In this remarkable book, Malidoma Some explores the essential role ritual plays in maintaining community and examines the structure common to all ritual. By telling stories of the rituals of his native West African Dagara culture, and of his own experiences in the tribal community, he makes a convincing case that the lack of ritual in the Western world is a fundamental reason that the fabric of society is unravelling. "The hurt that a person feels in the midst of this modern culture should be taken as a language spoken by the body," writes Some. "Our soul communicates things to us that the body translates as need, or want, or absence. So we enter into ritual in order to respond to the call of the soul." The name Malidoma means "he who is to be friends with the stranger/enemy," and Some, who has doctorates from the Sorbonne and Brandeis, abandoned his teaching career at Brandeis at the instruction of village elders to devote himself completely to speaking and, with his wife Sobonfu, conducting workshops on ritual.