Archives For Willifred Gallagher


The Wall Street Journal Reviews
By Winifred Gallagher

With so many things now demanding our attention — emails, Web sites, BlackBerry alerts, incoming text messages, Twitter tweets, Facebook updates, blogs, stock updates, and old- fashioned meetings and phone calls — many of us . . .

Some people, she explains, are badly prone to distraction and need to be treated for attention deficit disorder. Others, like increasing numbers of us multitaskers, are merely plagued by bad habits and technology overload, darting from one mental activity to the next. So what can we do to recover the sustained focus that fosters creativity and quality?

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Winifred Gallagher.

Hardcover: The Penguin Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $22 ] [ Amazon ]

The Orion Magazine Review of
Nature’s Beloved Son:
Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy

THE HABIT OF pressing plants began early for John Muir. He collected them for pleasure; he collected them to add to his store of knowledge. Muir’s plant press was a close companion on all his travels—his drawings show him sleeping with the press nearby, or swimming rivers holding it above his head.

A beautifully produced book, Nature’s Beloved Son is a treat both for Muir-lovers and plant people. Through stunning digital photographs of the botanical specimens collected by Muir during a lifetime of wandering, the authors tell the tale of Muir’s travels in Wisconsin, Canada, Indiana, Florida, Cuba, and elsewhere, ending with major chapters on California and Alaska. The text, by naturalist Bonnie Gisel, clearly the result of massive research, hits the highlights of Muir’s life

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Nature’s Beloved Son:
Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy
Bonnie Gisel.

Hardcover: Heyday Books, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

A new book on prisons
Reviewed in the NY Review of Books

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia is currently sponsoring a bill that would create a commission to review America’s entire criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform. If the bill passes, its commissioners should bear in mind a small experiment that took place in the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno, California, some years ago. This project, the subject of Sunny Schwartz’s brief, absorbing memoir Dreams from the Monster Factory, is important not just because it dramatically reduced recidivism, but also because it could help break the tired stalemate between liberals and conservatives over punishment versus rehabilitation. In addition, Schwartz’s book is revealing about the criminal mind and its thought processes, and thus contains valuable lessons for those at risk of incarceration, and for those close to them.

Dreams from the Monster Factory:
A Tale of Prison, Redemption and
One Woman’s Fight to Restore Justice to All
Sunny Schwartz  (with David Boodell)

Hardcover: Scribner, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ] [ Amazon ]