If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?: Finding Common Ground

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Knopf Canada, May 28, 2010 - Social Science - 288 pages
“We need to understand our stories because our lives depend upon it.” -- Ted Chamberlin

The stories we tell each other reflect and shape our deepest feelings. Stories help us live our lives -- and are at the heart of our current conflicts. We love and hate because of them; we make homes for ourselves and drive others out on the basis of ancient tales. As Ted Chamberlin vividly reveals, we are both connected by them and separated by their different truths. Whether Jew or Arab, black or white, Muslim or Christian, Catholic or Protestant, man or woman, our stories hold us in thrall and hold others at bay.

Like the work of Joseph Campbell and Bruce Chatwin, this vital, engrossing book offers a new way to understand the hold that stories and songs have on us, and a new sense of the urgency of doing so. Drawing on his own experience in many fields -- as scholar and storyteller, witness among native peoples and across cultures -- Ted Chamberlin takes us on a journey through the tales of different peoples, from North America to Africa and Jamaica.

Beautifully written, with insight and deep understanding, If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? examines why it is now more important than ever to attend to what others are saying in their stories and myths -- and what we are saying about ourselves. Only then will we understand why they have such power over us.

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Absolutely brilliant book. I have read it twice and frequently open it to ponder some of the wisdom it contains. Another reviewer has said it is boring. I say, only if you don't want to think or work; the book requires effort.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

difficult to read as it is quite boring

Selected pages


There Goes the Neighbourhood
Theres No Place Like Home
Gaelic Is Dead
To Be or Not to
Truth and Consequences
Beyond Conflict

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About the author (2010)

J. Edward Chamberlin is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Previously Poetry Editor of Saturday Night Magazine, he has worked extensively on native land claims in the United States, Canada, Africa and Australia nd has been Senior Research Associate with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. His books include The Harrowing of Eden: White Attitudes Towards Native Americans (1975), Ripe Was the Drowsy Hour: The Age of Oscar Wilde (1977) and Come Back to Me My Language: Poetry and the West Indies (1993).

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