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"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." --The New York Times Book Review 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 which faced near the end of the twentieth-century. 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 which is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent. Throughout the book Berry asks, What is appropriate? What is worth conserving from our past and preserving in our present? What is it to be human and truly connected to others? What does it mean to be free?
In this new collection of essays, 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 which face us as we near the end of the twentieth century. Berry begins the title essay with the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings as an example of a “process that has been well established and well respected for at least two hundred years—the process . . . of community disintegration.” Community, a “locally understood interdependence of local people, local culture, local economy, and local nature,” bound by trust and affection, is “being destroyed by the desires and ambitions of both private and public life which for want of the intervention of community interests, are also destroying one another.” He then moves on to elucidate connections between sexual brutality and economic brutality, and the role of art and free speech. Berry 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 which is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent. Throughout the book Berry asks, What is appropriate? What is worth conserving from our past and preserving in our present? What is it to be human and truly connected to others? What does it mean to be free?
"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." —The New York Times Book Review 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 which faced near the end of the twentieth-century. 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 which is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent. Throughout the book Berry asks, What is appropriate? What is worth conserving from our past and preserving in our present? What is it to be human and truly connected to others? What does it mean to be free?
There are those in America today who seem to feel we must audition for our citizenship, with ''Patriot'' offered as the badge for those found narrowly worthy. Let this book stand as Wendell Berry's application, for he is one of those faithful, devoted critics envisioned by the Founding Fathers to be the life's blood and very future of the nation they imagined. Adams, Jefferson, and Madison would have found great clarity in his prose and great hope in his vision. And today's readers will be moved and encouraged by his anger and his refusal to surrender in the face of desperate odds. Books get written for all sorts of reasons, and this book was written out of necessity. Citizenship Papers, a collection of 19 essays, is a ringing call of alarm to a nation standing on the brink of global catastrophe.
?If we fail to do what is required and if we do what is forbidden, we exclude ourselves from the mercy of Nature; we destroy our place, or we are exiled from it.” The essays of Wendell Berry are an extended conversation about the life he values; sustainable agriculture, a connection to place, the miracle of life, and the interconnectedness of all things. The existence of this life is dependent on our devotion to preserving it, an emotional proximity to the land that is slipping away from us. In six elegant, linked literary essays, Berry considers the degeneration of language that is manifest throughout our culture, from poetry to politics, from conversation to advertising, and he shows how the ever-widening cleft between the words and their referents mirrors the increasing isolation of individuals and their communities from the land. With his confident and unwavering prose, Berry assesses how the gap between modern communities and nature grew so large, how we may bridge it, and the role language plays in facilitating both parts. Standing by Words joins our new series, which celebrates the collected essays of Wendell Berry in beautiful, uniform editions.
The continuing war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the political sniping engendered by the Supreme Court nominations—contemporary American society is characterized by divisive anger, profound loss, and danger. Wendell Berry, one of the country's foremost cultural critics, responds with hope and intelligence in a series of essays that tackle the major questions of the day. Whose freedom are we considering when we speak of the “free market” or “free enterprise”? What is really involved in our national security? What is the price of ownership without affection? Berry answers in prose that shuns abstraction for clarity, coherence, and passion, giving us essays that may be the finest of his long career.
This book-length essay is a rigorously honest, deeply felt exploration of the "hidden wound" of racism and its damaging effect on American whites. Available for the first time in paperback.

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