by Wendell Berry
In this collection of essays, first published in 1993, Wendell Berry continues his work as one of America's most necessary social commentators. With wisdom and clear, ringing prose, he tackles head–on some of the most difficult problems confronting us near the end of the twentieth century—problems we still face today.
Berry elucidates connections between sexual brutality and economic brutality, and the role of art and free speech. He forcefully addresses America's unabashed pursuit of self–liberation, which he says is "still the strongest force now operating in our society." As individuals turn away from their community, they conform to a "rootless and placeless monoculture of commercial expectations and products," buying into the very economic system that is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent.
"Read [him] with pencil in hand, make notes and hope that somehow our country and the world will soon come to see the truth that is told here."
—Charles E. Little, The New York Times Book Review
"Berry's words are those of a steward. He is trying to preserve that which is intimate, honest, and good. He is an intense, angry, but always caring critic of American culture. His aim is to instill a sense of mission that would cause his readers to begin to build—or rebuild—their local communities."
"Wendell Berry is among our wisest and most clearsighted thinkers; one can hardly speak of him without the word 'prophetic' coming to mind. Writing with grace and sanity from his Kentucky farmstead, his words contain enough common sense to turn absurdity on its head, and because the truth is both simpler and more subtle than any ideology, to challenge the assumptions of every one of our shallow ideological camps."
—Caelum Et Terra
"Berry once again carves out a unique position in American social debate; not liberal (he hates big government), not libertarian (he would balance individual rights along with those of the commonwealth), but always sharp–tongued and aglow with common sense."
About the Author
Wendell Berry is the author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For over forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.