Book Review: The Story of B, by Daniel Quinn

(First, read Ishmael and My Ishmael.)

This book is the best of the trilogy, but I think it’s better to read the other two first (even though this one is supposed to be in the middle).

Jared is a Laurentian priest. He has a small life where everything makes sense, you know? He’s average in every single way, and he does everything the higher upper priests tell him to do.

Then they tell him to go spy on the Antichrist in Europe. Being exceptionally dense and average, Jared gets on a plane and starts attending and dutifully transcribing the lectures of the B, the alleged Antichrist. B was another student of Ishmael’s, and his lectures essentially build on the information in Ishmael and My Ishmael. In this book, though, the lectures are printed in the back, so you can go through and read the story, which of course reflects the information, without that slight textbook feeling.

Right away Jared is shocked and taken in. His religion, his beliefs, everything he’s built his life and self concept on, are being deconstructed. Soon he is a part of B’s inner circle. B, seeing the writing on the wall way before Jared has an inkling of it, puts his lectures on pause and tutors Jared personally. The first part of the book focuses on the deconstruction of the ideas of western civilization (or the takers). B’s thinking has evolved a lot from Ishmael’s. Ishmael is practically a distant springing board for his ideas.

When B is mysteriously killed Jared (being exceptionally dense and average) is clueless as to the killer or motive. But B doesn’t stop when killed. She keeps teaching him, and from here we are going forward, into animism, the community of life, evolution, and tribes. As the plot thickens, the Laurentian church plays out it’s mythology in the most literal way. In the end Jared begins to understand, and he becomes B. When you are done reading, you will be B as well.

Like Ishmael, the information is probably not new to you if you’re a hardcore anarchist, but I think the way it’s presented is more than worth reading. Click on it below to get it from Amazon:


  1. So i finished my ishmael this week. Very enjoyable, more than ishmael…but similar…

    im’ going to read the story of B this summer.
    Thanks so much for sharing the wealth!!

  2. This one has always been my favorite. Ah, to be a 16 year old drop out again, sitting at home reading this book and listening to the Juno Reactor album transmissions on repeat. I highly suggest that for this book. Weird slowish trance techno that makes the creepiness of the book that much more. You got me all nostalgic.

  3. i have to read this again. i love how these books go out into the world, like a ripple on a pond.

  4. Have you read “Sophie’s World”? If you enjoyed Daniel Quinn, you may enjoy this work by Jostein Gaarder.

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