"Two worlds. The empire and the conquered. And you and I, here within the empire, after centuries and generations of the certainty of our maps: it is our time to reside at the border between worlds that do not mesh." So writes psychologist, poet, and social activist Chellis Glendinning in this unusual blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and Earth advocacy. The narrative is framed around the author's conversations with Snowflake Martinez, a Chicano cowboy who is trying to reclaim his ancestral tribal lands in New Mexico. In his story lies the nightmare of all colonized and conquered people who have been violated by corporate imperialism that seeks to control lands, people, and resources. Glendinning, whose great-grandparents were very rich, understands what it means to be violated. She presents the terrifying account of twelve years of rape and violence by her father, a Harvard-educated doctor. She sees his thirst for power and control over her as another insidious form of imperialism.

Today's evil empire is the global economy, which tarnishes everything. Or as Glendinning puts it: "The raw materials of our lives mean one thing as we obtain them glistening at the mall, via the Internet, in mail-order catalogs, as gifts from friends. They mean something else in the naked sober world of their origin and being. They are literally made of the oppression, pain, grief, sacrifice imposed by the global economy." Glendinning challenges us to make our own maps — charting the decent and humane inner worlds fashioned by love and respect for community, place, and the marvels of nature.