An intriguing, if not always riveting, memoir about a green engineer’s personal and professional evolution.

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An environmental activist finds inspiration in Eastern mysticism in this memoir from Yudelson (Reinventing Green Building, 2016, etc.).

Yudelson’s journey into environmentalism was one more of necessity than ideology. When the author was growing up in suburban Los Angeles, the smog and polluted beaches represented a direct infringement on his quality of life. His goal was to become an engineer, but the anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s—plus the degradation he noticed in the landscape around him—drove him into the nascent environmentalist movement. He dropped out of graduate school at the California Institute of Technology two months after planning the Caltech event for the first Earth Day in 1970 and threw himself into a career as an environmental engineer. The final component in his evolution as an eco-activist was perhaps an unexpected one: a spiritual dimension. He found it in the teachings of Baba Muktananda, an Indian guru whose practice involved meditation and yoga. After meeting Baba in 1974 during a retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Yudelson began a decadeslong intercontinental journey blending spiritual philosophy with environmental design practices, pioneering a new field of green building and earning the nickname “the Godfather of Green.” Yudelson’s prose is simple yet elegant, infused with the sincerity of a true believer. Here he describes the sensation he felt when Baba Muktananda first touched him: “As Baba’s energy moves around inside my head, my mind becomes still, perhaps for the first time. I am both inside my body and, in my awareness, floating freely, somewhere outside. The energy invokes feelings: blissful, unexpected, intensely familiar.” The book is hardly a page-turner: Yudelson’s adventures are impressive without being inherently exciting—they are largely summarized, not dramatized, and the tensest moments usually involve a guru (whom skeptical readers will revere far less than the author does). Even so, Yudelson’s blend of environmentalism and spiritualism captures an overlapping sensibility that was perhaps more common among an earlier generation than it is today. His story is an illustrative one for those interested in the roots of the green movement in 1960s protest culture and the ways that it has evolved to become a powerful force in our own critical period of climate change. 

An intriguing, if not always riveting, memoir about a green engineer’s personal and professional evolution.

Pub Date: April 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-948018-72-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2020



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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