A scholarly self-help book with sage guidance and real-life examples of “cooperative wisdom” in action.



Scherer (co-author: Two Paths Toward Peace, 1991, etc.) and Jabs (The Heirloom Gardener, 1984, etc.) offer an erudite yet accessible guide to managing destabilized environments at home or out in the world.

The authors note that keeping family and friends safe from harm was easier to manage in ancient times, when most lived in clans of about 120 people. Even today, they say, social scientists set 120 as the maximum number of friends in a group that can provide mutual support to one another. By comparison, our contemporary social networks are vast, and, according to this book, the risk of doing unintentional harm to others is immense, whether one is running a parent-teacher association or a multinational corporation. To navigate our complicated world, Scherer, a professor emeritus in the philosophy department of Bowling Green State University, offers the principle of “cooperative wisdom,” a skill which may be learned, he says, by practicing five virtues: “proactive compassion,” which “attunes us to [others’] vulnerability”; “deep discernment,” which, in part, “deepens our grasp on what matters”; “intentional imagination,” which “reconceives what is possible”; “inclusive integrity,” which aims to “ensure that benefits and respect are mutual”; and “creative courage,” which allows people to “willingly incur the risks” of change. He and his co-author and former student Jabs guide readers through these and their accompanying practices. The book grew out of lecture notes that Scherer prepared for a graduate-level seminar, and this genesis occasionally peeks through in statements such as “Specialists become comfortable with and even attached to particular ways of doing things, and they may be reluctant to modify, much less abandon, specialized knowledge.” The otherwise conversational style, reminiscent of that of Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell in the 1988 PBS series and subsequent book The Power of Myth, adds friendliness to a serious topic. Jabs’ interjections are in hard-to-read italics, but for the most part, Scherer’s words are empathetic, compelling, and frequently pithy, as when he refers to the practices for each virtue as “exercises…that expand our moral range of motion.”

A scholarly self-help book with sage guidance and real-life examples of “cooperative wisdom” in action.

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971668-1-1

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Green Wave Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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