Well I finally finishing Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression by Dr. Mary Ruwart. Incidentally you can find an older version of this text for free online. You have to give this book a lot of credit for being well organized. There is a full index in the back as well as an appendix of citations. Each chapter is broken into small sections with a one page chapter summary at the end. In that respect, it kind of reads like a textbook. I know I’ll use it in the future if I need to look up information on a particular topic. The book also deserves credit for covering everything. I mean that in the Cleveland quoting Peter Griffin, “Eeeeeevvvverythaaaang” sense. I’ve never seen a libertarian book do such a good job of covering so many topics in three hundred some pages.
Most importantly it is writen from a compassionate perspective, which has caused me to by a few extra copies for my friends and parents. No vulgar libertarianism here, just genuine concern for other people. Dr. Ruwart cites numerous examples of how aggression hurts everyone, from the playground all the way up to wallstreet. The language is simple, direct and quotes are included in the margins pertaining to the topics being addressed.
Now, this review isn’t just going to be a Ruwart love-fest. There are a few things wrong with the book as well. Let’s start with the most readily apparent, the cover. It’s terrible and it’s turned a decent amount of people off from the book. People I recommend the book to look at me like, “You want me to read that? With the twin towers and the dove?” I’ve considered putting a brown paper bag dust cover on it before I give it to people. As much as it goes against conventional wisdom, people do judge a book by its cover. I’m sure this book’s cover has hurt its sales.
As I stated earlier, it reads like a textbook. Textbooks are usually packed with information, but not particularly engaging. I could knock this book for not grabbing the reader, but I don’t really think that’s what it’s about. I’d recommend that people read it slowly and pick topics they are already interested in to research. Treat it like a textbook and it will serve you well. Just don’t go thinking that it’s going to be riveting.
So to sum things up, I’d say this is a book you definitely have to own. In time you’ll probably read all of it. You may disagree with parts and you may find yourself quoting other parts. It’s very well researched and organized so you’ll probably use it as a reference.