Esperanto For Hope: A New Way Of Learning The Language Of Peace, by Máire Mullarney
As someone who greatly enjoys reading books about Esperanto  and getting a feel for its literary culture as a whole, this book is delightful and somewhat odd, just about what one would expect as a book from a thoughtful polyglot of Irish descent and considerable political and personal quirkiness, as one would expect. Although I find myself with a much different political worldview than the author, as one might expect given that she was a politician and activist for the Green Party, I find as well that there are a lot of ways that her own life and behavior are very intriguing, from her appreciation of the way that an interlanguage like Esperanto would save many millions to organizations who spend alarming amounts of their budget on the work of translation and not on the work that is their reason for being, like providing aid to needy around the world, and the way that she not only homeschooled her large family but also wrote a book on how parents can do anything the schools can do better, something I happen to agree with quite strongly.
The book itself is made of somewhat loosely connected lessons that manage to teach Esperanto to the reader almost by accident while also serving as a memoir of sorts of the author’s own connection to the thorny problem of languages in the contemporary world. Given her own experiences growing up in Gibraltar and also her own learning of a variety of languages including Spanish, French, and koine Greek, the author’s fondness for Esperanto and for the way that it opens up ways of understanding and communicating with people around the world in a neutral language that cannot be connected to any imperialistic ambitions is something that ought to be easily understood. The book talks about the author’s writings as a journalist, her travels, her work in various technical groups and cooperatives, all of which is sprinkled with delightful vocabulary and history, and overall this is a book that is to be enjoyed and appreciated, at least for an audience that shares the globalism and idealism of the author. Even those readers who do not share the author’s political worldview are likely to appreciate what she has to say about the importance of Esperanto as a way of reducing the confusion and linguistic problems of our world.
Coming in at under 200 pages, this is not a book whose length will place any demands on the reader if they are familiar with the wider body of Esperanto literature or enjoy a good read. The style is entertaining and the book itself is a strong defense of the friendliness of Esperanto culture, making it as appealing as possible to those who like broad communication with somewhat eccentric people of high ideals. Whether or not the reader is convinced to learn Esperanto after having read this book is something I cannot say as a learner of the language myself, but those who read it should at least appreciate the way that the author serves as an example of the sort of person who would appreciate Esperanto, and those who can identify with the author will find much to appreciate in the language that she so eloquently defends, and in the ecumenical and cosmopolitan culture whose operations during the 1980s she describes here. For my own part, I found myself a bit envious of the fact that she was able to mix and mingle so easily as a result of being a freelance journalist attending all of these interesting meetings and gaining a close understanding of linguistics and Esperanto’s role in the process. Perhaps you will feel the same way.
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