Once you know the story, you’ll hear it everywhere in your culture, and you’ll be astonished that the people around you don’t hear it as well, but merely take it in

Ishmael, (Quinn, D. 1992, p. 36).

It is hard for me to believe that it has been over 25 years since I first read Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. For at least 15 years, I read, re-read, gifted, and re-gifted this book. Recently, a friend, I will call him “Steve,” told me he was re-reading one of the sequels to Ishmael. That inspired me to find an old copy on my Dad’s bookshelf.

It is not an easy book. To read. To enjoy. To understand. It is the most influential book on my thinking, my understanding, and my activism. I don’t like the main character. I don’t like the setting or context of most of the story. I am surprised I got through this book when I was 26 years old. It is one of the few books that has truly transformed the way I think and view the world around me. It is impossible for me to write about the book, because to do so – well, as Dr. River Song often says, “Spoilers!”

Ishmael is a call to action. To fight racism, to fight climate change, to fight bigotry, to fight wars. Daniel Quinn challenges the reader to relearn everything we know about ourselves simply by gently pointing out not only what we have become, but how we got here.

If any of my readers wishes to join me in a book study, please shoot me an email, or comment on this blog.

Right here, right now… Watching the world wake up from History

Mike Edwards (“Right Here, Right Now,” Jesus Jones)


  1. rickowen58 says:

    I agree! This book changed my way of thinking, and simultaneously instilled hope and despair. Is the book study going to be virtual?


    1. Donald Owen says:

      Hey Rick,
      If I get enough interest in doing a virtual book study.


  2. Alex Palomo says:

    Totally agree … still think about it daily and the voice of mother culture. I read it in 1996 and have been trying to change minds ever since. : ). I would be interested in a discussion group …


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