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The Call of Service: A Witness to Idealism [Paperback]

By Robert Coles (Author)
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Item description for The Call of Service: A Witness to Idealism by Robert Coles...

"A moving and often inspiring account of how individuals try to be responsible for their world".--Washington Post. In this passionate book filled with profound stories, a Pulitzer Prize winner explores the compelling nature of idealism--what inspires it and sustains it, how it is expressed, and its importance to both individuals and society.

Publishers Description
In this book, Coles explores the concept of idealism and why it necessary to the individual and society.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Call of Service: A Witness to Idealism by Robert Coles has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 188

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Mariner Books
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.4" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 15, 1994
Publisher   Mariner Books
ISBN  0395710847  
ISBN13  9780395710845  
UPC  046442710848  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert Coles

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Coles, M.D. is a child psychiatrist and the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University. He is a founding member of the Center of Documentary Studies at Duke University. The author of numerous books, he wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning, multi-volume works The Inner Lives of
Children and Children of Crisis. He is also the Editor of the documentary magazine Double Take.

Robert Coles currently resides in Concord, in the state of Massachusetts.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Poverty > Social Services & Welfare
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Philosophy & Social Aspects
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Social Work
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology

Reviews - What do customers think about The Call of Service: A Witness to Idealism?

Reading this book is time well spent  Feb 24, 2002
This book is fantastic. Coles spent a large portion of his life living amongst, interviewing, studying, and writing about volunteer community servants and the people for whom they work. The first 3/4 or so of this book recounts some of his favorite stories from that portion of his life. It does a fine job of doing so - these stories are the kind of thing you can't put down. The last 1/4 or so of the book tries to draw morals and conclusions from the stories. This part of the book is interesting too, and well written, but not quite as good as the first part of the book. For one thing, Coles tries to draw large-scale conclusions from non-randomly picked anecdotal cases. But his conclusions are still very interesting, and the book as a whole is really astonishingly good.
Reawakening idealism  Mar 5, 2001
Some books make you feel good, some books make you feel rotten. This book reawakened my idealism and my interest in doing good in the world. Coles describes the elements of volunteering and how we choose the work in which we become engaged. He also describes how we become disillusioned - sometimes by ignoring the significance of the work that goes on among the volunteers, sometimes by hoping too much and knowing too little, sometimes by not looking at ourselves. But he also offers pictures out of his own life and experience, sharing personal reflections and insights. Coles describes concrete situations in many different kinds of volunteer activities, reporting carefully and without a lot of unnecessary analysis, what gets said, how people look, and when volunteer gestures lead or don't lead to success. His respect for the people he meets is inspiring, as is his openness for learning and reassessing his own value system. Not least important is that Colses is both a good writer and a gifted story teller.
The Unanswered Call  Oct 30, 2000
The Unanwered Call

In modern society there seems to be a movement away from the sense of community and more toward a sense of the individual. Often we see people more concerned with what it takes to increase profit margins and less concerned about the need to support the community from which these profits are generated. However, in a world of convoluted moral guidance there is some semblance of community left. Robert Coles, in his book The Call of Service: a Witness to Idealism, discusses some of the astounding people that he has worked with over a thirty-year time span. As with many of Coles' works he begins with the story of Ruby Bridges. Set in 1961, Ruby was one of three black children to break the racial barriers in Boston and attend a previous all white school. Although she faced continual threats, Ruby attended school everyday without complaint. Intrigued by Ruby's courage, Coles searched for the motivating force that allowed her to face such adversity. He found that her bravery came from her propensity to contribute to the greater cause. Through facing the hatred of those crowds in Boston, Ruby helped to cut a path through racism for future generation and doing so created a strong sense of self worth. While many of Coles' stories are inspirational, they lack the sociological support necessary to make them anything more than inspirational. Coles seems to think volunteering for the sake of volunteering is enough. For this reason the book centers on the pride one might get from donating his or her time for the betterment of the community. Though the cause is admirable, execution is poor. Coles only discusses isolated cases that do not depict an objective point of view. For example in the case of Ruby Bridges, Coles only refers to her. However, during the 1960's many black children were subjected to similar abuse and did not fare as well. Coles does not discuss any of them. Instead he chooses to deal only with the stories that support his ideology. As today's society seems to value profit over the needs of the community, Call to Service falls short of providing solutions for diminishing community pride. These stories do not provide much more than pop psychology solutions to complex social problems.

About this book....  Sep 9, 1999
This book was EXTREMELY boring. I only read it because it was assigned reading. It is kind of like a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" but with 3 pages of physology inbetween each story.
The most insightful and thought provoking book of its field  Nov 25, 1998
Volunteerism has been my life. I am now in charge of community volunteers and students involved in service learning. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the subject until I read this book. Many of my ideas where exploded and new, wonderful ideas and insights took their place.The book discusses problems in communicating with those we are tryig to help. It gives a wonderful discussion of the real meaning of mentoring, and who should really call themselves mentors. It is open and clear about the various reasons we all volunteer. It does not tell you how to run an agency or how to do your work. It simply open new doors that might make you a person who better serves the community. I feel everyone in the fields of volunteerism and community service should read this fabulous book.

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