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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing



On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »

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Customer Comments

Jason Straight has commented on (12) products.

Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution by Nikki R. Keddie
Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution

Jason Straight, August 16, 2010

Understand the headlines! If you want to acquire a good grasp of Iranian history and Iran in the present this is the place to begin. Special attention is played to protest, revolutionary, workers, and student movements in Iranian as well as the interplay between Islam, modernization, and constitutionalism. An Iran is revealed that is perhaps the most important political experiment in the modern world. The only draw back is Keddie's sometimes abstruse wording and tendency to shift between past and present tense seemingly on a whim.
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Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel Everett
Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes

Jason Straight, August 23, 2009

Imagine a language with no numbers, no colors, no cardinal directions; imagine a people with no leaders, who rarely sleep, and have no gods or creation myths. You would be envisioning the Pihara and their language. In Don't Sleep, There are Snakes, Dan Everett provides a fascinating account of his life among the Piraha people and his long process to learn their language and culture. Everett provides an entertaining and enlightening account of a way of a unique way of life, in the process he takes the accepted wisdom of modern linguistics to the cleaners, chipping away at the foundation of Chomsky universal grammar. Don't Sleep also provides the personal account of a one time Christian missionary, who rethought the universe and his place in it after confronting a people whose view of the world caused him to question his own. If you are at all interested in language, traditional culture, anthropology, or merely in need of some enlightenment, read this book.
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Old English and Its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages by Orrin Robinson
Old English and Its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages

Jason Straight, April 6, 2009

Robinson's guide is an excellent and accessable introduction to the oldest members of the Germanic language family (including Old English, the precusor of the language used in this review) and to Germanic linguistics in general. The book will not teach you all 7 languages but will introduce you to them and their most unique features and explain the similarities of the various languages. Even the expert long in the tooth of Germanic linguistics will find Robinson's section on the relationships of the languages useful and worth refering back to.
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An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England by Bruce Mitchell
An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England

Jason Straight, April 6, 2009

Old English is certainly old but at first glance it appears anything but English. In this book, Bruce Mitchell exposes the Englishness of Old English and carefully expounds easy steps to making the earliest forms of the English language comprehensible to the reader. For complete knowledge of the language it would be best to look further than merely Mitchell's introduction (perhaps to his Guide or to Campbell's grammar). But as an introduction to the casual learning or merely to satiate curiousity or to encourage the learner who feels bogged down in academic jargon with a more traditional approach, Mitchell's invitaton is very welcome indeed.
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The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W Tuchman
The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Jason Straight, April 6, 2009

A monument to human foolishness. While historians often try to make sense of the patterns of history, Tuchman's classic book reminds us that history does not always make sense. Since its publication, a sequel could already be written by the failure of many to yield to the lessons of this book's view of history.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)



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