Book Reviews

It has been said that every life is like a book. It may be more accurately stated that every life is like an entire library. This is particularly so where one has sought to live according to what Socrates termed an examined life.


Despite the levelling and devaluing changes wrought by the popular press and by electronic media, we remain, at deeper levels of reflection, a highly literate society. Our books are repositories of practical and theoretical knowledge. And some of our books will ever remain perennial sources of wisdom.

Culturally, we place a high value on education, for it enables us to become familiar with the mental tools that can empower our lives and actions. Our educational forms also provide a common basis for communication with each other and the traditions that have helped to shape the many disciplines that contour material and social reality.

This section of The Healing Project carries a range of literary resources that I have found personally useful in the development of a holistic view of life. The phenomenon of healing is multidimensional. It is not only our bodies that may be in need of healing. We are also mental, spiritual and social beings situated in an energetically-charged material world.

Our social realities are conditioned by familial, occupational, institutional and political structures. Each or any of these may be in need of healing. And we live within political and occupational complexes that often undermine our biological, mental and social health.

We are also inhabitants of an earth that now buckles and strains under the weight of a technological civilisation that has progressively encumbered the air that we breath, denatured the soils that provide our nutriments, destroyed the forests that renew the air and shelter myriad forms of life, and poisoned the rivers and oceans that harbour unseen worlds. As Thomas Berry so astutely observed, “we cannot have well humans on a sick planet.”

The purpose of these literature reviews is to provide visitors to this site with a brief overview of a number of texts that have been influential in the development of many of the ideas that have found expression in Holism and Complementary Medicine.

These reviews, with representative excerpts from the texts, will hopefully provide visitors with a sense of each author’s style and scope, and thereby offer encouragement to seek out the texts themselves, for that is where the real nourishment resides.

I wish thank my former secretaries Louise Leone and Annie Gillison who have, over the years, carried the lion’s share of transcribing much of the material that follows.


The Categories

Alchemical Traditions

David Crow (2000): In Search of the Medicine Buddha.pdf

Arthur Edward Waite (1888): The Works of Thomas Vaughan (Eugenius Philalethes).pdf

David White (1996): The Alchemical Body. Siddha Traditions in Medieval India.pdf

Complementary Medicine

Meredith McGuire (1988): Ritual Healing in Suburban America.pdf

Critiques of Biomedicine

E.R. Brown(1979): Rockefeller Medicine Men. Medicine and Capitalism in America.pdf

Kenneth Pelletier (1994): Sound Mind, Sound Body. a New Model for Lifelong Health.pdf

Ivan Illich (1976): Limits to Medicine; Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health.pdf

Rick Carlson (1975): The End of Medicine.pdf

Critiques of Complementary Medicine

Cultural and Historical Studies

Francis Bacon (1625): Essays.pdf

Leopold Kohr (1957): The Breakdown of Nations.pdf

Stephen McKnight (1989): Sacralizing the Secular: The Renaissance Origins of Modernity.pdf

Ecological Studies

History and Philosophy of Medicine

Jeanne Achterberg (1990): Woman as Healer.pdf

Donald Atkinson (1956): Magic, Myth and Medicine.pdf

Warren R. Dawson (1926): Magician and Leech: A Study in the Beginnings of Medicine with Special Reference to Ancient Egypt.pdf

Integral Studies

Stanislav Grof (1985): Beyond the Brain. Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy.pdf

On Genocide

Martin Gilbert (1987): The Holocaust. The Jewish Tragedy.pdf

Joachim Fest (1970): The Face of the Third Reich.pdf

Poetic Consciousness

Kathleen Raine (1970): William Blake.pdf

Political Studies

Andrew Dobson (1995): Green Political Thought.pdf

Psychological Studies

R.D. Laing (1967): The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise.pdf

Qualitative Research Methods

Sociological Studies

The Wisdom Traditions


Bernard Ruffin (1991): Padre Pio. The True Story

Nicholas Berdyaev (1939): Spirit and Reality.pdf

Teresa of Avila. Autobiography (trans. J.M. Cohen, 1957).pdf

Thomas a Kempis. The Imitation of Christ.pdf

The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton.pdf

The Yoga Tradition

Theos Bernard (1950): Heaven Lies Within Us.pdf


Ragavan Iyer (1983): The Golden Verses of Pythagoras.pdf

Signe Toksvig (1948): Emanuel Swedenborg. Scientist and Mystic