By Alison Webster.
SCM Press
ISBN 0 334 02889 2

Well-being is as elusive as happiness. You know when you’ve had
it, but it’s difficult to recapture. In this book Alison Webster,
social responsibility officer for the Anglican diocese of
Worcester, explores not only well-being, but also concepts of
wellness, sickness, healing and miracles.

Drawing widely from sociology, modern theology and social care,
Webster also uses her own experiences and those of friends or
people she has known well. She looks at the high-achieving lives so
many people lead in the West and contrasts this with feelings of
happiness. Separate chapters take, as their titles, “Well”, “Sick”,
“Healing” and “Miracles”, and she teases their meaning out from a
survey of contemporary psychology, sociology and theology.

The style is very personal, demands an affinity with many of the
religious concepts that are important to the author and has a New
Age feel to some of the discussions about well-being itself. The
book also takes most of its examples from contemporary literature
and could sometimes have benefited from a wider historical
perspective. It will appeal to those who like to range across
ideas, particularly those who see ways forward for welfare beyond
the resources of 21st century medicine and conventional concepts of

Chris Hanvey is UK director of operations,


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