Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times Paperback – February 5, 2013
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A hymn to the mystery of disobedience…What makes you eager to push this book into the hands of the next person you meet are the small, still moments, epics captured in miniature.... Essential.” ―The New York Times
“Evocative...A valentine to the human spirit.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“On stage and in the pulpit, moral dilemmas of this kind tend to have a black-and-white clarity. Working from life, Mr. Press brings out the grays….Rich in personal, circumstantial details that analytical thinkers in search of clear principles may overlook.” ―The Economist
“Press examines his subjects carefully....In some ways Beautiful Souls is a thoughtful gesture of support. That might sound like a small thing, but it's not. Compassion never is.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Provides rich, provocative narratives of moral choice…Press makes us wonder if we would have the strength to act against the crowd, and in so doing spread a bit of light in our own dark times.” ―The Washington Post
“Fantastic…A brilliant meditation on [the] very difficult decisions of conscience that people have to make…I just want to urge everybody, please read this book.” ―The Nation
About the Author
Eyal Press is an author and journalist based in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Raritan Review and numerous other publications. A 2011 Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, he is the author of Absolute Convictions, and a past recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
On the other hand, I felt the big ideas were important. Because they weren't just "inspiring stories". You can tell Eyal did his research. And I loved how he developed the stories within the structure of those big ideas. For example, you read the story and think you get it. Then he tries to delve into motive, talks about the more academic ideas of why someone would do such a thing, and then returns to the story. Except, those academic ideas don't hold up - at least in this story, they don't explain the motive, and Eyal shows you why by giving you more information about the story. Then he returns to the theories of motives and finds another one, then back to the story to check it out. Eventually you do get "answers". But each return gives you more depth into the story, more information. But I think that's also why it's easy to get caught up in the story and forget that he's structuring a cogent argument.
Eyal Press came and spoke with our class (thank you professor!). He answered questions and discussed the book for 2 hours. But two things were very clear after speaking with him that I felt were not clear reading the book. First, he intentionally started far back in time (WWII) and brought the stories closer to the present. He wanted to bring these people out of the realm of "heroes" and into the mundane - to make them "real". It also served to emphasize that "heroes" are often rejected until history looks back on them. I appreciated that, but hadn't noticed it while reading. Second, they're not "inspiring" stories. In fact, Eyal suggested that what he realized was that they all paid a price, often for the rest of their lives / career, and their actions are futile unless others follow. That was a somber thought. It's easy to say, "Look, this person made a difference! We should follow her example!" But the truth is, people look at them and say, "They're crazy!" And they often live out their lives isolated and rejected - unless they have a strong community that backs them up. This definitely wasn't the idealism of "One person can change the world!"
Overall, it gives a realistic look at how hard it is to go against society pressure, to say no to the way things are or to authority. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I give it only 4 stars, because I felt there were a few main points that didn't click for me until talking with the author. Maybe that's my fault. But I feel some of the "big ideas" are easy to lose in the details. And as much as I appreciate the artistic interweaving, I've also come to believe that great writing gets the big ideas across clearly. Maybe I'll read it again next year and change my review. Until then, decide for yourself. Absolutely worth your time!
I loved the book. It taught me a lot, there is rich and clear information, very sophisticated thinking. I found it profound, beautifully designed , for instance in bringing back subjects that had been talked about earlier so as to render it coherent and consistent.
I loved that the author leaves it up to the reader to draw conclusions, or, just to be disoriented. He provides the examples, the discussions among authors, the difficulty in establishing what makes the beautiful and often sacrificial act the only way to be, at least, for these people. He also offers his own point of view but it is not his goal to impose it. I think his goal is to make people reflect and he certainly succeeds in doing so.