Rasta Heart: A Journey Into One Love
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2004
I saw this book on a shelf in a internet shop in Montego Bay. I opened it in a random way and read a paragraph or two, and I knew I was going to take this book. I left the store quite happy to have found this book.

If you been to Jamaica more than a few times, and you have become impressed by the rastas there, then get this book. You are likely to have the same appreciable insight about the rastas as Robert Roskind does. Robert Roskind uses the book to provide almost a forum for the rastas to share what you might see and hear if you were there. He is full of understanding and appreciation for who they are and what they believe.

The book is like a travel log on Jamaica with the major focus on the rastas and their history. It is certainly better to go to Jamaica yourself. If you've been there and know what is going on, then the book serves as a memoir of a very special place.

This book provided me with a little more grounding in the rasta ideas/beliefs. Helped me understand a little more about the role of ganja. The author adds an excellent history of the hemp plant in a few pages; information that I was not aware of. The author knows how to enjoy himself there and from the pictures it looks like he fits in well as a spiritual person himself.

It is a very enjoyable book if you already have some interest, curiousity, and personal experience with the rastas. If you have the same appreciation, then the book is an easy, informative, and nostalgic read.

The book would not likely grab you in the same way, it might be a little more difficult to appreciate, the ideas might not seem as special or potent to you, if you have not already gained the same vision as the author.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2003
I don't know how to go about reviewing this book. It grabbed my attention from the beginning and would barely let go for me to get some sleep each night. This book helped open my eyes about a lot of things in the world, and was a part in changing my attitude from depressed and hateful to optimistic, loving and caring. The people you will meet in this book are simply amazing, and it is truly heartwarming to realize that people like them exist in this world. In my opinion, it is a great introduction to the Rastafari lifestyle. Occasionally it felt a bit self-serving, but that may have been the former cynic in me still coming out. After reading this book, I feel that without a doubt, there is a chance for peace among men on earth. One Love is coming, people get ready, because when it gets here, we're going to be overjoyed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2006
After spending some time in West Africa where I came across many inspirational Rastas, I came back to America wanting to learn more about this lifestyle. I found Roskind's book to be VERY firsthand and informative; after all, he speaks with dozens of Rastas with a whole range of views on Rastafari and One Love. The book was brilliantly written (with a lot of editing errors, however) and a great read for someone who is a novice to this faith. However, I do have one reservation about the author himself. Throughout the book he and the people he interviews criticize Babylon and all its materialism yet during his many trips to Jamaica he stays at the finest resorts (Babylon), likely owned by white non-Jamaicans (Babylon), and he talks about how he spends days here and there snorkling, laying out, eating, etc. (Babylon). I am not trying to point any fingers, I would just assume that if someone was trying to minimize one's materialistic desires and really experience Rastafari than one would at least stay at less plush resorts - especially when in a developing country. Other than that, an excellent read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2010
Self-described ex-hippie Robert Roskind takes us on a journey to Jamaica, where we meet various practitioners of the Rasta philosophy and way of life. The Rasta worldview can be summed up as a critique of "Babylon" - materialism, colonialism, racism, consumerism, and environmental degradation - in favor of a lifestyle based on cooperation, simplicity, vegetarianism, and spirituality based on the consumption of ganga (marijuana) as a kind of natural sacrament.

Roskind's Rastamen are not "activists" or "leaders" in the usual sense, but rather ordinary men (and a few women) trying to live a natural lifestyle in a world dead-set against it. Chief among these is a man known as "Scram," a middle-aged jack-of-all-trades who expounds the Rasta philosophy of "One Love" as he does his best to get by in a world gone mad. With few exceptions, Scram and the other Rastamen we meet are sympathetic figures, engaging and intelligent, kind-hearted and resourceful. We also see, however, that there are hordes of "false" Rastas, outwardly projecting the image but inwardly full of the spirit of Babylon.

Roskind is very much an enthusiastic convert to, and apostle for, the Rasta philosophy and way of life, and this perhaps leads him to promote views of African history, vegetarianism, and marijuana usage that are more debatable than he would lead us to believe. For example, he rattles off a series of claims that meat-eating CAUSES malnutrition in the Third World because it consumes resources (water, grain, land, etc.) that would be used more efficiently if vegetarianism were the norm. The reality is much more complex than that; if the entire USA were to become vegetarian, that would not in itself put one spoonful of food into the mouth of anyone in the Third World - much more would be required. The transition from Babylon to Paradise would undoubtedly require a somewhat authoritarian political movement, and the mostly non-political Rastas are justifiably suspicious of that very thing.

My other caveat is that - appealing as it may be in some ways - the Rasta way of life is not in and of itself a solution to the world's problems. (At one point, Roskind himself seems to acknowledge this.) Solving problems of poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation will require scientific and technical expertise, and this will not be found by smoking spliffs and playing drums in the hills, villages, and slums of Jamaica. And even the spiritual benefits of Rasta are not inevitable or automatic for its practitioners. At one point, someone admits it's easier to love the whole world than one's wife or ex-wife, and several of the people featured in this book have that very problem.

Despite these considerations, this book is an enjoyable read, and the people we encounter are generally lovable and memorable. We can learn something from people who - despite centuries of poverty, discrimination, and even persecution - seem generally happier than people who superficially have so much more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2012
Mr. Roskind's book means well, but quickly devolves into a platform to prove his spiritual superiority. The best, most useful parts of the book are transcribed conversations with real Rastafari people, when he or his wife don't interupt them with inane, well-meant comments. His interviews are poor journalism full of leading questions and unecessary commentary that distracts from the message of JAH's people. His insistance that old Hippies are American Rasta is disingenuous, simplistic and self-decieving. If you truly feel drawn to the way of the Rastafari, look deeper than this book. Also the 40 photos touted on the cover are mostly his vacation photos, including one of a deserted motel pool. They add little to the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2007
Enjoy and immerse yourself in the ways of a Rastaman. The author literally makes you feel like your right there smoking a spliff with the rastas during a reasoning(conversation) session. This book is extremely inspirational you truly feel the love coming through the book. I reccommend it to all looking to learn about Rastafari and take a look at living FREE out of babylon!!!

JAH!!! RASTAFARI!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2007
This book is an amazingly written book that has you wanting to read more. The views and interviews of the Rastas will have you spiritualy moved and emotionally involved. One of a kind book that could never be duplicated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2005
If you feel that society has or has not taken a peice of your mind, I would advise you to read this book. I do not feel that it is a book that you can read at once, or once for that matter. I think I am on my third or fourth reread of this book. Roskind takes the power of communication through the Babylon system to prove there is more to what the western world calls life. I picked up the book in a gear issue room from the National Outdoor Leadership School in Conway, WA. I began to read the book outside of civilivation and coming back in to society after reading the tales in Rasta Heart has me looking at the world with a new pair of eyes. As they would say in the book, one love.
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on May 6, 2015
I enjoyed reading the book. Having said that the most intriguing question that comes to mind is that is there a chance for peace on earth today. Is there a solution to the world's problem. There are currently 10 active wars and 8 military conflicts going on as of this writing. Rasta believes the road to peace is within one's heart and soul and not what has been implanted by institutionalized teaching ( Babylon) whose primary objective and pillars are in three fundamental categories ( Violence, War/Crime and Hate) . I believe some readers are automatically assuming that Babylon only refers to US or GB but it is not. Babylon refers to corrupt churches, mosque, synagogue and all forms of oppression imposed by mind control and powers to be all over the globe including in Jamaica itself. Just look around you and you see a huge divide between simple ordinary people around the globe. Rasta word of wisdom as the great Dennis Brown put it is in the simplest mind and as great Mr. Gregory Isaacs put it is "only love will conquer the world". Peace and love. I salute Rasta for its great and kind contribution to human race. Peace and love and respect.
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on December 15, 2009
This was one of the few books I've ever read in my life that I just couldn't put down until it was done and couldn't wait to get started on his next book. This book really offered an insight about the Rastafarian culture, way of life, and a bit of history in a very consciousness raising way, without getting into the "religion" too much. It offered a wide perspective from different types of Rastas around Jamaica. It gives an open minded look by recording numerous interviews and conversations with different Rastas as Ras Kind shares his journey through Jamaica meeting one Rasta after another. If you ever had any questions about the Rastafari and what they're about, this book will answer them.
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