The Alphabet vs. The Goddess
Leonard Shlain

Though I’ve read a lot of books about writing, none captured my imagination quite like Leonard Shlain’s The Alphabet vs. The Goddess. In it, Shlain lays out evidence to support a convincing hypothesis that the image and the written word have been in a not-so-subtle war with one another for the whole of human history. As a neurosurgeon as well as a man of letters, he draws upon a wide-range of disciplines to make his point and, cumulatively, it’s really unsettling. It draws attention to the schism between the verbal and visual components of the brain in a way that reminded me of suddenly becoming hyper-aware of my tongue in my mouth. I don’t want to give away any of Dr. Shlain’s more controversial positions contained within the book so, suffice it to say, you’ll never think about writing or reading the same way after digesting it.

-Rob Vollmar

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