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Compassionate Souls : Raising the Next Generation to Change the World 0th Edition

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1930051034
ISBN-10: 1930051034
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Farb, a biologist and activist, urges adults to be consciously aware of the choices they make in parenting and how these are shaped by such outside influences as the media, popular culture and marketing. The author covers a number of issues, including natural childbirth, breastfeeding, animal rights and progressive education, citing research as well as personal experience to shore up her arguments in support of each. A tedious chapter dissects the author's birth experiences, but overall, Farb's concise, earnest writing reveals an apparently heartfelt wish to make the world a safer, better place for children and families. A devoted vegan, the author includes a useful chapter on the advantages of vegan diets for pregnant women as well as for families and reveals disturbing information about the practices of the meat and poultry industries (she was once employed as a biodecontamination specialist). Home-schooling, not surprisingly, is another of her favorite topics, as is the potential dangers of vaccinating children, which she covers in depth. While some of her leaps seem dubious (she speculates, for instance, that bottle-fed babies will grow up to be more materialistic than those who are breastfed), much of her text is obviously carefully researched. Though the author's wholesome life style may not appeal to readers dedicated to Disney, Barbie, burgers and other pop culture favorites, parents onAor overAthe mainstream fence will find plenty here to inspire and guide them. Farb shelters her own children from television, movies, junk food and the like, but she manages to maintain a nonjudgmental approach toward parents. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

As Parents, there IS a lot to know, and today with more choices then ever before parents DO have a lot to think about. We are inundated with information, yet when we stop to reflect upon it, much of what we are being told just doesn't feel right in our hearts. Sometimes it seems that the information most widely available just encourages us to buy something, or worse...makes us feel vulnerable or incapable of acting in our family's best interest. We are overwhelmed with the responsibility of making choices for this new and vulnerable person entrusted to our care. We want to give our baby the best possible start in life. We want to protect him or her from danger. We want to teach our children to think-for-themselves and not be seduced by the less wholesome parts of our culture. We are loath to make mistakes even though we understand that we most certainly will. The popular books, magazines, talk shows, longtime friends, relatives, and pediatricians all seem to reinforce the status where can you turn to tap into an alternative perspective? How can you really have a choice about how to raise your children when most of what you are surrounded with encourages you to care for your children in one particular way -- a way that is actually very new to our species and inconsistent with our fundamental biological needs?

Compassionate Souls -- Raising the Next Generation to Change the World is a place to start. This book can help you figure out your own unique parenting path. And unique it MUST be. No other person comes to parenting with exactly your personality, your life history, your family issues, your particular desires and dreams all taking place in the context of this never-before-experienced culture. You don't need to agree with this approach to benefit from reading Compassionate Souls. You simply need to think about the issues in the context of your own situation, and explore some of the additional sources of information to come up with what makes the most sense to you.

You can benefit from JoAnn Farb's passion for research, her experience as a microbiologist working for a multinational pharmaceutical company and her own personal struggle as a mother to raise healthy, thinking children who she hope's will inspire others to live compassionate lives and usher in a better world.

Compassionate Souls distills a vast amount of information on a wide variety of topics related to health and parenting and organizes it all in a very readable way while weaving in personal stories that illustrate the ideas and facilitate retention.

Compassionate Souls -- Raising the Next Generation to Change the World. Let's give all our children the birthright of evolved homo-sapiens -- Vibrant health and membership in a loving and compassionate community.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Booklight (July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930051034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930051034
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,047,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
On the outside it looks like this book is an introduction to what I consider the right things to do: homebirth, breastfeeding, selectively vaccinating (if at all), vegan diet, homeschooling. I found her personal methods of discipline pretty disturbing, though she does admit that perhaps they aren't for everyone. Physically restraining a child so that they will cry and eventually give up and submit to the adult restraining them is a technique used with children with severe behavioral problems. Children who have gone through this report that this "horse-breaking" style of discipline is pretty undermining to their confidence. I think a better book is "The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart" by Jan Hunt or Joseph Chilton Pearce's "Magical Child." Other great introductions to "alternative" parenting: Mothering magazine and their "Natural Family Living" book.
I felt Farb mentions some great parenting/lifestyle choices that are available (the vegan section is very helpful) but there is a core element of HEART missing somehow.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I agreed with most of its principles-- natural birth, breastfeeding, conscious decision-making. But I expected to find research in it to help me discuss some decisions with my husband. I was very disappointed to learn that, although Farb seems to be capable of scientific research, she doesn't present any *objective* research in the book. She only presents one side of MANY issues, often beating ideas into the ground instead of providing solid facts to back them.
I get it, breastfeeding is good, mainstream media is bad, some doctors are bad. But I found myself defending the other sides of these issues while reading just to give them a fair shake. For example, I'm vegetarian and plan to raise my baby the same. Farb writes as if vegetarians and meat-eaters are entirely irresponsible or unaware, and that veganism is the only way. Though I believe in veganism and its benefits, the chapter on veganism didn't help me at all to see its merits, nor did it provide a healthy plan for vegan pregnancy and babies. I only saw Farb's broad opinions (many of which are shared by vegetarians and some meat-eaters alike). The vaccination chapter is full of errors and leaps of logic as well.
The result is that this reads more like a journal of Farb's personal pregnancy and child-rearing than a tool to help others make decisions. I'm glad these ideas are out there in book form, but I wish Farb provided more than her opinions and experience. As it is, she's told me nothing I don't already know more about from my own research, and her one-sided presentation has given my husband the impression that some of these issues *have* no good objective reasoning behind them.
Look elsewhere for defendable "how to be hippie parents" material. I am thrilled by Barbara Kingsolver's "Small Wonder," personal essays that present conscious earth-friendly issues factually without being preachy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book should be considered required reading for all high school students!! There is so much useful information packed into it -- much of which could be best acted upon by those who have not yet started families.
As the author suggests, everything about how we live and raise our children we do mostly because that is what we see being reflected back at us by our friends, family, and the media....but are we really making CONSCIOUS chioices? Are our choices about what we eat, whether or not to vaccinate, how to educate our children, where to give birth, what toys to give them etc really giving our children the best chances at a health and good quality of life?
I had already been moving towards many of the views expressed by Compassionate Souls, but this book gave me so much more to think about, as well as gave me words to express much of what I was feeling in my heart.
Everyone should read this book!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Suzy Sikora on July 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book and was so happy I picked it up! Far from finding the author "preachy" or "judgmental," I found her simply informative and genuine. I enjoyed the segments about a Vegan pregnancy and how to handle misinformed doctors (of which I've seen my share). I was enlightened by the author's experience with midwives, her views on hospitals and being treated as a body part by doctors and nurses. I was pleased she shared the struggles she endured trying to do the best things possible for her family, despite opposition from outside influences. I appreciated the advice on how to handle relatives and other outsiders disrespectful of her parenting choices. It was encouraging to know there are others who view the world as I do, and I don't have to forge my way in the dark. This book was edifying, affirming and inspirational for me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leslie S on September 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine, who is a little into things on the fringe, suggested that I read this book. I must admit, that prior to reading Compassionate Souls I was very critical of the choices that my friend was making. It seemed that everything that she was doing with her children, flew in the face of what everyone else I knew was doing, and what every magazine article or book on parenting or health I had ever read advised.
Yet this book has definately changed my thinking. I no longer think that sleeping with one's baby will make them overly dependent. I am no longer fearful about my friend's decision to not vaccinate her children (nor do I veiw her choice to not vaccinate as a threat to me) in fact I am regretting that I did not look into this issue more fully when my own children were younger and I was being sold on shot after shot. I find myself wondering too, if some of the horrible illnesses my children had shortly after getting shots were caused by the shots (something I never even considered related before) I have began to make some small changes in what I am feeding my family (and found the recipes in the back of the book --especially the vegan caesar salad dressing, the Green Rice, and Jojo's baked potatoes absolutely incredible!!
Although I could never see myself homeschooling, I now realize that there many more benefits to it for children and families then I ever realized, and was amazed to learn that some people do it for reasons other then religious convictions and that they really made a lot of sense to me.
The first chapter, On Becoming a Parent, really drew me in.
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