Week ending May 2, 2014
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbs for Long-Lasting Health: How To Support Vitality and Well-Being at Every Stage of Life. Storey. (Basics). 2014. 128p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781612124711. pap. $8.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612124728. HEALTH
Author and teacher Gladstar (owner, Vermont’s Sage Mountain Retreat Center and Botanical Sanctuary; founder and current president, United Plant Savers) has created this text as a reference for students of herbal medicine and any reader interested in alternative and complementary medicine. However, this is not a preventative medicine text. Readers will not be able look up an ailment and expect to find a solution. Instead, this is a listing of healthful herbs supporting “vitality and well-being.” At only four chapters, this book is certainly not a time-consuming read, and as a reference, it does not need to be read in order. Readers will feel comfortable picking chapters as needed; Chapter 1, “Perspectives on Aging,” reads more like introductory or preface matter, but the next three are enlightening. Chapter 4, “Recipes for Longevity and Well Being” is intriguing (who can resist Good-Life Wine?). Readers of Prevention magazine or the writings of Andrew Weil should find this work engaging and informative.
Verdict Recommended for aging readers who don’t want to feel aged!—Rachel M. Minkin, Michigan State Univ. Libs., Lansing
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbs for Stress & Anxiety: How To Make and Use Herbal Remedies To Strengthen the Nervous System. Storey. (Basics). 2014. 128p. index. ISBN 9781612124292. pap. $8.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612124308. HEALTH
Herbalist and author Gladstar (Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs) contends that the recurrent stress and anxiety experienced by so many people today lead to depletion, chronic fatigue, illness, and depression. She further asserts that it is our individual responses to our stressful circumstances that determine the health, resilience, and adaptability of our nervous system. She explains the functioning of the nervous system in easily understandable terms and elucidates self-help methods for strengthening it. She also points out that although herbs are not as fast-acting as allopathic medicine in dealing with acute pain, the toning of the nervous system by herbs (nerve tonics) nonetheless relieves and soothes discomfort while concurrently benefiting the whole body. The title focuses on specific herbs, giving cautions where needed, and offers many suggestions for use, instructions for preparation, and recipes for teas and tinctures. Also included are resource lists and reference title recommendations.
Verdict Herbs have been used medicinally in China and other countries for centuries. Medicinal herbal use is becoming mainstream today and deserves an honest exploration. Gladstar’s book accomplishes her goal to educate emotional sufferers regarding alternative treatments and is recommended.—Linda F. Petty, Wimberley, TX
Jamieson, Dale. Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed—and What It Means for Our Future. Oxford Univ. 2014. 304p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780199337668. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199337682. PHIL
Jamieson (environmental studies, philosophy, law, New York Univ.; Ethics and the Environment: An Introduction) opens by claiming that he didn’t write this book to save the earth, but, unfortunately, it isn’t clear why he did write it. The science of climate change is evident to anyone who has ever been interested in a greenhouse or in what killed off the dinosaurs or brought about the Ice Age. The politics of climate change, too, are obvious—large corporations built on greenhouse gas–emitting fuels lobby to maintain the status quo in the industrialized nations of the world, while burgeoning nations look to these same fuels because of their economic value. Jamieson’s most substantial contribution to the discussion of climate change comes in chapter five, in which he concludes that common sense morality is insufficient to handle the slow-moving problem of climate change. Regrettably, he turns a blind eye to political philosophy that has long had solutions to “prisoner’s dilemma” situations like the problem of climate change.
Verdict Rather than revise our moral intuitions, as the author suggests, we ought to act on our moral beliefs and systematically remove from power those whose negligence or corruption directly or indirectly threatens our survival. Not recommended.—William Simkulet, Andover, KS