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American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture (Captial Ideas) Paperback – September 30, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture by Mary Collins is such an interesting take on our way of life in North America. The physically active author had a severe bike accident, which drastically impaired her health. In her eagerness to regain some mobile abilities she began a study of movement and its ability to empower us. She began to realize how important being outdoors in green space is and that adults and children in our culture live almost entirely indoors and don't move their bodies any more than necessary. Collins has spent years studying the importance of movement and outdoor exercise to our overall health and writes about her findings, including physical, mental, and spiritual. Many interesting findings and simple ways to alter our family lives are included in this astonishing book. A must read!

About the Author

MARY COLLINS is a professor of creative writing at Central Connecticut State University and is the award-winning author of The Essential Daughter: Changing Expectations for Girls at Home (Praeger), National Public Radio (Seven Locks Press), and Airborne: A Photobiography of Wilbur and Orville Wright (National Geographic Books). Ms. Collins has received numerous awards for her work, both as a professor and a writer, including the Best Essay of the Year Award from the American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA) and the Best Young Adult Book Award from ASJA as well. In addition, Ms. Collins has written many articles and books for a variety of clients, including Smithsonian Magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic Books, the Discovery Channel, the Boston Globe, Time-Life Books, McGraw-Hill, Pearson Publishing, and others. Prior to teaching at Central Connecticut State University, Collins was an award-winning faculty member at Johns Hopkins University’s graduate writing program in Washington, D.C. She remains actively involved in the professional writing community, is a sought-after panelist and speaker.
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Product Details

  • Series: Captial Ideas
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Capital Books; 1 edition (September 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933102888
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933102887
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author



Mary Collins grew up in New England, but spent most of her professional career in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a consulting writer and editor for a wide range of clients, including National Geographic and the Smithsonian,and taught writing part-time for 12 years at Johns Hopkins University's MA in Writing Program. In 2007 she moved to teaching full-time and is now a professor of creative writing at Central Connecticut State University. She returned to her native state to be near family, to walk right out her door to wooded trails and the charm of a small town, and to teach writing to as many students as she can handle.

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
A great, thought-provoking read.
Kenneth Ackerman
I always feel best when my legs are moving at a brisk walk, lungs expanding to breathe deeply, eyes and ears keenly aware of my surroundings.
Peg Moran
Kind of gives a new resonance to the term Activist.
Venona

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Mcelhinney on October 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is high time we open our eyes to the reality of the wrongheadedness of our American lifestyle and how we contribute to it daily. It is particularly appropriate considering all the conversation re the health system in this country and how it is failing us-- maybe we are doing more to fail ourselves-- our children, our culture. Collins style makes this a thoroughly readable and (hard to believe due to the subject matter) enjoyable book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Venona on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Surely none but Mary Collins, a preternaturally gifted teacher, editor, and flat-out terrific storyteller, could have pulled off making a distasteful reality so appealing.

The reality?

We're sunk, we Americans, in a morass of self-imposed sluggishness that hasn't budged despite billions of dollars invested in getting us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, or jockstraps, or whatever bits and bytes we can manage to leverage ourselves into a more mobile and vibrant lifestyle.

The horrid truth of our longstanding National decline that measures back to the Eisenhower years (at least!) is unappetizing, yet Collins invests it with all sorts of unprecedented treatments and unexpected viewing angles. Each chapter could stand alone; combined, they're well nigh irresistable.

From taking us inside the exalted Olympic training facility, to skirting the dubious underside of video gaming, Mary Collins has taken her quest to figure out the Why of America's effectively wounded "corpus" to extraordinary lengths. And we get to come along for the ride. Read, and heed, the lessons Collins lays out for us in each chapter, and -- if you dare -- take the quiz at the end.

Collins took on this theme because she dam near lost her own mobility in a bicycle accident that might have killed, or permanently crippled, a less determined soul. Though she started out, she says, a little arrogant in her assumptions, she ended up humbled, and considerably wiser. Reading her saga, her journey into the heart of the American meltdown, is calculated to make us wiser, and maybe humbled too. Kind of gives a new resonance to the term Activist.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Meeker on October 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great read! Each chapter is a separate adventure.

I confronted my own prejudice and bias about people less fit than me, as I read this book. For all of the discourse, programs, legislation and discovery about exercise , movement, diet, and their benefits, we are no more active as a country than we were during the Eisenhower administration--how can that be?

Mary's book is a pager-turner journey of discovery, fueled by her quest to reclaim her own physical grace after a horrific accident--and what a journey it is, from a Hunter-Gatherer archeological site, to the US Olympic Center, to a Harley -Davidson plant...

It is easy for books like this to point from the sidelines at all that is wrong. Mary not only chronicles the transforming root causes of our "idle" lives (surprise, It's not just a question of will power/ discipline!) but also suggests/ chronicles solutions that are sustainable or already working. Bravo.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Neely on October 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture by Mary Collins is such an interesting take on our way of life in North America. The physically active author had a severe bike accident, which drastically impaired her health. In her eagerness to regain some mobile abilities she began a study of movement and its ability to empower us. She began to realize how important being outdoors in green space is and that adults and children in our culture live almost entirely indoors and don't move their bodies any more than necessary. Collins has spent years studying the importance of movement and outdoor exercise to our overall health and writes about her findings, including physical, mental, and spiritual. Many interesting findings and simple ways to alter our family lives are included in this astonishing book. A must read!
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American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture (Captial Ideas) + Medical Terminology Systems (Text Only): A Body Systems Approach
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