reference until after booking the hotel, called this area “the city at its crustiest and perhaps most Roman.”

We crossed our fingers and decided to tromp around the neighborhood to scrounge up food and drink. After spending the evening locating one of Rome’s oldest churches the Santa Maria, eating life-altering homemade pasta and sitting at a wonderful cafe, I’ve come to wonder if perhaps the author tried to sway people from finding this little gem. Not that I can blame him, it became our home away from home where we befriended some of the locals and indulged in gelato every day.


What I have come to realize about Romans is that enjoyment is a necessary part of life. In fact the phrase ‘Carpe Diem’ was coined by the ancient Roman poet Horace and as I discovered, the city provides bountiful inspiration for “seizing the day.” It’s hard not to feel vibrantly alive while surrounded by history that dates over 2,000 years old and people who seem to have their feet firmly rooted into living their lives with gusto. Daily life is dripping with passion through the way they speak, eat, celebrate and love each other, after a while it starts to rub off.

The best way to experience Rome is by foot with your senses exposed, while dodging the endless sea of Vespas of course! Every twist and turn on old cobble-stoned streets provides another opportunity to stumble upon something beautiful and awe striking. Within four days in Rome we knew we wouldn’t be able to experience everything the city had to offer, but we gave it our best shot. With a pastry and espresso in our bellies we began our love affair with the city and our walk-a-thon.


The Vatican was about an hour walk from our hotel and though at first it seemed daunting, we learned that time passes by so easily when you have Rome to look at! Aside from the Colosseum, the Vatican was by far the most crowded spot we visited. We strolled through the Vatican museum first, catching glimpses of Greek and Roman sculptures so life-like and well preserved you thought they could pose with you. The Sistine Chapel stole the show for me however; Michelangelo painted the vast majority of the 5,900 square foot ceiling by hand and it was absolutely breathtaking.

It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite water fountain but if I had to highlight two I would choose the Four Rivers Fountain by Bernini in the Piazza Navona and The Trevi Fountain which is Rome’s largest and where legend has it if you throw in a coin you’ll return to Rome. For more than 2,000 years fountains have provided drinking water and continue to be a vessel of life for the city.

Twisting our way through the Piazza della Minerva I was stopped in my tracks by the 142-foot Pantheon. With a McDonald’s also in view it seemed utterly strange and amazing to see this structure that was built in 126 AD.

Even with the vast amount of ancient history that paints the Roman skyline there is room for a little more color. The Gay Village, a celebration not a location, is in its tenth year kicking off June 23 and running until Sept. 17. Unfortunately we were not there for this and I am kicking myself for it. There will be music, dance, movies, theatre and a few extra events for the 2 million people that make it out for this massive gathering. Sept. 1-3 will be a women-only event called the “Venus Rising Festival.” There is honestly too many amazing things to cover, please go to the website if you’re interested in more information.

We utterly fell in love while in Rome, with the city, the people, the language, the food and wine and with life. Rome reminds you to say yes to the important things and that was my most valuable souvenir.

Padilla, Kristina


=> Next: The Storied Land

The Storied Land

c2tyadad / July 15, 2015

French and English explorers settled and explored Canada, and have fought to preserve the country since first landing around 1500. They formed the base on which the country was created 125 years ago.

For thousands of years, the land that is now Canada belonged to tribal societies whose legends and languages survive in place-names from east to west, from the Kennebecasis River in New Brunswick to Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. Then came adventurers from distant lands: explorers, soldiers, priests and merchants, some strong and courageous, others venal and bloody-minded. Many, like Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil and George Vancouver, Francois-Gaston de Levis and Edward Cornwallis, earned a place in history–and on the map–alongside the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh and the Mohawks’ Joseph Brant.


From the exploits of their forbears, Canadians have inherited a rollicking history, but they rarely celebrate it or revel in a national mythology. Nineteenth-century Nova Scotia statesman Joseph Howe said that a wise nation makes “perpetual references to the sacrifices and glories of the past.” From time to time–and Canada’s 125th birthday seems like an ideal moment–the country’s heroes deserve a reintroduction.

The first wave of Europeans arrived nearly 500 years ago, apprehensively guiding their wooden sailing ships into the rocky coves and river estuaries of the North Atlantic coast. Drawn by visions of new lands to conquer, wealth for the taking or a shorter route to fabled Cathay, they built forts that became cities, trails that became roads, military rule that became civil government. Thousands died in savage winters, or of typhus, smallpox and cholera, or in countless, often unrecorded battles with Indians.

French and English, they endured and added to their outposts of empire until the inevitable, bloody showdown. But in the end the two sides laid down their weapons, although not their mutual distrust. They pushed westward across the vast prairies and towering mountains, repelled American invasions and gradually settled a nation that grew into the sparsely populated, second-biggest country on earth. The Fathers of Confederation chose the name Canada only after rejecting Cabotia, Mesopelagia, Tuponia, Ursalia and Britannica.

It was the Canadians–and not the Tuponians or Mesopelagians–who passed from adolescence to maturity on foreign battlefields. Canadian scientists, athletes, actors, inventors, writers, painters and tycoons began a catalogue of achievements. Politicians and diplomats discovered that when they spoke in the councils of the world, their counterparts listened carefully. Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen fought, died and distinguished their country in the two great world wars of the 20th century, and in Korea. Then, they went on to forge a pioneering role as blue-bereted members of UN peace-keeping forces.

The long-ago wars between Indians and whites are now fought between politicians debating land claims and the Constitution. The hunters who roamed the bush in search of game have been succeeded by shoppers hunting for bargains wrapped in plastic. Modern explorers, armed with bug repellent and portable radios, pitch their tents beside lakes in government-owned parks.


Alexander Mackenzie

The story of Canada has been one of mass movements of many nationalities and races, determined to push back frontiers.

In the process, they moulded their own culture and fired the imaginations of lesser men and women. Alexander Mackenzie’s burning curiosity drove him to become the first white man to reach the western Arctic Ocean. One-legged runner Terry Fox invested the last few months of his life in raising money for cancer research, and astronaut Roberta Bondar put her professional training to the ultimate test in outer space. In a country only 125 years old, the journeys are just beginning.


=> Read more: Debt City: money problems bring down U.S. cities and states

Debt City: money problems bring down U.S. cities and states

c2tyadad /

Busted, broke, and worried. Those are tough words. But they accurately describe the condition of a number of U.S. cities and states today. As 2011 gets under way, cities from New York to Los Angeles and states from New Jersey to California find themselves short of cash. They simply don’t have the money to fund programs, pay salaries, and pay back money owed to banks, investors, and others.

“Everyone has been hurt by the economic recession,” William R. Johnson told Current Events. He’s a professor of economics at the University of Virginia. “But city and state governments have been hurt the most. The federal government can borrow money it doesn’t have by increasing the federal debt. But states and cities can’t do that. When the recession hit, the revenues that cities and states depend on dropped, leaving many with debts they’re having trouble paying.”



Many of the biggest U.S. cities–New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., among them–are looking at growing deficits. If a city or state spends more money than it takes in, the resulting debt is a deficit. By June 2012, New York City will have a projected deficit of $2 billion. Los Angeles will be $438 million in the hole. Washington, D.C., will be short by $688 million. San Francisco will need an extra $380 million.

Medium-sized and small cities are also feeling the pinch. San lose, a city in central California, has a deficit of $90 million, for example. Harrisburg recently ran out of money and had to be bailed out by the state of Pennsylvania.

On the television show 60 Minutes, Wall Street financial expert Meredith Whitney predicted that as many as 100 U.S. cities, large and small, could go bust this year. That would cause lost jobs, higher unemployment, and growing poverty in those places, Whitney says. It could also collapse the municipal bond market.

“Municipal bonds,” Johnson told CE, “are similar to a loan. If a city wants to build a new water treatment plant or improve its streets, for instance, it will issue municipal bonds to pay for building and improving. Investors buy the bonds. In return the city agrees to pay the bondholders back with interest over a period of time.”

If cities cannot pay bondholders, the bonds become worthless and investors lose their money. If that happens, it will be much harder for cities to raise money in the future because it will be harder to sell bonds, even when the economy recovers. “A major source of income for cities would be hurt. The collapse of the municipal bond market would hurt the entire U.S. economy,” Johnson says. Whitney told 60 Minutes that the financial meltdown of U.S. cities and states remains, “next to housing, the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.” Not all financial experts believe the situation is as bad as Whitney says, but most agree that U.S. cities are in for a very challenging year.


To help make up their budget deficits, some cities are cutting back on services–turning off streetlights, firing city employees, slashing salaries, abandoning building projects, and reducing the number of police and firefighters. New York, for instance, is talking about laying off people in all city agencies, closing 20 fire stations during nighttime hours, reducing services for senior citizens, and decreasing funding for libraries. Newark, N.J., laid off 13 percent of its police force last November. Detroit has cut police, lighting, road repairs, and cleaning services in 20 percent of the city.

In the past, cities and towns could rely on state governments to help them meet their bud gets. Typically, state funds provided many towns and cities with a third of their money. That has changed. Today many states are doing as badly as many cities.

According to a report Whitney released last month, of the 15 most populous states, only Texas, Virginia, Washington, and North Carolina are in good financial shape. California, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, New York, and Florida are in the worst shape. California, for instance, has a budget deficit of $19 billion, and New Jersey owes $10 billion. Illinois’s deficit is expected to rise from $13 billion to $15 billion this year.

“We’re in the midst of the most severe financial crisis in recent memory,” Miles White, an Illinois businessman, said at a forum on state affairs. “The state has been spending $3 for every $2 it takes in.”



Like cash-strapped cities, states are cutting back on all kinds of programs and projects. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has cut the state’s budget by one-fourth, fired a number of state employees, and canceled building projects. He says there is no way out for cities and states except to cut costs radically. “We spent too much on everything. We spent money we didn’t have. We borrowed money crazily. The credit card’s maxed out, and it’s over. We now have to get in the business of climbing out of the [debt] hole,” he said on 60 Minutes.

“The day of reckoning has arrived,” Christie warned. “And it’s going to arrive everywhere. Timing will vary a little bit, depending on which state you are in, but it’s comin’.”


How might city cutbacks affect people’s daily lives? Let us know at

Get Talking

Ask students: What services do town, city, and state governments provide for people? How do you think governments pay for services such as police, fire, and sanitation departments? If governments couldn’t afford to provide all services, which ones might be cut?

Notes Behind the News

  • The specter of cutbacks and financial insolvency cast a shadow over the inauguration ceremonies of the 26 state governors recently elected or reelected. In generally muted ceremonies, the governors warned about soaring budget deficits. New York’s new governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, said after being sworn in, “I don’t think a grand [inauguration] ceremony … would be appropriate.” Cuomo promised to shrink New York’s government. In New Mexico, new Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation’s first Hispanic female governor, promised to cut down on spending. “We won’t take more of your money from you or grow the deficit, because we are not willing to make the same tough decisions you have had to make,” she said.
  • Bankruptcy has become increasingly common for individuals and corporations, but it is–so far–rare for cities and other municipalities. Only about 600 municipalities have filed for bankruptcy since 1937. The biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took place in 1994, when California’s Orange County declared bankruptcy after it lost more than $1.5 billion in bad investments. It emerged from bankruptcy six months later after making severe spending cuts. Many experts predict that the next major municipal bankruptcy will be in Detroit, but that may still be avoided.

Doing More

Ask students to research the finances of their town, city, or state government. Is the town, city, or state running a budget deficit? If so, what have leaders said they plan to do about it?


=> Similar Posts: Jan Gehl

Jan Gehl

c2tyadad / July 14, 2015

For Danish architect and planner Jan Gehl, human-focused urban planning is as simple as making a city a welcoming host.

“A good city is like a good party,” Gehl wrote in his most recent book, Cities for People. “The guests stay because they’re enjoying themselves.”

For the past two decades, Gehl has been sought after by officials around the world to redesign their cities. From New York City to Melbourne, Gehl has been refashioning urban cores using his native Copenhagen as a model, where pedestrians and cyclists are respected and enjoy the same rights to roadways as drivers.

To “Copenhagenize” a city, says Gehl, all it takes is the understanding that humans, not buildings, come first when designing a city. It is important for urban planners to take into account psychological and physiological factors in their grand plan, he says. For example, humans have a field of vision limited to a radius of about 110 yards. That’s why, Gehl observes, many ancient town squares throughout Europe are not much longer than this. People don’t feel comfortable in spaces much larger than that.


Although Gehl now sees his commonsense approach to urban planning widely embraced, at seventy-six, he has been around long enough to have lived through the time when Copenhagen was like Los Angeles and cars were kings.

Even after the publication of his influential book Life Between Buildings in 1971, for the longest time Gehl’s remained the lone voice for sensible, sensitive design of urban space. But today he is all too glad to jet to any corner of the world and help reshape cities–and lives.

  • “First we shape cities,” Gehl says, “then they shape us.”

Q: American cities are currently strapped for cash, if not on the verge of bankruptcy. Doesn’t it cost a lot to redesign with human needs in mind?

Jan Gehl: It’s the cheapest thing you can do. Compared to all the other investments you can think about, it’s really peanuts to make wider sidewalks, better pedestrian crossings, and bicycle lanes. It costs next to nothing to do improvements in this area. And the maintenance is very cheap.

Some of the cities that have done remarkably, like Copenhagen, Leon, and Barcelona, they made a big leap forward when they were down and out economically. In Copenhagen, we had a period in the 1980s when the city was broke, and that was the time when they really went forward with the cheap things. The city’s officials said: “We need something that is fast, visible, cheap, and for everyone.” In Leon, they did a lot of this to raise the spirit of a dispirited population after a number of industrial collapses.

Q: You’re a critic of modernist architecture. What’s wrong with it?

Gehl: For many years, nobody has been taught how to care for the people. Every architect has been taught how to make the building industry, the developers, and the real estate agents happy. Neither at the architecture schools nor the planning schools is there any serious teaching about human needs and how buildings influence people’s lives. And hardly any psychologists or sociologists teach in these institutions. So, architects get out of school with very technocratic views. And they don’t get any instructions on the needs of people.

Q: How can this be fixed?

Gehl: In many countries, they have tried since the 1980s to turn things around. But actually, in the developing countries they’re still doing quite a bit of the modernistic stuff, where they have to provide housing quickly and cheaply. The modernistic idea of mass-produced housing is very good at doing just that.

My point is: With a bit more knowledge and a lot more care in the planning stage, you could do much better for the same money, and just as fast. There is senseless density and there is sensitive density. The tower is a lazy architect’s answer to density.

Q: But city planners have by and large turned their back on modernism, have they not?

Gehl: We definitely have a new paradigm of city planning: People are very conscious of having a livable city. They want city policies that invite people to walk and bicycle as much as possible. There has been an immense increase in the number of cities that have taken this route.

The best thing you can do in city planning is to invite people to perform some natural activities every day; that’s much better than a million fitness centers.

We would have to create much more transit oriented housing–that would be like pearls on a string where you’ll have settlements where you can walk easily (to public transit) or bike easily. We have to rely on green mobility, including public transportation, as the core of these new settlements.

For too long, we’ve condemned people to have not just one but two, three cars per household to survive. The poorest people are living furthest away and having to spend the highest proportion of their income to keep a fleet of family cars going. All this is based on cheap petroleum, which we don’t have anymore.


Q: Why are urban spaces crucial to democracy?

Gehl: Number one, you can go to the American Constitution and the First Amendment’s guarantee of the people’s right to peaceably assemble. That’s a very important right, a central right. To me, that’s a very obvious relation–the right to meet in public space and democracy.

But I’d say the most important thing is the daily encounters–we need shared spaces where we meet our fellow citizens. That’s an important part of a good democracy–that you can actually meet your fellow citizens of all walks of life on a daily basis.

Q: And how have public spaces shaped politics?

Gehl: Whenever you have a dictatorship, first they prevent people from meeting. When Barcelona came out of the Franco dictatorship in 1975, the first thing city officials did was to make 200 public squares, where people could meet and talk to each other, as a sign that democracy had returned.

And in Argentina, from 1977 to 2006, the silent protest of mothers against the military dictatorship every Thursday on May Square in Buenos Aires was an example of how brave and meaningful meetings in public space can shape a better future for the people. World history is full of examples that underscore the importance of city space as a meeting place on many levels, from quiet conversation to powerful demonstration.

In Bahrain, they used to have a big square. Last year [after the uprising], they turned it into a traffic roundabout to prevent people from gathering. That goes to show how dangerous good public spaces are.

Violet Law is an independent journalist who has reported extensively on the intersection of design and urban life.

Law, Violet


>> View more: TAKING AIM <<


c2tyadad /

U.S. Cities Target Gunmakers

NEW YORK–Like Old West gun-slingers, some U.S. cities have drawn their six-shooters and are taking careful aim. Their target: the gun industry itself, the “bad guys” that city leaders say help make cities more violent and deadly.


The shootout is not taking place on a dusty Western street, but in wood-and-glass courtrooms in a number of U.S. cities, including Bridgeport, Conn., Chicago, Miami, and New Orleans.

The cities are suing a number of U.S. gun manufacturers and gun distributors, including such giants as Smith & Wesson and Colt. Some suits accuse the companies of deliberately making it easier for criminals to get guns illegally. Other suits claim the companies have failed to put safety devices on guns that would prevent accidental deaths. As a result, charge the suits, gun manufacturers and distributors should pay a large part of the huge costs of gun violence the cities have had to pay.

The Tobacco Deal

City officials have been encouraged by the success of state attorneys general in suing big tobacco companies. Those suits led to a deal between 46 states and the four largest U.S. tobacco companies under which the companies agreed to pay the states more than $250 billion.


The money is to go to help the states pay for smoking-related health costs. In return, the companies are not liable to be sued by people whose health has been ruined by smoking. The threat of such individual lawsuits is what eventually forced the tobacco companies to agree to the deal. The companies’ legal position was weakened by evidence that company leaders knew that nicotine was addictive and that smoking could cause cancer, but didn’t tell the public.

A Similar Path

The lawsuits by cities against the gun industry are following a similar path. A major charge is that gunmakers and distributors deliberately oversupplied guns to areas that have loose gun-control laws, knowing that most of the guns would be resold illegally in areas that have stricter gun-control laws.

Gun-control laws limit who can own or use guns, especially handguns. The laws vary widely from city to city and from state to state. The Brady Law, a federal law requiring a waiting period before anyone can buy a handgun, establishes a “bottom-line” gun-control law, but some states strictly enforce the law; others don’t.

Different cities are taking different approaches in their suits.

New Orleans claims that the gun industry has violated gun safety laws by failing to install high-tech gun locks on handguns. (See photo above.) Chicago is charging the industry with contributing to a “public nuisauce” by over-supplying suburban stores with guns, knowing that the surplus will find its way into the city, where gun-control laws are strictly enforced. Chicago alone is asking $443 million in its suit for gun-violence costs incurred since 1994.

Miami and New Orleans are asking for similar amounts in their suits. Several more cities, including Philadelphia and San Francisco, said they also plan to file multi-million dollar lawsuits.

“By taking this action, we are saying to the gun industry, `From now on, you are responsible for the costs associated with your dangerous products,'” said Mayor Joseph Ganim of Bridgeport.

Individuals as well as cities are going after the gun industry. The families of six people killed in shootings and one victim who survived have brought suit against 30 gun manufacturers and 15 gun distributors in a Brooklyn, N.Y. court.

Joseph Cochran, a lawyer for the families, says his clients “think they can bring the gun industry to its knees.”

Denying the Charges

The gun industry denies all these charges and says it is not to blame for gun violence in U.S. cities.

“A gun manufacturer is no more responsible for a death by wrongful use of its product than a car manufacturer would be as a result of a hit-and-run,” said Ron Nelson, who responded to a recent CNN poll.

[The suits are] an attempt to shift blame where it doesn’t belong,” said Jack Adkins of the Shooting Sports Council, an advocacy group for the gun industry. “It won’t work.”

Gunmakers fear that if the cities are successful in their suits, gun manufacturers will either be forced to go out of business or will have to raise prices so high that most people would not be able to buy guns.

That is a fear also shared by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its 3 million members. NRA President Charlton Heston said the NRA believes that if the gun industry loses the suits, the result will affect the Second Amendment right to bear arms–a right the NRA has pledged to protect.

“If [the gun industry loses] this fight,” Heston said, “gun ownership will be affordable to almost no one. And a Second Amendment no one can afford is no Second Amendment at all. That’s when the NRA goes to war?

Consider This … Do you think that manufacturers of potentially dangerous products such as firearms have a greater responsibility than other manufacturers to make sure their products are not misused? Why? Why not?


  • Guns Guns have a long history in America. The first European settlers found a wild continent that abounded with game. Guns enabled settlers to kill enough game to feed themselves in the wilderness.
  • Familiarity with the rifle played a major role in U.S. history. Because the rebel colonists were so skilled in shooting, they were better able to defeat well-trained British regular troops during the American Revolution (1775-83).
  • During the American Revolution, the Pennsylvania rifle (below), developed by German immigrants, was far superior to “Brown Bess,” the regulation military musket used by British troops. The Pennsylvania rifle was more quickly loaded and more accurate. It struck such terror into British troops that George Washington asked that as many of his troops as possible be dressed in frontiersman hunting shirts. The British thought every man thus dressed was an expert marksman. After the Revolution, the Second Amendment, protecting a citizen’s right to bear arms, became part of the Constitution.
  • After the Revolution, guns became an even more important part of American life with the push westward toward the Pacific. Guns helped to bring millions of acres of new land under the young nation’s control. Often, “frontier justice” was obtained by the person who had the fastest draw–or the best gun. Some argue that today, America’s “gun culture” has outlived its usefulness. Others, of course, disagree.


=> Next: New road maps for searching readers

Milestones of Twentieth-Century Science and Technology

c2tyadad / May 9, 2015

From galaxies to DNA and the brain, from cars to computers and antibiotics, humanity in the last 100 years has gained knowledge of and control over nature with profound consequences for both benefit and harm.

The twentieth century will be remembered for consciousness-raising and scientific/technological breakthroughs. This century made racism a shameful practice; recognized gender oppression as asocial evil; proclaimed human rights as transcending race, caste, and religion; pleaded for international economic justice; began to celebrate diversity and to care for the disabled; and condemned exploitation of the young. It released millions from colonial shackles and established world organizations in which free nations join to solve problems of food and health, promote trade and education, and resolve political differences through discussion.


The twentieth century also made more scientific discoveries, introduced more technologies, and launched more assaults on the environment than all previous time spans combined. As one example, consider electricity: Through minibatteries and mammoth generators, from wind and waves, from sun and coal, energy is extracted to make electrons flow as the currents that light up the dark, heat the oven, and serve a hundred other needful or luxurious purposes. Humanity and electricity are forever bound together. And so it is with dozens of other profound contributions to science and technology.

Let us take a bird’s-eye view of some of the milestones in science and technology achieved during the last century.

Pure Science

Space and time

We intuitively experience space and time as the core of the physical universe. Events happen in time and occur on the stage we call space. It seems that for every experienced instant there must be a corresponding instant in every nook of the universe and that the length of a rod must be the same no matter where it is measured. But Albert Einstein (1905) uncovered that space and time, movements and events are not as independent and absolute as they seem. The stationary book on a table in a train is moving with respect to the tracks; the tracks (on Earth) are moving with respect to the Sun; the Sun with respect to the center of the galaxy; and so on. Rest and motion are always relative.

We know too, thanks to Einstein again, that contrary to ordinary impression, there is no absolute ticking time that uniformly palpitates across the expanse of the universe, nor lengths and breadths independent of the place from which they are measured. Space intervals (lengths) and time intervals have meaning only with respect to reference systems. Space and time are as inextricably intertwined as heart and mind, separate to all appearances but functionally nonexistent without each other. These and other such subtleties are of little relevance in the context of daily experience, but they have profound significance in our understanding of the world. They also have far-reaching consequences, The most important of which is the equivalence between matter and energy, known through the most famous formula of the twentieth century:E = mc2. This equivalence has found gory expression in nuclear bombs, but it has also been harnessed in reactors that feed the energy hunger of millions of people. As well, it operates in the core of stars, where matter is continuously transformed into energy that radiates into the surrounding void.

Galaxies and the big bang

In the seventeenth century, the telescope revealed lunar mountains, Jovian satellites, and Saturn’s rings. With time, it revealed double stars, asteroids, new planets, and more. Finally, in the twentieth century, George Hale’s 254-cm telescope (1917)–200,000 times more powerful than the eye–revealed galaxies. During the 1920s vast stellar agglomerations were spotted beyond our stupendous Milky Way. In size and content, with multiple billions of stars, galaxies are inconceivably large miniuniverses. Elliptical, spiral, and irregular in shape, they are strewn throughout the vastness of space.


These monstrous swarms of stars are hurtling every which way at enormous speeds; the farther away the galaxies the faster they are moving. Edwin Hubble described our universe as expanding (1929): a revolutionary view, for the expanse above had been pictured as a static, permanent panorama. In 1927, Georges Lema”tre had proposed the model of a cosmic egg hatching the world, its splinters moving along in various directions.

  • Aeons ago, theorists surmised, the galaxies must have been much closer together; if we try, we can envision a moment when the totality was compressed into a minuscule region of immense density. By the late 1940s, this idea had been elaborated by George Gamow as the big bang theory. For the first time, scientists began to speak about the genesis of the universe.
  • But there is more to science than fanciful models. In 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered cosmic interference in their satellite-tracking radio dish–a uniform, universal radiation emanating from every direction in the heavens, which could only be interpreted as feeble remnants of the big bang that started it all. In the 1990s, NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer studied the radiation with greater thoroughness, further confirming the twentieth century’s cosmic worldview: Our expanding universe of countless galaxies is the fruit of a founding cataclysmic happening some 15 billion years ago.

DNA and the basis of life

In the first decade of the twentieth century, the word gene began to denote the entity that transmits inherited characteristics. Before 1930 it was recognized that at the root of genetic inheritance are two types of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), each incorporating a different type of sugar. In 1944 Oswald Avery established that DNA carries genetic information. But how could a molecule carry information for transferring life identities? In 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double-helical DNA structure. Their discovery opened the way for understanding the genetic code embodied in the complementary and bonded facing pairs of molecular units forming each “rung” of the three-dimensional DNA. Replication involves separation of the DNA strands, each of which becomes a template for a complementary strand.

This climactic revealing of the genetic code, which reads like a detective story involving many researchers, was a landmark among efforts to unscramble life’s secrets. Understanding heredity’s mechanism has opened up undreamed-of possibilities for manipulating organisms. Finding cures for inherited diseases and engineering organisms are now within human reach. The technique of incorporating genes from an organism into bacterial cells (recombinant DNA: 1970s) enables us to make artificial insulin and enhance agricultural yields for a growing world population. These conquests are not without possible harm for our species. Of particular interest is the Human Genome Project, which has become a race among governments and private companies. Its goal is to sort out the order of some three billion nucleotides in human DNA. When this is achieved in the first years of the twenty-first century, our understanding of (and power over) human beings will be enhanced in incalculable and unimaginable ways.

The microcosm

We are accustomed to matter in both small and large dimensions, to sand and dust, to boulders and mountains, to the Moon and more massive celestial bodies. One could fathom conceptually, even in ancient times, the core of matter and talk of uncuttable microunits that no eye can see and no instrument probe. But armed with mathematics, instruments, and the sturdy framework of empirical science, twentieth-century scientists penetrated the innermost depths of matter and came upon a whole new world of atoms, electrons, and such: the microcosm, wherein wondrous phenomena occur, creating the kind of world we experience.

Ultimately, the physical universe has only gross matter as tangible particles and insubstantial energy as intangible waves. The century began with the revelation that the two are distinct only in their manifestations, for they can be interconverted (1905). Then it was discovered that they change garbs in the microcosm: Matter there can behave as waves (1920s), and energy is granular (1901). The laws of quantum physics govern this netherworld of matter waves and quanta. Here the rigid rules of predictable patterns formulated in everyday physics don’t operate. Rather, wavering uncertainties come into play, resulting in processes that seem magical on our scale; electrons seep through sturdy barriers and particles leak through strongly confining nuclear walls, making transistors and radioactivity possible. We have also discovered strange new forces and subtle fluctuations in empty nothingness.

The microcosm is populated by particles such as quarks and leptons, possessing indescribable qualities like spin, parity, and baryon number. These entities emerge and decay and sometimes transform into one another. They conform to marvelous mathematical symmetries. Most remarkably, our understanding of the mysteries of the microcosm points the way to a deeper and more coherent knowledge of how the whole phenomenal universe came to be.

The brain

Of all the splendors in the universe nothing is more marvelous than the human brain. This three-pound complex of tissues, fluids, and blood vessels, made up of billions of cells, is at the root of all our actions and sensations, pains and pleasures, thoughts and ideas. The twentieth century has trophies here, too.

The brain has been reflected upon and examined since ancient times. The first decade of the twentieth century recognized Santiago Ram-n y Cajal’s view of the nervous system as a chain of barely touching neurons sending unidirectional signals. The century identified the specific roles of different parts of the brain and the functions of the right and left lobes. It discovered measurable electrical activities in the brain and related them to specific states of the mind. It has gone deep into the molecular structures and chemical processes sustaining the brain, connecting macroscopic capacities like learning and memory with particular molecules. It has revealed that new brain cells are generated even in adult brains and has found connections between the brain and immune system. The list can go on and on. All this knowledge holds promise for finding cures for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.


Some think neuroscience can never explain love and compassion, truth and beauty. But, with instruments and concepts, science is exploring the ultimate frontier: the most fascinating and perhaps dangerous territory. It is seeking to unscramble the mystery of consciousness. How does this intensely personal experience arise in each of us, unique and untransferable? What is self-awareness? How is it linked to the core of the neuron? We will wait and perhaps learn from the neuroscientists of the twenty-first century.

Science in Action

The transportation revolution

Some of our distant ancestors were nomads who wandered the continents. Yet, during the five millennia of settled civilizations, few people ever traveled much. Locomotion took time and effort. Steamships and locomotives helped somewhat during the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, two major technological revolutions forever altered human mobility. The first began in Detroit, where Ransom Eli Olds’ factory brought out 433 automobiles in 1901. In less than a decade, 240 companies were in this business. By the close of the century, countless cars and trucks were in use all over the world. While they make road travel fast, cozy, and universal, they also pollute and in accidents kill or maim tens of thousands of people each year. Associated with the automobile are many thousands of miles of paved roads and highways crisscrossing the world, replacing the muddy pathways, dirt roads, and cobblestone streets that sufficed in an earlier era.

The second revolution began when the Wright brothers’ Flyer I soared in 1903. The heavier-than-air, engine-powered plane was to inspire the aviation industry. None before this century could have imagined that someday people would be carried across land and sea in comfort, traveling far above the clouds aboard jets in supersonic flight. A further development was rocketry and missions both to distant planets and beyond our solar system. These efforts reached a climax of global and historical import in 1969 when U.S. astronauts landed on the Moon. Their achievement was an unsurpassed, spectacular success in the history of the human family.


From the moment speech began, human culture evolved. Indeed, society cannot continue without communication. Landmarks in communication have transformed civilization significantly.

  • Telegraphy, a child of the nineteenth century, was the first instance of telecommunication. From then on, telecommunication relied on advances in physics, especially electromagnetism. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted his voice across eight miles over a wire: a first in human history. So began the saga of the telephone, which became essential equipment for the twentieth-century home, office, and factory.
  • In December 1901, Guglielmo Marconi sent radio signals across the Atlantic; a sound in England was heard right away in Newfoundland. News soon traveled fast and far by radio, and entertainment came into living rooms. By the mid-1920s, inventors had managed to send images from place to place, initiating what would become TV, an invention with extraordinary potentials for informing, improving, and hurting society. Videotapes record events and sounds that can be experienced by generations yet unborn. Imagine how exciting it would be if we had videos of Socrates, Buddha, Caesar, and Christ!

Computers (1940s), artificial satellites (1950s), lasers and fiber optics (1960s) have all played a part in the telecommunication revolution. In the early 1980s, cellular phones were introduced in Chicago. Now they have spread the world over. Finally, an as yet unrealized dream of twentieth- century astronomers is to receive communication from intelligent life on a distant planet. What grander telecommunication could there be?


Efforts to prevent and cure diseases are as ancient as civilization. Microorganisms, visible only under microscopes, were first seen in the 1600s. But the connection between diseases and minuscule creatures was not recognized until the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Conceptually, this discovery led to a simple solution for prevention and cure of diseases that could be traced to bacteria: kill the bacteria or inhibit their growth. During the nineteenth century, drugs such as quinine were already used against certain diseases. Many were discovered during the twentieth century, and a stupendous international infrastructure for manufacture and distribution of antibiotic pharmaceuticals was developed.

In 1915 Frederick Twort identified bacteria-eating viruses, or bacteriophages. Alexander Fleming discovered lysozyme in 1922: a bacteria-killing substance that our bodies produce. He also found that certain molds (penicillin) make lysozyme very effectively. This line of research proved very productive, generating a series of antibiotics such as streptomycin and erythromycin. In the 1930s, Gerhard Domagk and others discovered drugs like Prontosil and chemically synthesized molecules–called wonder drugs–which also destroy harmful bacteria. Rene Dubos (1930s) initiated techniques using microorganisms to produce antibacterial chemicals. In our century, medicine has learned to combat infectious diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and typhoid, saving millions of lives.

Both overuse and underuse of antibiotics have spurred development of resistant bacterial strains. With tuberculosis killing more than two million people in 1998, staphylococcus infecting and killing patients in hospitals, and fatal pneumonia a possible outcome of severe colds, new chapters will, no doubt, be added to the story of antibiotics in the twenty-first century.

Nuclear energy

Life is sustained by energy from the Sun, but what is the source of the Sun’s endless energy? The twentieth century has found the process and replicated it.

Matter-to-energy conversions associated with atomic nuclei occur in varied forms and environments, yet conform to the formula E = mc2, which gives the precise energy value of a given amount of matter. Thus, Sun and stars transform matter in their cores into radiant energy; nature on Earth has been releasing nuclear energy from radioactive substances since time immemorial. Scientists produced radioactivity in the 1930s and first harnessed nuclear energy from uranium by fission, in which heavy nuclei are split asunder. This rarely, if ever, happens spontaneously in nature.

Nuclear fission, used in the first atom bomb (July 1945), produced a blast equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. Controlled nuclear reactions power modern reactors. Submarines using reactors cruise for years without refueling. More than 430 nuclear power plants generate energy in many countries. Energy in the Sun and stars arises from the fusion of lighter nuclei (hydrogen and helium). We have replicated this too, for the first time in 1952 when a hydrogen bomb was detonated. To our knowledge, Earth is the only place outside of any star where nuclear fusion has occurred.

Once it was thought that tapping the atomic nucleus would answer all our energy needs, but serious problems loom. Aside from the nuclear arsenals of the world, which are tinderboxes for global annihilation, devastations of incalculable magnitude could result from reactor accidents. Then there is the problem of nuclear waste disposal. Burial deep underground in very thick storage tanks is one possibility. Harnessing nuclear fusion, which has proved very difficult, is a safer way of tapping nuclear energy, since there are few wastes here. This too may be accomplished in the new century.

Computers and the Internet

As with individual lives, human history is dramatically changed by unexpected events. The computer has transformed civilization. Initially designed as a computing machine, it soon became a device that could store, organize, manipulate, and retrieve vast amounts of information in incredibly short times. But computers are not just superefficient secretaries accessing superspacious filing cabinets. They not only think and follow commands but can make decisions, draw, design, scan labels, automateindustries, calculate, translate, communicate, and more. Through the science of artificial intelligence, computers reveal how human minds may work, and some scientists think they will enable us to create replicas of the mind.

Early computers were made with vacuum tubes, which served radios and televisions of another era. Today their heartbeat is in the microchip, invented in the late 1950s and made possible by the transistor (late 1940s), which is based on discoveries resulting from quantum physics.

Microchips are found practically everywhere in modern society: planes, trains, cars, telephones, the water supply, offices, hospitals, the stock market, and schools. They have also created the Internet. Initiated for defense purposes in the late 1960s, the Internet has grown into a mammoth communication system linking countries and individuals across the world. It makes information on every topic accessible to anyone with a computer.

Late in the 1990s some feared that computers might fail and cause widespread chaos. This attitude perhaps symbolized their negative impacts and potentials: invasion of privacy, intrusion into military secrets, and sabotage. Computers have also created a multibillion- dollar industry, providing jobs to millions.

Perilous passages ahead

With all this, the twentieth century has also created stupendous problems, both pressing and potential. A population explosion in the face of diminishing oil reserves and farmable land, environmental pollution through automobiles and industrial effluents, perilous nuclear wastes, depletion of the rain forests: These are challenges of great magnitude. Then there are social and human problems, ranging from ethnic hatred and religious bigotry to poverty and malnutrition. So, though there is much to look forward to in terms of new technologies, increasing economic opportunities, interplanetary adventures, and possible cures for deadly diseases, we will be living in a fool’s paradise if we are indifferent to the problems that will face mankind in the decades ahead.

The possibilities are immense and unpredictable, for the good and the bad: The discovery of a new and limitless nonpolluting energy source could bring about a golden age of prosperity for all humanity. The rise to power of a mindless maniac with nuclear capabilities could unleash irrevocable devastation on our species. Education and science could free all mankind from ignorance and superstition, but resource scarcity could deepen the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. Religious and racial bigotry could fire simmering suspicions into horrendous conflagrations, or perhaps the emergence of an enlightened religious outlook would foster understanding and harmony among differing faiths. Or again, the long and checkered course of human history could be snuffed into a mere glitch in the planet’s saga by the rude intrusion and blind fury of a stray asteroid lured by Earth’s gravity. What awaits us in time, no one can tell. Not all the factors that shape the future are within our ken or control.

Recognizing these possibilities, let us join hands in our efforts to induce the positive and snub the negative potentials. Now, as never before in human history, we feel we are all passengers in the only spaceship we have. Fortified by the knowledge and power that come from the sciences, we may build on the finer values and wisdom of the ages and make our planet an even-more rewarding place to be.n

V.V. Raman is emeritus professor of physics at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.

Voluntary action is not a cost-cutting policy

c2tyadad /

A vibrant society is one in which people can come together for their own purposes. But to do this they need an environment that is well-resourced, accountable and independent

Poverty and charity belong together. Most people think of charity as helping the poor and needy. That we should still need charity to help tackle poverty may seem a condemnation of our society. Actually, charity is a necessary part of a good society. The language may seem archaic; the reality needs to be fit for the modern world, not abolished. Effective measures for tackling poverty must include charity; but it must be charity that is properly understood and made fit for the 21st century.


Charity has a technical legal meaning. As well as relieving need, charity rightly embraces contributing to social well-being, fostering culture and heritage. (Here is not the place to enter the controversy aroused over charity providing for the well-to-do.) The law gives everyday acts of charity legal and institutional security. Being common law, based on centuries of practice and precedent, charity law is diffuse, not easily accessible for the non-lawyer. But the legal principle that charity is independent, private action for the public good is easily accepted.

The participation of ordinary citizens in developing ways of meeting need and enriching society has always been an important test of a good society, whether under the label of charity or philanthropy, or under fashionable labels such as civil society or the “big society”. The duty of the wealthy to devote a good part of their wealth to philanthropy was claimed as part of a good market society. Encouraging and enabling “ordinary” people with a passion to improve society is likewise important. The “active citizen” has been part of the appeal to Victorian values–and the example of driven philanthropists such as Octavia Hill and Thomas Barnardo remains inspiring.

In the last century, charity became unpopular as a capricious, even cold, alibi for state neglect. But the welfare state did not do away with philanthropy. Quite apart from issues the state did not, or could not, tackle, the contribution of charity continued at least in innovative and supplementary roles. And the need for an independent voice became obvious, with the inability of the state to meet, or even to recognise, changing needs. Homelessness and the charity Shelter is perhaps the best-known example from the 1960s–still very relevant to poverty.


What do we need now from voluntary action? What can individuals and voluntary bodies provide which the state cannot? Partly it’s the mindset: people “taking control of their lives”. Local groups tackling local issues are important; but organisation is needed, and that in turn needs resource security. Charity should provide the institutional basis for that.

  • The public and charitable sectors are natural partners. The guiding principle of both is the public good. Seeking a good society free of poverty ought to be a fundamental goal of government. And that is the basic test of what it is to be a charity. It is therefore important to develop a framework under which state and citizen can cooperate in working towards this goal. Not that society should be homogenised.
  • A vibrant society is one in which people can come together for their own purposes without having to rely on, or indeed get the permission of, the state. Diversity is good in itself. A multiplicity of initiatives trying to crack intractable social problems is desirable–healthy competition is good in charity as well as in the market. But collective action can be divisive, the clash of conflicting aims. An enduring value of the concept of charity is that it is rooted in what is good for society at large, not sectional interest. This highlights the other aspect of citizen participation–its potential for contributing to the public good.

Increasingly since the 1970s, governments have pursued an active policy of supporting voluntary action and encouraging giving and volunteering. Public expenditure constraints have raised the question of government motives–promoting citizen engagement as good in itself or saving money?

Government sensitivity towards voluntary bodies that criticise government policies highlights the ambiguity. Attempts to curb the “political” engagement of the voluntary sector have been a regular feature of the “partnership”. Yet people who are passionately committed to tackling a social evil want to raise their voices as well as take action–they do not want to be merely mute “active citizens”. One role of voluntary action is clearly to meet need. Food banks make a material difference to the well-being of the needy. Contributing ideas is equally important. The experience of charities can make a difference to understanding social problems. They have the credibility to highlight issues. Public policy would be the poorer if that expertise was inhibited. This rightly involves participating in debate on public policy.


A flourishing civil society needs an enabling framework which guarantees institutional security; adequate sources of funding; proportionate accountability to maintain public confidence; and independence of voice and action.

  • One reason why charity has remained at the heart of the voluntary sector is that the concept enshrines the two key elements: public benefit and independence. The core of charity law rests on the concept of trust. It enshrines the altruism expected of charity–for the public good not for personal benefit. And its premise is independence: trustees must act in the best interests of their charity, not on behalf of any other interest or authority. This thus distinguishes charities absolutely from the new style of bodies operating at arms-length from government but under government’s guidance. Of course, this is fine in theory, but not easy to ensure. Funders, public, private or charitable, will expect a proper account of the use of their money. And public bodies will seek the realisation of their policies. Ensuring that a genuine partnership of equals is maintained is the challenge. Proper accountability is necessary.
  • The right to free expression belongs as clearly to organisations as to individuals. Charities’ exercise of this right is qualified. The legal basis for this is questionable. The public expect charities to be non-political bodies; but the law defines political not just in terms of party-political engagement, but extends to aiming to change the law or government policy (this being the prerogative of parliament). That public confidence in charities resting on their not being political may seem to justify this principle; but the contribution of charities to the development of the law and policy depends on their raising their voice on the basis of experience. The legal compromise is that, while charities cannot have a political purpose, they can engage in “political” activities so long as this contributes to their “non-political” aims.


This raises the vexed question of the regulation of charities. But this already tilts away from independence. If trustees must exercise absolute responsibility over how their charity seeks to fulfil its purposes, to submit them to regulation is at best a misleading notion. Charities are not public utilities. It would be a fundamental breach of the basic constitutional principle to subject them to regulatory oversight, with the substantive second guessing expected of utility regulators.

The “regulation” of charities should be enabling: upholding the ethos and integrity of charity, for sure–the “conscience” of the sector–but working with charities to enable volunteer trustees to provide effective governance. Good management, integrity and public confidence require that charities are properly “accountable”. But this is a slippery term, covering enforceable accountability and accountability that demonstrates aims and achievements –transparency, in other words.

Much of the controversy which the Charity Commission is currently attracting misses this point. Deliberate abuse needs strong intervention, often involving the police and the tax authorities. But the vast majority of trustees are seeking to do something public-spirited. They need guidance not regulation.

The Charities Act 2011 consolidates recent reforms and sets out what charity covers in the present day. Thus far, it provides a modern definition. But it leaves the crucial test of what counts as public benefit to the traditional processes of the common law. The enhanced regulatory role of the Charity Commission has been undermined by budget cuts of 30 per cent. The austerity programme has also hit the sector through the impact of cuts.

We are back to the ambiguity of government motives. The “big society” will do as a label for the engagement of people seeking to tackle social need. Vibrant communities are an essential part of the response to that challenge. But it needs money. Encouraging charitable giving is important, but it does not suffice. Voluntary action is not a cost-cutting policy. Investment in voluntary bodies produces better, not cheaper, policies.

Richard Fries is a Webb Memorial trustee and former chief charity commissioner

Community leaders concerned as bank tries to attract other groups

c2tyadad / May 5, 2015

Jimmy Rodriguez, a noted Puerto Rican restaurateur, seems like the last person the leading Puerto Rican bank in the country would want to lose as a customer.

But when he tried to refinance a 10-year-old debt through Banco Popular to renovate his flagship Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe, the U.S. subsidiary of the San Juan, Puerto Rico, bank turned him down, he says, without explanation. Mr. Rodriguez says his stellar credit was recognized by North Fork Bank, which issued a loan commitment within a week.


“Banco Popular didn’t tell me that the numbers didn’t make sense or that I didn’t have enough cash flow,” Mr. Rodriguez says. “The answer was, `Not at this time.’ ”

Whatever the bank’s reasons-it declined to comment, citing client confidentiality-its rejection of one of the pillars of the local Puerto Rican community is playing poorly among Hispanic business and social leaders. It helped to crystallize the growing feeling that they are not well served by a bank with roots stretching back four decades among the city’s Puerto Ricans.

While community leaders are concerned about everything from disrespectful treatment in the branches to the opening of check-cashing operations in low-income areas, their chief complaint is that Banco Popular is too tightfisted.


Reputation is crucial

“I think that they are really viewed as the bank of the community,” observes Lorraine Cortez-Vasquez, president of the Hispanic Federation. “The issue with them is that they sometimes don’t take enough risk as far as lending in the community.”

Banco Popular’s reputation among Hispanics remains crucial, particularly in New York, where its 32 branches account for a third of its 96-branch U.S. network and, at $2.5 billion, 44% of its total assets. It also has branches in Illinois, Texas, California, New Jersey and Florida.

Banco Popular can’t afford to take its customer base for granted as it strives to expand around the country and appeal to people of different ethnic groups. That’s partly because large competitors, including Citigroup, are hungrily eyeing the burgeoning Hispanic population.

“We will never back off on the success we have had with the Hispanic population,” insists Christine Summers, senior vice president and director of Community Reinvestment Act compliance at Banco Popular.

But there is a perception that the bank is backing off, fueled by, among other things, minimal marketing aimed at Hispanics. Voices in television ads, for instance, pronounce “Banco Popular” without a Latino accent.

“The bank is trying to serve both Latino and non-Latino markets,” says Chuck Gonzalez, regional chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “There is some question about whether it is meeting the expectations of what represents its core market, where there is some residual expectation that it is a Latino bank.”


Merely `satisfactory’

There is more than anecdote to support the notion that Banco Popular has pulled back on its lending. Its current CRA rating, issued last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is “satisfactory,” down from “outstanding” in its previous rating.

In the 2002 report, the Fed noted sharp declines in the number of residential and small business loans in the New York metropolitan market from 1999 through 2001, when the total number of such regional loans plunged 43%.

CRA reports rate banks according to how extensively they lend, invest and deliver services in low- and moderate-income areas. Examples of banks with a current rating of “outstanding” include HSBC Bank USA and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Hispanic business leaders also have raised issues of how the bank treats them and other customers in the branches, where, they say, workers can be curt and downright rude to patrons.

Ms. Summers says that Banco Popular has already started to improve its lending record, and that this will be reflected in future CRA reports. The bank is working to perk up its record on funding large-scale community development projects, by, for example, upping its commitment to major housingdevelopments in New York City to $40 million from $6.8 million last year.

Seeks to improve rating

The bank will follow those construction projects with mortgage loans to low- and moderate-income people moving into new units in places like Bushwick, Brooklyn, bank officials say.

Banco Popular is making those commitments partly to improve its CRA rating, which could help smooth the way for acquisitions. The bank’s stated goal is to double in size in two years, an aim that until recently had been stymied by a money laundering scandal at Banco Popular’s parent company in Puerto Rico. Regulators blocked the bank from buying other institutions until the issue was resolved.

Ms. Summers says the decline in small business lending came about because of economic problems in New York during 2000 and 2001, including the Sept. 11 attack, which resulted in higher unemployment. “Those unemployment rates impacted credit ratings and all kinds of things,” including taxi medallion loans and franchise lending, she notes.

The Banco Popular executive attributes a decline in mortgage lending in part to the bank’s making a transition from originating loans through brokers to originating its own loans and having them serviced by Cendant Corp.

Check-cashing offices

But other steps by the bank lead some Puerto Rican community leaders to question how truly committed the bank is to helping low-income people. Rather than steering immigrants into its banks and educating them about the U.S. banking system, it has opened four check-cashing offices in New York City that generate fees for Banco Popular every time a customer cashes a check.

Despite their growing concerns, some leaders say it isn’t too late for Banco Popular to make amends.

“I put all of my personal finances into Banco Popular because I believe strongly in supporting Hispanic institutions,” says Rossana Rosado, publisher and chief executive of El Diario/La Prensa. “I would hope that they feel the same way.”


NO SERVICE: Restaurateur Jimmy Rodriguez was rejected by Banco Popular. El Diario/La Prensa publisher Rossana Rosado hopes it supports Hispanic enterprises.