My 2017 part-poetry, part-graphic novel book Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers is now available in hardcover! And it is such a beautiful thing. The softcover is like a dog-eared, back-of-the-jeans pocket book that you take out in a quiet moment on the train. In hardback, it’s more like a full-color bedtime book for adults. So to celebrate, I’m also releasing it as a pay-as-you-feel PDF for the digital, the curious, the skeptical, and the empty of wallet.
Here are a few reviews from people who bought it:
From Daniel King:
Amazing body of work from an absolute genius! You can feel the life Caitlin breathes into her poetry coming off in waves as you read through this book. Great illustrations also – beautifully artistic and add to the world she’s creating in with her words! A real artistic achievement. Let’s hope this works…
Seriously trippy. Caitlin is either extremely woke or rabidly well read. I suspect both. Most won’t get this book but if you’re reading this then don’t hesitate. This is one of the very few belongings I would grab when exiting my house if it were on fire. The artwork is inspired, the poetry is consensus conscious breaking, the end result is nothing short of magic.
I love Caitlins usual writing, and was aware before purchase that this wasn’t her usual fare. It differs very much from the writing on her blog and on Medium, but it’s still very good. It’s a modern poem, to ‘waking up’, being self-aware, and desiring more than we’re getting from the world (not in a material sense obviously). If you’re expecting reams of studied prose, change your expectations. Be open to a different form of writing though, and you’ll love it. It’s definitely a poem for dreamers, and those who believe the world can be better.
From “The Amazing Morse”, author James Rozoff:
Somewhere within the bowels of an ivy-covered university building sits a professor engrossed in a book written by a long-dead master of language and thought and emotion, oblivious to the fact that there is one among us now who is every bit as worthy of such attention. Were he to become aware of Caitlin Johnstone, he would likely not appreciate her worth, so alienated from what the words he reads once meant as applied to what once was the here and now. His is the enjoyment of a pubescent boy reading articles in the Penthouse Forum who would flee in fear from a real live female in the flesh. His is the view of one who sits upon a hill to watch as armies battle for supremacy, quite certain of what side he is rooting for but far too comfortable to enter the fray. He would not appreciate this book, though his spiritual ancestors will someday read it from the safety of their libraries and recognize its brilliance.
This, this is the sort of book which led humanity to create printing presses. This is the kind of work which inspires, which illuminates, which transcends. This goes on the top of your bookshelf, sitting next to the elites which you have spent a lifetime searching out. And if you are fortunate to have spent a lifetime being introduced to the works of the great thinkers, great writers, and great souls, you will gaze at that top shelf and figure out which one will have to be bumped in order to fit Woke on that shelf.
Don’t worry, it is quite a small book. No need to demote War And Peace or Les Miserables to a lesser position. But surely there is something you read in your youth, something that once moved you but will appear not quite so worthy after you have read Woke. Or perhaps you need not worry about where to fit it on your shelf: despite its modest size, it is a possession you will want to keep near you, like a beloved pet or a copy of Waldon. It is a constant source of joy even though it is a reminder of the sorrow that exists and the impermanence of all things. Beauty and sorrow are inseparable, but there is more of the former than the latter to be found here.
You will cry often. Or rather, I cried often. I don’t want to project my reaction onto you, though I deeply hope and wish that you share a similar appreciation of this book. I cried tears of sadness, and joy, tears of rage, and amazement. Quite often I cried tears of laughter, though I wasn’t always certain what had caused it. More than anything, I cried the sort of tears you shed when staring at something too brilliant to behold for more than brief moments (But the blurring of my eyes allowed me time to reflect upon the revelations and savor their sweetness, so that worked out fine).
This is a book that looks unflinchingly at who we are as a species, the good and the bad, the hopes and the fears. Caitlin recognizes, more clearly than anyone else seems to recognize, the situation as it now stands, and appeals to our better angels to rise above the miasma in which we find ourselves.
Woke speaks to the entirety of a human being, speaks to the child within us as well as the more mature aspects of who we are. Perhaps if you have not allowed yourself to continue to learn and grow as you’ve aged, this might not appeal to you. Or perhaps those who have completely lost that wonder we are capable of as children might not appreciate the affinity for awe and miracles this book contains, despite the fact Caitlin sees the darkness and danger quite clearly. Woke is the work of a human being in touch with the myriad aspects of what it means to be human. It is sophisticated, mature, playful, profound.
I imagine a great round table in Heaven where the writers and thinkers of the ages gather round to discuss all the issues that absorbed them while on Earth. Jack London calls out for another drink and Oscar Wilde seconds the notion, wondering when that brew bottled by Socrates millennia ago and still sitting on the shelf is going to finally be opened. Chuang Tzu sits quietly, while Victor Hugo, newly arrived from purgatory, is sufficiently chastised so that he feels it is not his place to say anything. But Plato reminds him that it is reserved for the time that Caitlin arrives to join the discussion. Oscar’s eyes lose their familiar glint of irreverence and expose the soul behind the wit for a moment. Indeed, there is a bit of a hush about the table as they realize what is at stake for the humanity for which so many of them have struggled and sacrificed for. Although they long for the day when Caitlin can claim her seat among them, they realize the import of her work in this crucial moment of human history. And then Erasmus cracks open a copy of Woke and begins to read to the others. It is part of a far larger book written by countless authors who felt the need to observe and chronicle the human story. And everyone at the table knows they can turn to the last page at any time they want to see how the story ends. But they are storytellers, and they appreciate the beauty of a story well-told. They appreciate such notions as pacing and story arc, and they are acutely aware that they have arrived at a crucial part of the story.
They are the woke, and they are eagerly anticipating that the rest of humanity finally joins them in this chapter.