Category Reading

Book 1. Mary Beard, Women and Power, A Manifesto (Updated 2018)

Book of the Month- May 2020 by Morag Charlwood

Book 2. Mary Robinson, Climate Justice, Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future. (2018)

This month’s recommended reads cover radical refusals to accept the unacceptable. Mary Robinson advocates Climate Justice: Here’s an extract from her introduction: 

Climate Change, I realised was no longer a scientific abstraction but a man-made phenomenon that impacted people -primarily the most vulnerable- all over the world.  While industrial nations continued to build their economies on the backs of fossil fuels, the most disadvantaged across the world were suffering most from the effects of climate change.

Mary Beard –situates her thesis on the patriarchal societal structures of Western culture, thereby to raise a brilliant and scathing battle cry from the crumbling Walls of Troy. 

Here’s an extract from Mary Beard’s 2018 Afterword:

There are many reasons for us still to pay attention to Homer’s Odyssey, and it would be a cultural crime if we read it only to investigate the well springs of Western misogyny; it is a poem that explores …the nature of civilisation and barbarity, fidelity, homecoming and belonging. But…as I hope this book shows –Telemachus’ rebuke to his mother, Penelope when she dares open her mouth in public is one that is still too often being seen in the twenty-first century.  

Mary Beard’s conclusion is that:

You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure. 

To conclude, I have set these excellent books side by side for their readability and for their determination to pursue awareness, discussion and solutions to the unacceptable. In effect: To Speak Truth to Power.

Dame Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Cambridge University and Royal Academy of Arts professor of Ancient Literature. Mary Robinson is the Former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.

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