Synopses & Reviews
In the twenty-four essays of this collection, Well Berry stresses the carefully modulated harmonics of indivisibility in culture and agriculture, the interdepence, the wholeness, the oneness, of man, animals, the land, the weather, and the family. To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the problems addressed there are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand, Mr. Berry writes of his journeys to the highlands of Peru, the deserts of southern Arizona, and the Amish country to study traditional agricultural practices. He writes of homesteading, tools and their uses, horses and tractors, family work, land reclamation, diversified land use.In the title essay Mr. Berry draws parallels between the Christian notion of stewardship and the Buddhist doctrine of "right livelihood." He develops the compelling argument that the "gift" of good land has strings attached: the recipient has it only as long as he practices responsible stewardship.
About the Author
Well Berry has worked a farm in Henry County, Kentucky, for some two decades. He is a past fellow of both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and he received an award for his writing from the National Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters in 1971. He has emerged as an eloquent spokesman for conservation, common sense, and sustainable agriculture, topics he has pursued in The Unsettling of America and in Meeting the Expectations of the Land (coedited with Wes Jackson and Bruce Colman). His poetry includes A Part, The Wheel
and Collected Poems: 1957-1982
. His novels have included Nathan Coulter and A Place on Earth, and among his other collections of essays are Recollected Essays: 1965-1980 and Standing by Words. He is a writer with a rare combination of intelligence, eloquence, and integrity; as Wallace Stegner has written, "It is hard to say whether I like this writer better as a poet, an essayist, or a novelist. He is all three, at a high level."
Table of Contents
An agricultural journey in Peru -- Three ways of farming in the Southwest -- The native grasses and what they mean -- The International Hill Land Symposium -- Sanitation and the small farm -- Horse-drawn tools and the doctrine of labor saving -- Agricultural solutions for agricultural problems -- Energy in agriculture -- Solving for pattern -- The economics of subsistence -- Family work -- The reactor and the garden -- A good scythe -- Looking ahead -- Home of the free -- Going back, or ahead, to horses -- A few words for motherhood -- A rescued farm -- An excellent homestead -- Elmer Lapp's place -- A talent for necessity -- New roots for agricultural research -- Seven Amish farms -- The gift of good land.