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A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilizationby Brian Griffith
Synopses & Reviews
ForeWord Reviews Mothers Day Staff Pick: Books Mom Will Love”
A valuable historical reference guide.” —Publishers Weekly
This is a very ambitious and timely book, a book that many historians, literary theorists and story tellers who care about China and its Other Half of the Sky” want to write, but Brian Griffith did it first, with such scope, ease and fun.” —WANG PING, author of The Last Communist Virgin and Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China
This book is a most engaging and entertaining read, and the depth of its scholarship is astounding. Griffith vividly describes the counterculture of Chinese goddesses, shows that their fascinating stories are alive and active today, and points us toward a more inclusive and caring partnership future.” —RIANE EISLER, author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics and The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future
Touching on the whole story of China—from Neolithic villages to a globalized Shanghai—this book ties mythology, archaeology, history, religion, folklore, literature, and journalism into a millennia-spanning story about how Chinese women—and their goddess traditions—fostered a counterculture that flourishes and grows stronger every day.
As Brian Griffith charts the stories of Chinas founding mothers, shamanesses, goddesses, and ordinary heroines, he also explores the largely untold story of womens contributions to cultural life in the worlds biggest society and provides inspiration for all global citizens.
Brian Griffith grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is an independent historian who examines how cultural history influences our lives, and how collective experience offers insights for our future.
"Inspired by a statue of the Chinese goddess of universal compassion, Guanyin, that stands in the author's hometown of Toronto, historian Griffith (Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story) presents this wide-ranging anthology of Chinese goddesses. For centuries, Guanyin has been an object of devotion for Chinese Buddhists and, as Kannon, to Japanese and Korean followers. Working from the comprehensive history of Chinese gender relations published in 1995 by the Chinese Partnership Studies Group (The Chalice & The Blade in Chinese Culture), the author seeks to prove that goddess-based faiths promote a strong 'reverence for life.' Written in a readable first person and presented in textbook format with chapter subheads, this catalogue of goddesses ranges from the dawn of creation and the half-snake goddess NÃ¼ Wa, to 20th century heroines such as Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai. In addition to serving as a valuable historical reference guide, Griffith's study sheds light on the evolution of women's roles in Chinese society, from the early days of matrilineal 'womb' clans (a legacy still apparent in Taiwan) to revolutionary female activists of the 20th century. Includes maps, timelines, alphabetical glossary of goddesses and divine couples, and bibliography. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The goddess tradition remakes China and the world.
Howard Zinn meets Joseph Campbell and Gloria Steinem in a book written for the omnivorous reader—anyone curious about China, world mythology, and womens history. Touching on the whole story of China—from Neolithic villages to a globalized Shanghai—this book ties mythology, archaeology, history, religion, folklore, literature, and journalism into one great, evolving story of how Chinese women—and the goddess tradition—fostered a counterculture that flourishes and grows stronger every day.
As Brian Griffith charts the stories of Chinas founding mothers, shamanesses, goddesses, and ordinary heroines, he also explores the largely untold story of womens contributions to cultural life in the worlds biggest society. He presents their history as one of action, not, as it is so often, cheerleading for the powerful. These aren't just stories,” he says. These are expressions of what have been a peoples hopes, and a sign of what can be a future world.”
Impeccably researched, Griffiths enlightening, conversational history reveals the female-oriented world view that evolved within Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religion, and how that venerable counterculture is reshaping modern ideas about nature, power, equality, community, health, and spirituality.
Brian Griffith grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is an independent historian who views historical research as a means to understanding how cultural history influences our lives and can point toward contemporary solutions for the worlds biggest problems.
About the Author
Brian Griffith, who grew up in Texas, studied history at the University of Alberta, and now lives just outside of Toronto, is an independent historian who sees research as a means to finding contemporary solutions for the worlds biggest problems. He has spent twenty five years patiently unraveling the truth behind the stories that make up our cultural history—from who tells them, what purposes they serve, and how they have evolved over time—through his books The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History, Different Visions of Love: The Partnership and Dominator Values in World History, Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story, and The Fall and Rise of Chinese Goddesses(forthcoming in May 2012).
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