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My Books

This page gives links to all books by Alastair McIntosh that are in print, the most recent listed first. Click on either the cover or on "more..." for full details, reviews, extracts and purchasing options.  These are in chronological order of date of publication. For those completely new to my work my best know book is Soil and Soul, and Poacher's Pilgrimage is a similarly major book.

Poacher's Pilgrimage: an Island Journey (Birlinn, 352 pp. + 16 colour plates, hardback, £20). Publisher's info at this link. It took me 7 years to write Poacher's Pilgrimage. Why so long? Outwardly, it is a pilgrimage through Harris and Lewis disguised as a fishing trip, over 12 days in May 2009. Inwardly, it is an ecology of the imagination that opened up layers and layers of depth and meaning into some of the most pressing issues of our times - God, war and the faeries. More....

"Fascinating, provocative and, occasionally, very funny" - Times Literary Supplement

"Beautifully compacted writing – clear, strong and constantly surprising – a fortnight’s walk that contains a universe" - Dark Mountain Journal

"A lovely book, a book to savour, a book to give - remarkable and unusual in its deep knowledge and its spiritual versatility" - Church Times

Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service (Green Books, Sept 24th 2015 (Oct 1st in N. America), co-authored with Matt Carmichael, £19.99 h.b. ISBN 978 0 85784 300 5, also ebook, paperback out at end of May 2016, UK, £11.99). This captures my university teaching on spiritual activism from the past quarter century, brought up to date and with new perspectives by co-authorship with the Leeds-based activist, Matt Carmichael, through our connection with Schumacher North. Click here for Green Books' webpage and here for its special page with events, reviews, etc. on my website.

"This is truly a book for our age, challenging the preconceptions of most activists, let alone those who still see spirituality solely as 'an inner journey'" - Sir Jonathon Porritt, first chair, UK Government Sustainable Development Commission

"This book itself is a spiritual journey ... It helps us to explore how we can bring our deepest values into action at this crucial time for the world" - Starhawk, author of The Empowerment Manual and Dreaming the Dark

"It addresses questions of power, leadership and accountability with honesty, insight and wisdom, and speaks with humanity and humour on the importance of ... human development" - Rev Kathy Galloway, Iona Community

Parables of Northern Seed: Anthology from BBC's Thought for the Day, (Wild Goose Publications, The Iona Community, August 2014, ISBN 9781849523028, £11.50, 144 pp.). When Alastair McIntosh was asked what makes a good BBC radio ‘God slot’ he quoted his late friend Walter Wink: ‘To conceive of heaven as the transcendent possibilities latent in every emerging moment.’ This anthology shares the best of Alastair’s Prayer and Thought for the Day pieces from nearly a decade. Here is that of God, transcendent, yet also here and now, immanent, within the day’s hard news. ‘O taste and see …’ Click here for PDF of Introduction and some sample reflections, and here to order online.

"Being short, being parables, does not stop these pieces being topical, hard-hitting, challengingly reflective. At the heart of each piece is an inner truth, something that justifies having a reflective slot on the radio each day. This is a collection, then, for personal reflection, but also very much for sharing in group discussion ... to look at life's inner kernels ... a thought for the day can change the way in which we live that day and for a long time afterwards." - Stuart Hannabuss (Gray's School of Art), Network Magazine, 2015.

Island Spirituality: Spiritual Values of Lewis and Harris (Islands Book Trust, Isle of Lewis, June 2013, ISBN 1907443452, £10). Since 2009 my main project has been working on a book for which the working title is Poacher's Pilgrimage about a walk from southern Harris to northern Lewis in May 2009. The material that came out of this is so rich and deep that I have struggled with how to handle different readerships, and this book has been a kind of safety valve, allowing me to deal with religious material seen through a specific local lens (though hopefully of much wider spiritual and political interest). It is published by a local history organisation, and for the webpage with more details, background research materials and a sample chapter, please click here (now free PDF).

"I took on reading it as a chore, sure I was going to be wearied.... Instead I was delighted to read a history ... of the Presbyterianism of the Long Island (Harris and Lewis), which has dented my liberal Quaker prejudice against the “Free Kirk” and its religious oppression." - Sheila Peacock, The Scottish Friend, 2014.

Radical Human Ecology: Intercultural and Indigenous Approaches (Ashgate, 2012), edited by Lewis Williams, Rose Roberts and Alastair McIntosh. Click here to download PDF of my 2 chapters: The Challenge of Radical Human Ecology to the Academy and The Teaching of Radical Human Ecology in the Academy. Now in paperback from Routledge and at the more affordable price of £30 - publisher's webpage here.

From the Foreword by Richard J. Borden, Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic and Society for Human Ecology: 'Below the clamor of a bustling world, this volume imparts the seeds of a radical alternative for human ecology. They lie beneath the surface: amid the whispered voices at the margin, in the praxis of traditional spirituality, along the dusty road of post-modernism, and from the ivy halls of science. This is not the human ecology of a prehistoric fireside or an academic symposium. It is an unconventional and timely pedagogy of hope.' 

"There can be no doubt about the academic value of this book ... it looks over the edge and ventures outside established lines." - Luc Hens & Bernhard Glaeser, Int. J. of Environment & Pollution. 

Rekindling Community: Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality (Green Books, 2008). This book is No. 15 in the Schumacher Briefing series of the Schumacher Society. My own narrative is supplemented with boxed contributions from a dozen of my colleagues and former students whose research at the Centre for Human Ecology was sponsored by WWF International. Our passion was to explore underlying dynamics of rural and urban community regeneration. This illustrated book makes the case that the community we must seek to reconstitute is more than merely society. It is a three-way relationship - with one another, with nature, and with the spiritual ground of all being. More .... 
Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition (Birlinn, 2008). Selected by Radio 4's Open Book as one of the 2 best books on climate change, this is in many ways the sequel to Soil and Soul. But while Soil and Soul dealt with themes that became very good news, the scenario for tackling climate change looks much darker. Part 1 of the book tackles the science and politics of global warming, summarising what is known and exploring the controversies. But the most distinctive contribution comes in Part 2. Here I take the reader on a journey of deepening magical realism. I attempt to unpack the cultural history, psychology and spirituality that underlies climate change and in so doing I seek to shed insight on the human condition. By exploring the deep causes, deep solutions tentatively emerge - these being put forward in the 12-step programme that makes up the final chapter. I found Hell and High Water a terribly difficult book to write. It left me at a loss to find cause for outward optimism. And yet, a strange inner joy emerged in the writing. I ended up deepening my sense of hope for humankind. I'm thrilled that some reviewers seem to have experienced similarly. More ...
Love and Revolution: Collected Poetry (Luath Press, 2006). This is my collected poetry. It expresses the inner fire of what has directed and sustained my work. More ...
Chronique d'une Alliance: Peuples autochtones et société civile face à la mondialisation (Editions Yves Michel, 2005). This is Soil and Soul in slightly abridged French translation. The English title didn't translate well into French, and the chosen title focuses on the "alliance" between French and Scottish campaigners that contributed to the the book's main storylines. The subtitle is maybe more explicit as to content: "Indigenous peoples and civil society in the face of globalisation." More ...   And for more of my work that's in foreign translation, click here.
Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power (Aurum Press, 2001, 2004). I think that I will always consider this book to be my masterpiece. On the surface, it tells such stories as growing up in Lewis, land reform on Eigg and the campaign that stopped the Harris superquarry. But the real message of the book, and the reason why it has sold into 5 figures, is much deeper and wider. I use the factual campaign stories as a carrier to express the deeper story of our times - the struggle of the human spirit to shine, the imperative of making community, the recovery of a credible spirituality. It's an entirely factual book and yet much of its poetic impact derives from real-life magical realism. I've tried to touch some of the deepest hopes and possibilities within us all. I love this book. It took me out of myself, into my culture, and far beyond both. More ...
Healing Nationhood: Essays on Spirituality, Place and Community (Curlew Productions, 2000). This pulls together work that I undertook on identity, belonging and place as part of a three year programme, Action for Transformation, that was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The main essay comprising the bulk of the book is "Land, Power and National Identity", commissioned by the Economics Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences and theologians at the Holy Trinity Sergiev Monastery near Moscow. I was invited by them to speak about the spirituality of land reform and its possible relevance to Russia in February 2000. I had only 2 weeks in which to write the Russian piece, and it has since found more refined expression in Soil and Soul, though the opening pages on bardic politics are still worth reading. As the book will soon be out of print, I have now listed the entire contents online. More ...
   

My Articles etc.

Nearly all of my published articles, academic and otherwise, are online. Click as appropriate for the Chronological index of articles, for the Classified index of articles, for Letters to the press and for BBC Radio Scotland Thought for the Day. Occasionally I post to my website other people's work that I consider very important but which is otherwise hard to access. These articles/images are intended mainly for my students and are listed at third party resources.
   

Out of Print Books

Sometimes websites such as Amazon list as "books" publications of mine that were actually pamphlets or occasional papers. Where this is the case, a web version will be found in the publications section of my website (see below). Two that are books out of print (both co-authored) are, A Basic PR Guide for Charities (Directory of Social Change, 1985) and Marketing: a Handbook for Charities (Directory of Social Change, 1984). These can still be obtained second hand from internet sites. Also, Amazon (as linked here) has them scanned for "look inside" access, so a few pages at a time can be read in that way. Note that some parts are out of date, on some issues I have since modified my views (given that charity managerialism and fundraising techniques have sometimes gone beyond efficiency and into the realm of manipulation), but otherwise, much that is in them remains relevant. These books are also of some historical interest since they were, as far as we were aware, the first such books on marketing and PR for NGOs in the UK.

 

1 Dec 08

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