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Loyal to the Sky: Notes from an Activist (SIGNED)

Handler, Marisa

29 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1576753921 / ISBN 13: 9781576753927
Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From W. Lamm (Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

SIGNED and inscribed on title page by Marisa Handler. Tight, clean and crisp. Previous owner's stamp to top edge, otherwise an excellent copy now protected in a new Mylar cover. No remainder mark. Not price clipped. Not ex-library. ; 8vo; 265 pages; Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 13208

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Loyal to the Sky: Notes from an Activist (...

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title


Activist and journalist Marisa Handler takes us on a fascinating journey—from her childhood home in apartheid South Africa to Israel, India, Nepal, Ecuador, Peru, and all over the United States—to offer a rare and revealing glimpse inside the global justice movement. She examines the movement’s strengths and contradictions, demystifies its confrontational tactics, and explains why it has become such a powerful force for change. With vivid details of the many characters and events that have influenced her, this gripping coming-of-age story shows how, in a globalized society, we each have within us the power to change the world.

From the Publisher:

Review by the San Francisco Chronicle
Written by Steve Weinberg

In principle, it seems wise for 30-year-olds to wait until they have experienced life more fully before publishing a memoir. But if that principle took hold, readers would have been deprived of "Loyal to the Sky," a memoir by 30-year-old Marisa Handler. That would have been a shame.

Handler is a citizen of the world who makes her home, at least for now, in San Francisco. Her publisher, Berrett-Koehler, also calls San Francisco home. Its books derive from a succinctly stated motto: "Creating a world that works for all."

During her relatively short life, Handler has yearned to create such a world, and has traveled the globe in her quest. Her wisdom transcends her youthfulness; she writes with grace and insight, and she never stumbles over her own self-importance. Born in South Africa in 1976, Handler moved away with her parents just before becoming a teenager. Her white, Jewish parents could no longer stomach apartheid and believed something resembling racial equality and harmony would never take hold in South Africa. Fortunately, they were mistaken, but that is another story. Handler, who had developed an outsize social conscience as a child, felt relieved to leave South Africa, too.

She hoped the United States would provide inspiration through democracy. But when her family settled in the Los Angeles area, she wondered if she could ever adjust. The youngsters her age seemed so taken with consumerism, so unaware of social justice issues, so cold and even mean to those unlike themselves. Handler, who lacked any notion of "cool" and "popular," felt lonely and sometimes persecuted.

In a passage that demonstrates her precociousness, sensitivity and talent for phrasing, Handler notes that in the United States, as in South Africa, "paradise is problematic. ... For me, at age 11, wondering about God and racism and my own place in the scheme of things, caught between a religion that told me I belonged to the chosen people, a society that told me I belonged to a different set of chosen people, and parents who told me everyone was equal, paradise was starting to seem like rather shifty territory."

Handler's lack of confidence began to recede during high school. (I would name the school if I felt confident of its identity. In one of the few unwise decisions made while writing the book, Handler changed some names, created some composite characters, and condensed or conflated some events. That is no way to build trust with readers, even though her voice sounds completely trustworthy.)

Because of a well-developed feminism and the politics of inclusion permeating her being, Handler organized a high school club called Womyn Aloud. At their meetings, they would "celebrate women's right to choose, scoff at supermodels, and study the text of Title IX." "We listen quietly as each of us shares our experiences of harassment, abuse, even molestation. And we are not above swooning over John Travolta in 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Grease.' "

Moving to Berkeley to attend the University of California, Handler threw off all shackles but those imposed by her conscience. Everything in college seemed transformative. Junior year abroad, especially, seemed that way, as Handler studied in Israel. Although fiercely proud of her Jewish heritage, Handler wrestled with the hatred that cut both ways. How could the Palestinians hate the Jews congregated in Israel so passionately? she wondered. But she wondered just as feverishly about the undifferentiated hatred of the Israelis for the Palestinians. After leaving Israel, Handler vowed to devote herself to world peace, and she has never wavered. Although that sounds like a cliched thread for a memoir, she makes it work through her relentless questioning -- of herself and others -- as well as her masterful prose.

As a tourist, as a community organizer and as a journalist (including assignments for The Chronicle), Handler travels the globe, sharing tales of her stops in India, Nepal and Peru, most notably. She finds plenty of reasons to feel depressed as she sees and hears firsthand, for instance, that the hatred of Indians for Pakistanis and vice versa is a lot like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But she marches along gamely, wondering as she goes how such ugliness sprouts from religious doctrines that seem to glory in concepts of brotherhood.

Because of her political beliefs grounded in world peace, Handler demonstrates a visceral disgust for George W. Bush and others who she considers self-righteous, cowardly warmongers. As a result, the memoir is quite likely to offend large segments of potential readers. But those who read carefully and evaluate the book honestly will come away hard-pressed to label Handler as naive. Instead, a more appropriate word would be "hopeful."

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