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Loyal to the Sky: Notes from an Activist Hardcover – February 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this memoir–cum–call to arms, Handler examines her literal and metaphorical journey from her South African childhood through her family's politically motivated move to America to her adult involvement in the global justice movement. From assisting Amazon Basin communities threatened by oil companies, to protesting at the 2004 Republican National Convention, Handler has put her values into action with tenacious creativity. She ably conveys the histories of places many people couldn't find on a map in a lively, moving and funny voice. Unfortunately, Handler is often self-involved—even for a memoirist—and too frequently leans on stereotype (the noble savage, the emotionally barren upper-class marriage), though she manages to regard herself with enough irony to mitigate her worst indulgences. The book's greatest weakness lies in Handler's decision to "condense or conflate" some of the "real people and events" she draws on, and occasionally to alter "the setting or timing of a revelation or personal experience." In the wake of the James Frey scandal, some readers may find it difficult to believe that many of the beautifully rendered vignettes here are not fiction. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Born to liberal-minded Jewish parents in apartheid-era South Africa, Handler was raised to question the unfairness of the world. In this brightly detailed blend of personal memoir and political reportage, Handler recounts her life of activism, which starts as a young girl when she stands up to her classmates in Cape Town. After attending college in Berkeley and spending a year in Israel, she realizes her calling in life, is a path of compassion. Handler devotes herself to political organizing, traveling to India, Nepal, Peru, Equador, and speaking all over the United States. For readers interested in liberal political activism in this new century, including war protests in 2003, the FTAA protests in Miami, and protests during the Republican National Convention in New York, this is a must-read. Most entertaining are the lively descriptions of such groups as the "Knitters for Peace" and the "Dot Commies" and descriptions of behind-the-scenes encounters. A deeply intelligent, absorbing call to action. Emily Cook
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; First Edition edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753927
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,417,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The short version: thirty years spent troublemaking, singing about troublemaking, and writing about troublemaking.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chorost on January 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I finished this book I sighed and closed my eyes in gratitude, as if I'd finally found clear cool water after being thirsty for years. Marisa Handler comes across as an enormously likable reluctant hero, mouthing off at hecklers, running like hell from cops, and - in one of the book's funniest moments - gamely mediating a protest group's argument over whether their placards should say "Stop War" or "Stop the War." But the greatest achievement of the book is Handler's steady wholeness of vision. In scene after scene she reminds us that those who befoul the world are not evil but lost, alienated from their own true nature. Love and compassion are the best tools we have to save them - and ourselves. In a world of poisoned political discourse, Handler's fiercely tender memoir will remind weary Americans that it's still possible to be angry without hating, and to fight while remaining compassionate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bird on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Short of having the opportunity to travel the world yourself, read this book and be transported to lands near and far as if it were actually you, in search of global justice. Handler's vivid and colorful narrative of her experiences invite the reader along as if she/he were traveling in the author's back pocket. The tales of humanity - from an Indian man's description of local Muslim-Hindu race relations to the perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict voiced by University students around the country - are conveyed with passion that do justice to the "human voice"; something that is so real in each of the geographic experiences described by Handler.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By fearlessreader on January 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. In these uncertain and often dark days, this is a relevant and hopeful book about making a difference. And, it manages to be humorous and entertaining too. Handler writes beautiful and accessible prose. She comes across as an honest, lovable, brave and inspiring person. You'll wish you had been with her as she traveled the globe and was an eyewitness to (and in some cases participant in) many of the recent social and political shifts of our time. Luckily, you can read about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Motahari on May 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ever wonder why a fraction of the world's population is lavished in wealth, yet emotionally impoverished, while others eek by on little to nothing feeling rich? Handler beautifully responds to this global dichotomy in "Loyal to the Sky." Her social commentary about our common humanity divided by numbing drive for success and oppressive politics that maintain the status quo is spot on. Her inner-voice unfiltered by political correctness, is hysterical. And, her courage to engage strangers, from Nepalese politicians to the Miami-Dade police is inspirational. Handler's memoir is a breath of fresh air in a world of stifling avoidance. Don't miss this colorful work.
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