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Robert T has commented on (2) products.

The Sufis by Idries Shah
The Sufis

Robert T, May 29, 2006

A truly unique and indispensible survey of the, uh, religion?...psychologic framework?...anthropologic technique? and method of human development?...that Shah portrays in this wide-ranging sketch of Sufi thought, insight, and accomplishment. There's something here for all True Believers not to like, whether they're academics, dancing/praying/dreamy devotees, or Islamic partisans--no one who espouses a settled point of view will avoid being irritated, if not enraged, by this book. Though sometimes dismissed as a compendium of warmed-over, speculative, and poorly documented essays on various aspects of the Islamic-Western philosophic dialog, The Sufis has been in print for more than 40 years, and has to be considered a "must read" book for anyone interested in the topic.

Setting aside the background controversy, there are those who, looking back at the historic 'revival' roles of al-Ghazali, ibn el-Arabi, and Rumi, suggest that this book is intended to jolt an effete and faltering Sufi community out of its slumber --and that the book is itself an example of Sufi "action teaching," meant not just to inform but to embody the (occasionally uncomfortable) encounter between qualified teacher and capable student. That was essentially the contention of Robert Graves, whose long-ago introduction noted that The Sufis is intended for the reader who will instantly recognize it as addressed to him/herself.

Whether merely sampling the sketches of historically important Sufi thinker/exemplars, enjoying the many teaching stories (such as the prefatory "The Islanders" or Nasrudin anecdotes), or dipping into strange and provocative material not previously available anywhere in the west ("The Book of the Dervishes," and "The Dervish Orders," for example), The Sufis will reward the reader who comes to it with healthily skeptical curiosity and gives it time to be absorbed.
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The Oxford Book of American Poetry by David Lehman
The Oxford Book of American Poetry

Robert T, May 29, 2006

Scandalously unbalanced treatment of American verse; time spent bowing and scraping at the idol of Walt Whitman, among others, is gained at the expense of some of America's this volume, BOTH W.H. Auden and T.S. Eliot are American poets (one born and educated in England, emigrating to the U.S. at age 40; the other born and largely educated in the U.S., adopting Britain in his mid-20s) ...glance through the table of contents and browse the volume itself, and you'll find tiny snippets of some of our best poets, engulfed by huge selections of the few that this editor considers laudable. A biased, lamentable volume that is totally unworthy of the Oxford imprimatur.
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(13 of 31 readers found this comment helpful)

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