LET’S TALK ABOUT IT:
12 “Conversation” lessons
for an intermediate level class
by Michael Berman
Each month a new topic will be
available for download in Word
||1 - Feelings
||2 - Travelling around the UK
||3 - Travelling around the world
||4 - Jobs
|| 5 - Where we live
||6 - How many friends do you have?
||7 - Rich Man, Poor Man
||8 - The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
||9 - Animals
||10 - How fit are you?
||11 - What do you do in your free time?
||12 - Food & drink
A bi-monthly magazine with traditional and contemporary stories from all
over the world, plus notes for teachers on how they can be used in the
Michael Berman has a new book out Shamanic Journeys Through Daghestan
: “All intellectuals driven by nationalist sentiments directly or
are always preoccupied with searching for the most ancient roots of their
nations in order to ground their compatriots in particular soil and to
more indigenous” (Znamenski, 2007, p.28). In Daghestan, as in the
countries of Georgia, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan, these roots lie in
shamanism and the
stories in this
collection clearly show this to be the case.
Known as the “land of the mountains,” Dagestan lies immediately north of the
Caucasus Mountains, and stretches for approximately 250 miles along the
of the Caspian Sea. With its mountainous terrain making travel and
difficult, Daghestan is still largely tribal and, unlike in most other
Russia, the population (2,576,531 in 2002) is rapidly growing. Despite over a
century of Tsarist control followed by seventy years of repressive Soviet
there are still 32 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language, and
many indigenous ethnic groups, Daghestan is unquestionably the most
complex of the
Caucasian republics. The histories and stories of the elders provide the
evidence of who their ancient ancestors were. This book, one of only a
available in English on the country, contains both the texts of some of
and commentaries on them, focusing in
particular on their shamanic elements.
ENDORSEMENTS AND REVIEWS:
By gathering and reproducing en bloc the various
stories contained in this book, Michael Berman does a valuable service in
reminds us of the rich and variegated religious-cultural heritage of the
peoples. For rendering otherwise dispersed source materials readily
accessible in a
single volume, this book is to be congratulated. ... I greatly enjoyed
each of the
stories contained in this book, just as I very much appreciated Michael
interpretation of them. I trust you will too.
Dr Andrew Dawson, Lancaster
An engrossing and enlightening journey into a fascinating country and
stories are skillfully narrated and critiqued in a manner that retains their
original vigour while making them accessible to a reader unacquainted with
tradition. This is storytelling at its most
insightful and potent.
Wayne Rimmer PhD, teacher trainer & Director of
International House in Moscow.
Michael Berman draws upon his extensive experience as a storyteller to
bring to life
the fascinating shamanic traditions of the little-known Daghestani people.
Trubshaw, author, photographer and Commissioning Editor of Heart of Albion
Michael Berman understands better than most the power of the stories that
world. In this, his latest study of shamanic narratives, he takes his
elucidating the unity in diversity to the mountains of Daghestan - and
comes back to
everyday reality with some real treasures to share.
Julienne Ford PhD,
lecturer at Middlesex University and the founder of the publishing company
In the shallowness of an unsettling time that equates myths with lies, and
region, between the Black and Caspian Seas, where such a mixture of
peoples hangs on
to ancient traditions and the proud idiosyncracies of its own languages,
wide-reading and passion for the shamanic roots of stories (still being
for a disturbing vision of what the human race (in the grip of glib
pressures) no longer wants to face in itself. These stories have been
of a harsh landscape, and break the bounds of all comfortable behaviour.
their truth where reality stops; but they also expose, in the layers of their
building, influences of folk-lore elsewhere. Berman is most interested in
shamanic echoes, but they are also a pared-down revelation of Daghestan
rich residue of its history and culture, and a compliment to its hard-bitten,
gnarled, but generous and perceptive grasp of the paradoxes of human
Gregory, author and founder of Word in Action, a travelling theatre
company that has
performed all over the world.
To see this at O Books: