The Ishmael Guestbook Archives: October 1996

Ishael is a very enlightening book. It opened up a thought process that I believe was always there for me, but now I am keenly conscious or aware of. I am an elementary science teacher and I am looking for ways to incorporate the ideas brought forth in Ishael to my children.
Tim Rongstad <>
St. Paul, MN USA - Thursday, October 31, 1996 at 13:25:52 (PST)
Great book.
Wes Mullen <>
Madison, Ct USA - Thursday, October 31, 1996 at 05:30:10 (PST)
A friend from back east turned me on to this book. Actually thought my daughter, who is 11 would like to read it and since I have finished it, I am turning my daughter on to it, and my husband, friends and family. I just finished it last night. It is a comforting book in one way as well as contrib- uting to an already alarming feeling as gravity does its work Its comforting because even as memebers of the environ- mental movement or other activities which try to face these problems, we all know its a more profound problem and Mr. Quinn has articulated it so well. So how do we pull back from the edge of the chasm? It is going to take more than just afew of us just deciding to live an artnerative life style. Anyway, I am left with lots of feeling and thoughts , though not necessarily more clarity than before about what else to do. Looking forward to dialogue on this.
libby stortz <>
sitka, ak USA - Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at 10:51:23 (PST)
As a First Nations college student taking environmental sciences, I find Ishmael inspiring. I want to help save the planet too.
Brian Njootli <>
Whitehorse, YYT Canada - Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at 09:30:51 (PST)
I first read Ishmael in early December of last year, on the recommendation of a friend. By New Year's eve, I had read it two more times, and loved it more each time. I started recommending it to everyone I knew, and if they wouldn't or couldn't buy it or borrow it, I would use some of my precious "book fund" to buy it for them. Gradually, as the reactions from the people who read the book varied from as excited as I was to mildly lukewarm, I came to recognize this book for what it was. A stepping stone for me as an individual as I climb to my own highest aspirations. The book would not serve the same function for everyone who read it. Perhaps it would not have been so for me if I had even read it at a different time. Somehow, for some reason, the Fates put Ishmael in my path at a time in my life when I was (and, probably, am still) extremely impressionable and needy. I used this book as nourishment for my exploring mind. I pointed to it as proof that there are other people out there who feel as entrapped as I did. I did not even care when people pointed out to me that the whole premise of the book was probably a marketing scheme carefully designed to sell as much copy as possible. The beliefs of the author were irrelevant. All that mattered was that he inspired my own beliefs, my own actions, and my own change in career plans. I have made a couple of other steps this year in climbing this path, not quite as accidental as my picking up Ishmael. But I still look to this book on ocassion when I am unsure of what to do next. Not because I follow everything it has to say as though it were (for lack of a better term) gospel. I look to it because it reminds me of a time when my thoughts were even more clouded than they are now, and it shows me again how to find the clarity and tranquility that help me to know my own thoughts. I don't know if it is possible for the author to know what his book did for me. I don't even know if the credit for the changes I have undergone is due to the book. Perhaps the credit should go instead to fortunate timing and my own willingness to change myself. But the words of Ishmael did play a part, and, whether my gratitude is justified or not, I am still grateful.
Carmen Mosley <>
Little Rock, Ar USA - Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at 08:06:43 (PST)
Loved the book!!!
Curt Jopling <>
Vermillion, SD USA - Sunday, October 27, 1996 at 20:34:45 (PST)
My life has taken a new direction since reading "Ishmael." I can't wait to see where I'm led when I read "The Story of B." Thank you, Daniel Quinn, for explaining what many of us have felt, but could not express.
Mary Emery <>
Concordia, KS USA - Sunday, October 27, 1996 at 07:58:38 (PST)
This is a book that helped to shape my view on life. Ishmael contains some of the clearest and most thought-provoking ideas I have ever experienced. It brings the past accout of human civilization into a different view and points what I believe is the correct way to the future.
Conor Petren <petrencj@acasun>
St. Petersburg, FL USA - Saturday, October 26, 1996 at 16:36:21 (PDT)
i feel i need to do more than just watch the end of nature. but i have no clue at what to do or how to start. i don't no how to send e-mail so please mail me more info the old fashion way ( the postal service ) my address is neil chambers , 109 earle street apartment two , clemson , s.c. 29631. i'm jaded by the actions of man and how we continue the destruction on a daily basis by just turning on the water to shower. or by driving to work , or by listening to the radio or another modern comfort. i want an alterative to this life , maybe at a buddaist temple or living the way tom brown jr. writes about. i have little money and less knowledge. if you can help me , please do , i would enjoy the info.
neil chambers
clemson, s.c. USA - Friday, October 25, 1996 at 14:54:19 (PDT)
One evening as I was cruising the internet, I chanced upon a page in GeoCities. This page included simply a summary of Ishmael. I am pleased to admit that simply reading this summary brought me to tears. These tears, though, were not only tears of sadness. Inside I was somehow rejoicing in finding that someone had come to the some conclusions about humankind similar to the thoughts I had been hiding for years. Finally I feel I can relate to other people concerning previous beliefs I was afraid to unveil. I have not read Ishmael, but I begin this evening. Thank you, Daniel Quinn, for writing such a work. I can't wait!! I should add, though, that I'm sure the summary does the actual piece no justice.
R. L. Hatchett
Gainesville, GA USA - Friday, October 25, 1996 at 08:48:03 (PDT)
Ishmael was first given to me in 1992.I was expecting just another semi-inspiring book, that would basically just help me fall asleep at night. But by the time I was finished with it my life was changed. My spirit knew it had found the inspiration and guidance it had been yearning for for years. All the attempts to tap into the inspirational and philisophical parts of my psyche via hallucinogens and all night chats with friends paled in comparison to what this wonderful story achieved. For the first few weeks I was lost in this world of Leavers and Takers,Mother Culture,..ect, that Daniel Quinn had showed me. It was like I was in shock. Eventually I shared with a friend some of the Ideas the book expressed,and convinced him to read it.It opened up a whole new way of perceving the world around us. We shared it with friends who were eager to be part of the discussions the two of us would have. Some got it some didn't, but to this day I still consider myself a kind of Ishmael evangelist. Providence was a brilliant follow up and I can't wait to read this "B" that I hear about. Daniel Quinn has a unique ability to write in a way that brakes down your minds barriers and scilences mother culture so hear his brilliant message.If you havn't read or heard about this book yet, you will. Thank You Daniel!!
Kurt Finguerra
Bend, or USA - Friday, October 25, 1996 at 01:44:55 (PDT)
Jane & Ole
port hope, canada - Wednesday, October 23, 1996 at 18:16:30 (PDT)
got a website/ discussion like this going means the Quinn has begun a process toward enacting a true ecostory! 1 disturbance: says evolution tends toward complexity...this statement needs more direct ogical or proportional sense...just geotime + evolution
Zeb Dropkin
Boulder, CO USA - Wednesday, October 23, 1996 at 12:08:18 (PDT)
This is my first visit to Ishmael's new page and it is wonderful! Like many others who have read Ishmael, (again and again and again) the book changed my life! I have bought at least a dozen copies and given them to family and friends; some have "gotten" it some have not. I have talked with some people who say "what can we do?". Everyday I tell myself that I am going to save the world. To me this is the way to do it and then live it. I will hand a copy of Ishmael to my son in a few years, I have already told him that he will LOVE this book! Yes, Mr Quinn is quite accessible I cried when he answered my e-mail! I can't wait to read "B"! Thank you Daniel and Thank you Ishmael. I was connected to Ishamel long before I knew that he existed (but that is another story!) Loreta B:-)
Loreta Mascioli
Morgantown, WV USA - Wednesday, October 23, 1996 at 10:03:02 (PDT)
I had to read Ishmael and do a commentary as a project for my Environmental Biology class. I found this to be a very profound book. I do believe that one person can make a difference and that one person can effect another and another... I see this happening all around me. One thing that frightens me though is what I describe as the Taker-Takers. These are the businessmen and "leaders" who seem to feel that growth and profit are the only things that matter and that mankind will continue to be able to solve all his problems with technology. Ishmael tells us that we will devour ourselves. I see this in the form of corporate takeovers. These are also the same people who want to see unlimited population growth. This provides for more people to compete for fewer resources allowing those in control of those resources even more power and greater profit. This was the main theme of my paper on Ishmael. Lets work together to improve our own little piece of the planet. Many individuals can make a huge difference. Lets not be discouraged. Pray for mankind. Michael Rhen
Michael Rhen
Lancaster, PA USA - Sunday, October 20, 1996 at 22:46:45 (PDT)
This book has completely changed the way I look at everything in the world. I tell everybody I know about Ishmael and encourage them to read it!
Jeffrey D. Cantaberry
Fremont, Ca USA - Sunday, October 20, 1996 at 18:38:01 (PDT)
I just finished reading it, and I think it is one of the most important books I have read! It's going to take me a while to digest the messages in the book, and then react to them...
Kal Krishnan
Fremont, CA USA - Sunday, October 20, 1996 at 17:30:42 (PDT)
One of the many books I love to read over and over again. It was a real spiritual connection that I needed to hear and to learn.
Zandra Bear
Nanaimo, B.C Canada - Saturday, October 19, 1996 at 15:49:51 (PDT)
It's one of the best books I have ever read.
Patrick Neeman
Anaheim, CA USA - Friday, October 18, 1996 at 17:36:02 (PDT)
I discovered the book while living in Crested Butte, CO. last winter and was suitably impressed by Mr Quinns' "ernest desire" to continue communication and discussion after the act of creation was over. A rare quality in writers nowadays. I am a native of the European sub-continent, England is the name of the state I live in; either that is it's name or it's called dis-belief. I am very interested in Terrance McKenna's ideas which in the main compliment the ideas expounded in "Ishmael". A lot of people who already have their stake in the Taker or Dominator cultures but at 24 I am still free from such loyalties. My thoughts are shared by a huge number of people I meet every weekend at Pscychedlic trance parties which occur very regularly here in London. However, the book is not widely read; my own copy has been lent to 6 people all of whom loved it. Is this book never going to get a UK release? His message could be spread in a very strong way through a group of young, open minded individuals at these parties. I know McKenna uses the medium but then he has been a renegade scientist for a good while now so he worries not of the narrow-minded criticisms of the state press. Have you thought upon the potential of this techno-tribal revolution which is present across continents as a medium for Ishmaelisation? Finally, may I say that I spent two weeks in Austin in April and was blown away. The weather, the open-mindedness of so many of the people I met, the Anthropology lectures I saw at the University the wonderful Barton Springs and not least by that celebration of tribalism and positve vibes that was Eeyore's Birthday party. Wonderful place. Does Mr Quinn still reside there? Does anyone have any thoughts about methods of re-evolution through the techno-tribal medium (Burning man?)....Mr Quinn? Best Regards JL
James Lenoel
London, - UK - Wednesday, October 16, 1996 at 07:27:21 (PDT)
I read this book when it first came to our library--couldn't put it down!! I especially was drawn to the reevaluation of the Biblical myths in terms of Takers/Leavers. I can't say that I've made the trasition yet, but I hope to one day.
Angie Kraushaar
LA USA - Tuesday, October 15, 1996 at 15:42:10 (PDT)
HI ! Reading Ishmael was a totally incedent. One day I walked through a shopping mall and on a bookpile with cheap books I saw Ishmael. And something in my mind said to me BUY IT. Later I remembered that Iīve read about Ishmale more than a year before in a book-newsgroup, so its not as psycodelic as it seems. I started to read right in the Tram. Even I only read a few pages I was totally fascinated by the style of the book. It took me one day to read it. It was the best book Iīve ever read. These ideas are so simple. Every page I thought by myself, damn it, why vanīt you have such ideas. Nearly half a year later I read once again and this time in english. I was much more impressed than the first time. After Ishmael I read Providence. I donīt think it answers many question but it helps to learn more about the man behind the feather. Mr. Quinn must be a really extraordinary person and my lifetimewish will be to meet him one day, just to talk about god and the world. Now Iīm really looking forward for the next book. More than ever now I know it continous were Ishmael ended. I hope Mr. Quinn will write many more novels like Ishmael. Therefor I wish him a very creative and happy future ! Sincerly Tim Christiansen
Tim Christiansen
Halle / Saale, Germany - Tuesday, October 15, 1996 at 05:03:56 (PDT)
Reading Ishmael in my first year seminar class has had more impact on my life than any of the other "required" readings put together. This book has succeeded in opening my eyes and mind to our destruction of the Earth, as well as the eyes and minds of many classmates and family members. Thank you.
Ian Bryant
San Antonio, TxtxtxtxtxtTx;salfijas;ofi;alvkjaASFASt USA - Monday, October 14, 1996 at 15:01:53 (PDT)
Reading Ishmael in my first year seminar class has had more impact on my life than any of the other "required" readings put together. This book has succeeded in opening my eyes and mind to our destruction of the Earth, as well as the eyes and minds of many classmates and family members. Thank you.
Ian Bryant
San Antonio, TxtxtxtxtxtTx;salfijas;ofi;alvkjaASFASt USA - Monday, October 14, 1996 at 15:01:15 (PDT)
Ishmael is one of the most powerful books I've read. It's message can be both hopeful - if the human race decides to change it's current course, and depressing - if we decide to continue along our current path. The message is, and has always been: It's up to us, individually and collectively.
Ted Markow
Brunswick, ME USA - Saturday, October 12, 1996 at 17:05:30 (PDT)
Rare is the book that affects you to the depths of your soul. Yet "Ishmael" was such a book for me. Though I am still struggling with all the feelings that the book brought out, my mind keeps saying "YES! this is all true...I've always known about the "lie"...I'm not alone in these thoughts". Ishmael taught me that I can no longer be complacent about the state of the world, nor my role in it. I have made a new commitment to myself and new hope has been found. Thank you "Ishmael" for bringing it to consciousness.
Linda Lanzl
Los Gatos, Ca USA - Thursday, October 10, 1996 at 11:47:14 (PDT)
I'm still trying to sort out the total impression that it made on me, but I can say that while the book has no action sequences, it was the most exciting thing I have ever read. While reading the last few chapters, I was constantly either pacing around, stamping my feet on the ground rythmatically, or bouncing around in my chair. Ishmael does something that none of the ecologists I many ecologists I have heard speak have done: He doesn't just say "Abandon this life style, it's wrong," but he tells us what we CAN do to help make things better. I plan to tell 100 people about Ishmael, and prehaps I will be able to do more.
Steven Watson
Newberry, FL USA - Wednesday, October 09, 1996 at 19:14:22 (PDT)
With all my frustrations and angst about the state of the world, the last thing I thought I needed to read was a book such as _Ishmael_. So many of my thoughts and feelings were validated by this book, including a sense of despair and hopelessness as to the survival of my species. One thing I did NOT get from _Ishmael_, but am seeking in other ways, is a sense of hope for the future. I can heartily say that this book changed my life tremendously !!!
Bob Lewis
San Jose, CA USA - Wednesday, October 09, 1996 at 17:10:43 (PDT)
I have read the book twice......and now i need to read it again......i was fascinated by the concepts and have been reading books on the reading list.......i particularly like the books by Weatherford....PR
Paul Ramsour
Minneapolis, MN USA - Wednesday, October 09, 1996 at 11:40:12 (PDT)
I took my roomates copy of Ishamael to work one day expecting to start it, read a few pages during lunch, set it down and, finally, forget about. How wrong I was. I did start it, and I did finish it--all within the space of about six hours. I couldn't put it down. I have since read Providence and was equally engulfed by that book and I'm looking to reading The Story of B whenever I can get my hands on a copy. I have corresponded directly with Daniel Quinn about continuing my education. I find the man as easy to access as his books. Thank you again, Daniel, for this gift of clarity!
Bruce Hartman
Chesapeake, VA USA - Wednesday, October 09, 1996 at 11:24:58 (PDT)
I'm only half way through the book but I had to see what was on the web! It's great so far, and I can't wait for the rest of the book. It really makes me want to get involved somehow in saving the world. Taking on Mother Culture seems such as daunting task but it can and must be done.
Tom Foremski
Forestville, CA USA - Wednesday, October 09, 1996 at 10:19:38 (PDT)
Students will be reading Ishmael every year in my course called "Biodiversity Conservation: Global Perspectives". As long as I have taught the course, I've explored indigenous vs. ag-based urban cultural values as they relate to biodiversity and ecosystem integrity - but your story of the leavers and takers gives me important new dimensions to explore with my students. Ishmael grabs my students' minds and hauls them personally into the fray of redrawing our maps to the future.
Question: Has Ishmael been translated into other languages and media (e.g. books on tape), including those accessible to indigenous cultures? I personally know Inuit and Kuna people who would latch on to the story and be able to use it in very meaningful ways to help focus and communicate their own struggles to come to terms with the ongoing taker take-over of their cultures. If I could help in any way, let me know.

Katie Sieving
Gainesville, FL USA - Sunday, October 06, 1996 at 10:35:12 (PDT)

Daniel Quinn's note: ISHMAEL is available in German, Italian, Hungarian, Spanish. Portuguese, Korean, Hebrew, Dutch, and Japanese, and will soon be available in Chinese, Swedish, and French. It's available in an 3 hour audio version (heavily abridged, of course, by more than half). It's also available in an unabridged form from Books for the Blind; I've never seen it or heard it and don't even know if it's available in this form to the public at large.

Webmaster's note: Coming soon to the section called Who is Ishmael? will be information about the writing of Ishmael, including how it has been translated into over a dozen languages!

Wonderful, wonderful concious raising xperience.....redirected our lives and caused changed thinking patterns to form. Thank you Daniel Quinn.
Gary J. Headlee
Omak, Washington 98841, Wa USA - Saturday, October 05, 1996 at 20:12:55 (PDT)
Great site! Thank you
Anthony Rice
Rimrock , AZ USA - Saturday, October 05, 1996 at 14:58:01 (PDT)
I was wondering what happened to Ishmael's Buletin Board. I used to read/contribute to it a while back. Now that you've moved URLs ( to it doesn't seem to exist any more. Am I just not able to fine it? Joe Murphy
Joseph G. Murphy
Prairie View, IL USA - Friday, October 04, 1996 at 14:05:43 (PDT)

Webmaster's note: When we launched this new Ishmael site the decisions was made to not include the bboard at this point. This guestbook and the Post Your Questions area are the venue for public posting.

Inspiring. Many thanks to Daniel Quinn for writing such a thought provoking book. I would also like to extend my thanks to Dr. Bryan Norton of Georgia Institute of Technology/School of Public Policy, for recommending the book!
Raymond Louis
Atlanta, GA USA - Thursday, October 03, 1996 at 10:24:01 (PDT)
Although Ishmael made good points regarding the care of the Earth, the premise of the book is based on atheism (belief in no God) and evolution and therefore, I found his teachings to be inconsistent with those of Christianity as taught by the Bible.
The Bake
USA - Tuesday, October 01, 1996 at 08:14:54 (PDT)
What a great site!!!
Masud Osman
Huntington Beach, CA USA - Monday, September 30, 1996 at 17:09:03 (PDT)
No book has more profoundly affected my philosophical, political, and metaphysical view of the Earth than Ishmael. I recommend in to every human...
John C. Eliason, Jr. (aka Skeeter)
Denver, PA USA - Sunday, September 29, 1996 at 05:05:45 (PDT)
i've never read a book that had changed my life as much as Ishmael. i've read it several times and each time learn something new. i'm glad to know others have been as affected by Ishmael as i am.
lauren macneal
huntingdon valley, pa USA - Saturday, September 28, 1996 at 14:20:58 (PDT)
Changes the way you look at the world and the culture we all live in. Opened my eyes and changed my perspective on everything. I liked how he explained the story of Adam and Eve. It all made sense when he explained it like that. I mean, who really understood the damn story anyways before Ishmael? But after reading Ishmael, it all made perfect sense. I love this book.
Kevin Flanagan
San Luis Obispo, Ca USA - Friday, September 27, 1996 at 15:02:39 (PDT)
Welcome Friends of Ishmael!

I just want to welcome everyone to Ishmael's Domain. This is a whole new look for the site and a new location too. We have added new features, and re-arranged everything a bit. Please explore what we have created and let us know your thoughts, suggestions, and/or comments. Post them here, or send email to me: or

Thanks to all those who have helped Ishmael find his way onto the internet - Ruben Alarcon, Harold Koopowitz, Stephen Potter of 7th Generation Design, (Daniel and Rennie Quinn, and the very talented folks at CommWerks, (Brianna, Jeff, Clover, Pat, Craig, Dave, and Manny - ) for the hard work and energy that went into this site.

Alan Thornhill
Webmaster at Ishmael's Domain

Alan Thornhill
Houston, TX USA - Friday, September 27, 1996 at 14:35:30 (PDT)