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We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness Hardcover – October 30, 2006

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Often rambling and occasionally pedantic, the essays in Walker's latest collection can also be stunningly insightful. Mixing prose with poetry, she discusses Martin Luther King, feminism and meditation, among other subjects, always circling back to themes of integrity and activism. The most substantial entries are based on live lectures. In a speech to the graduating class of the California Institute of Integral Studies, Walker urges that we not fear the pause that "wisdom requires" when "something major is accomplished," despite our eagerness to rush into "The Future." She manages to show how this "moment of reflection" is natural and necessary, whether the defining event is college graduation, menopause or the buildup to a military invasion. Her 2002 lecture, "I Call That Man Religious," argues that Fidel Castro is a "truly religious man" because he "speaks out for the rights of the poor," in contrast to the Catholic Church, which hid its priests' abuse of children for so long. More contradictory is "Crimes Against Dog," in which she describes a visit to buy a labrador retriever and her discomfort at the similarity between dog breeders and slaveholders, but doesn't consider getting a mutt. Despite the annoying inclusion of homework-like assignments at the end of most essays, this book will inspire hope. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Walker, best known as a novelist, offers a collection of her essays and talks in a variety of venues and efforts to express and encourage spirituality and progressive political ideas. Talking to midwives, black yoga instructors, college students, Buddhists, and other admirers of her work, Walker offers commentary on the ways that modern society is destroying itself and the earth, and yet stands on the threshold of promising development. Walker urges resistance to war, lower birth rates, simpler living, and simple kindness as ways to improve life for us all. In a commencement address, she urges her listeners to value "the pause," the time between accomplishments when we wonder what is next and are afraid of the temporary emptiness. Taking her title from words by the poet June Jordan, Walker encourages the reader to recognize the potential that each of us has to make positive changes in the world and our lives. This is a thoughtful and reflective look at life and the search for meaning. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; First Edition edition (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595581375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595581372
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 4.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Walker (b. 1944), one of the United States' preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I normally don't pay much attention to the Editorial Reviews, but the review from Publishers Weekly has to be the lamest review I have ever read. It seems as if this reviewer has broken down this book in order to fit into some sort of actuarial table or spreadsheet. I originally took this book out of the library because of the essay about her and address to Black Yoga Teachers in the current issue of "The Shambhala Sun." I was stunned by Ms Walker's grasp of the overwhelming interconnectedness of seemingly paradoxical forces of energy that we create and create the life around us. Issues such as knowledge, kindness, compassion, the persistence of evil, the necessity of nonviolence, the love of the utter importance of the Feminine element in the life of the world. Of contradictions like Castro who, despite the rigidness of his regime, articulates the true needs of the majority of people in the world. She is eloquent in her meditations on silence, on simplicity, on the values of personal "neighborliness", for lack of a better word, on the intrinsic sacredness of the earth and each other. I cannot praise this book enough. I got it from our library and am now buying my own personal copy to treasure and scribble in.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Diana L. Black on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Since it is a compilation of short stories, it's nice to take with me and read a complete story or two. I have recommended this book to many people. It's right on with the times and in many ways is very revealing about the history and feelings of our black citizens.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Althea on February 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Walker is an awesome writer. I became addicted to her writing after reading this one. She has down to earth insight, a very thoughtful way of looking at things. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with world violence, oppression, human degradation, poverty, global warming, as well as other issues. It's full of hope.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Ramos on November 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't felt as close to the great spirit reading any other book, except the Bible , as I have read reading We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For. Alice Walker's collection of essays and speeches is just what I needed in my life at this time. Leaving college and not being able to find full time work, coupled with breaking up with a long-time love and living back with my family after four years away left me feeling empty, drained, useless, and a failure. It was one of the most trying times in my life to date. My spirit felt broken. I was looking for something to pull me back up again. With all this talk of 2012 I became interested in the Hopi Prophesy whose ending line is "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For." I had heard this phrase spoken in President Obama's 2008 campaign and it was a phrase that struck a chord at this moment in my life. I googled the phrase and stumbled across Walker's book which I immediately ordered, being a fan of her other work the Color Purple. As I read the different passages tears came to my eyes numerous times. From her opening poems about children, birth and her descriptions of her awe of nature to her explanations of the "pause" in life between one thing ending and another beginning, I was brought to tears many times. Walker describes the pain she felt after separating from her first husband and how she learned the tenets of Buddhism and mediation because of it. This rang a bell in my own life as I was also driven to Buddhism last year because of the anguishing pain I felt the first time me and my ex broke up. She says that many people find Buddhism because they are hopeless lovers trying to deal with the pain of losing a loved one.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leinau on June 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this after hearing an on-air interview of Alice Walker by Amy Goodman on Pacifica Radio and enjoyed the journey through these essays. I encourage those intrigued by the title to take the plunge and buy it. We are the ones we have been waiting for, and it is helpful at times to have someone light the way in a time of darkness.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jim Parrish on July 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reveals how we as individuals can make a difference. The author presents a clear and accurate picture of what we should strive for in our relationships with this world we inhabit.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. Bruce on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must read - period. Funny, thought provoking, insightful, upsetting, and educational are just a few words that I can use to describe this book. Enjoy!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By goddess18 on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. Alice Walker gives us the words to connect to the universal experience of being humans living on our planet at this time. This is the book I most often turn to when I find myself at a cross roads and want some clarity. The individual chapters are each a speech or essay of Ms Walkers guaranteed to connect you to the human experience. I am unable to keep this book on my bookshelf despite buying multiple copies at a time. I always find someone at a crossroads who needs a copy! Now with my Kindle edition I will be able to keep one for myself. You owe it to yourself to read this gem.
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