Wake-Up Calls: The Perplexing, Sometimes Dangerous and Almost Always Liberating Phenomenon of the Life-Changing U-Turn

Bruce Grierson, Author . Bloomsbury $24.95 (341p) ISBN 978-1-58234-584-0

A Canadian journalist (Culture Jam ) takes an informed look at people who suddenly, dramatically transform their lives. Grierson offers scores of examples, such as Virgil Butler, who had earned his living slaughtering chickens at a Tyson plant. After he started dating an animal lover, he quit his job, became a vegetarian and now runs an animal rights Web site. Many of the epiphanies were of a religious nature, either toward or away from spirituality. Anwah Shaikh, a Pakistani fundamentalist Muslim, killed several Sikhs after seeing the mutilated bodies of Muslims around the time Pakistan gained independence. Reading the Qur'an one day, he suddenly found one passage troubling and began reading the text more critically; he turned away from Islam and wrote a critique of the Qur'an. Several tales recount political shifts, such as Michael Lind's abandonment of conservatism after being disgusted by Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention. This is a nuanced and informative investigation that speculates but does not reach final conclusions about why some make U-turns in life and others do not. Grierson suggests that most changers are middle-class white males (who have the greatest freedom to make such changes) with a degree of sensitivity and idealism. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 341 pages - 978-1-58234-587-1
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-59691-795-8
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