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Paperback Soul Rebels: The Rastafari Book

ISBN: 0881337390

ISBN13: 9780881337396

Soul Rebels: The Rastafari

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

. . . a cult, a deviant subculture, a revolutionary movement . . . these descriptions have been commonly used in the past to identify the Rastafari, a group perhaps best known to North American... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

A sociological participation on ganja

This isn't the easiest read out there, but not bad. The author does give a new viewpoint of Rastifari culture and does a good job at putting it in sociological and historical perspective. Only in a couple of places do I think that he got deep enough into the culture that he kind of lost non-judgemental perspective, but he does try to show viewpoints from various sides. I can say that I learned a fair amount about the Rastifari culture and would recomend this book.

Pretty Good, Not Sensational

I knew a little bit about Rastafarianism before reading this book. Primarily, I knew about some of the religious underpinnings and of course, the use of ganja in religious practice. What I didn't know about Rastafarianism, however, was Rastafarianism as a political and economic policy, one which renounces much of the governmental and economic structure that is such a part of our modern, globalized world. The author, a Jesuit priest, definitely brings an interesting perspective to the book, which my anthropology professor suggested is why the women of Rastafarianism seem to have such a minor role in this book. While this is definitely a valid criticism, the book is actually one of the more interesting and least sensational books I have read on the subject. Indeed, it makes me want to be a Rasta!

A Useful Social Introduction

Although this book does not go into a large amount of detail, it is a quick and useful introduction to the Rastafarian way of life, at least on the social and economic side. William Lewis has based his work on direct interviews and observations with Rastas that he has met, so the book focuses on their social interactions, lifestyles, and viewpoints on the world around them. However, you have to wonder if those particular Rastas were being truthful because Lewis is a white Roman Catholic priest (although this does not infringe on his view of other cultures and religions). Lewis includes case studies of both urban and rural Rastas in Jamaica, a group in a large US city, and the interesting case of a "repatriated" group in Ethiopia. There is an interesting aside in the study of the US urban Rastas, as Lewis keeps the name of the city confidential to protect his subjects from prosecution, but later in the book he accidentally tells us that it was Brooklyn. This book is lacking in deeper insights into the true religious nature of Rastafari, as Lewis' historical backdrop to the development of the belief system is rather quick and sketchy, and there is little more than superficial coverage of the complicated Rasta belief system. It would have also been nice to see more on the direct influence of Haile Selassie rather than just his historical inspiration, and also how the religion adapted to his death (the Rastas literally thought he was the messiah). If you already know something about Rastafari, you probably won't learn much new here. So this book is most useful as an introduction which may inspire you to explore more in-depth studies elsewhere.
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