When I read Ishmael at age 16 or 17, it blew my mind. An older friend (herself studying philosophy in college, like I eventually would) gave it to me, and it forever changed my perspective on the world. It examines the mythological thinking at the heart of modern civilization, its effect on ethics, and how this relates to sustainability and societal collapse on the global scale. The novel uses a style of Socratic dialogue to deconstruct the notion that humans are the pinnacle of biological evolution. It posits that anthropocentrism and several other widely accepted modern ideas are actually cultural myths and that global civilization is enacting these myths with catastrophic consequences. As a work of fiction, it will leave something to be desired – consider this purely a philosophical/historical read for exercising your brain and examining our culture’s basic ideas.— From Josh's Picks
One of the most beloved and bestselling novels of spiritual adventure ever published, Ishmael has earned a passionate following among readers and critics alike. This special twenty-fifth anniversary edition features a new foreword and afterword by the author, as well as an excerpt from My Ishmael. TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL.
Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person. It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of a lifetime. So begins an utterly unique and captivating novel. In Ishmael, which received the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship for the best work of fiction offering positive solutions to global problems, Daniel Quinn parses humanity's origins and its relationship with nature, in search of an answer to this challenging question: How can we save the world from ourselves? Praise for Ishmael "As suspenseful, inventive, and socially urgent as any fiction or nonfiction you are likely to read this or any other year."--The Austin Chronicle "Before we're halfway through this slim book . . . we're in Daniel Quinn's] grip, we want Ishmael to teach us how to save the planet from ourselves. We want to change our lives."--The Washington Post "Arthur Koestler, in an essay in which he wondered whether mankind would go the way of the dinosaur, formulated what he called the Dinosaur's Prayer: 'Lord, a little more time ' Ishmael does its bit to answer that prayer and may just possibly have bought us all a little more time."--Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Daniel Quinn grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and studied at St. Louis University, the University of Vienna, and Loyola University of Chicago. He worked in Chicago-area publishing for twenty years before beginning work on the book for which he is best known, Ishmael. In 1991, this book was chosen from among some 2,500 international entrants in the Turner Tomorrow competition to win the half-million dollar prize for a novel offering "creative and positive solutions to global problems." It has subsequently sold more than a million copies in English, is available in some thirty languages, and has been used in high schools and colleges worldwide in courses as varied as philosophy, geography, ecology, archaeology, history, biology, zoology, anthropology, political science, economics, and sociology. Subsequent works include Providence, The Story of B, My Ishmael: A Sequel, Beyond Civilization, After Dachau, The Holy, and most recently At Woomeroo, a collection of short stories. He currently lives with his wife in Houston.
“A thoughtful, fearlessly low-key novel about the role of our species on the planet . . . laid out for us with an originality and a clarity that few would deny.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Quinn entraps] us in the dialogue itself, in the sweet and terrible lucidity of Ishmael’s analysis of the human condition. . . . It was surely for this deep, clear persuasiveness of argument that Ishmael was given its huge prize.”—The Washington Post
“It is as suspenseful, inventive, and socially urgent as any fiction or nonfiction book you are likely to read this or any other year.”—The Austin Chronicle
“Deserves high marks as a serious—and all too rare—effort that is unflinchingly engaged with fundamental life-and-death concerns.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution