Sundeen's curiosity and affection for his subjects are infectious as he shares captivating stories from those who have decided to abandon all materialism and consumerism for the good of all. While I'm not ready to shed all of my modern creature comforts, I'm more than inspired to purge the luxuries and live more consciously. Recommended By Kate L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The radical search for the simple life in today’s America.
On a frigid April night, a classically trained opera singer, five months pregnant, and her husband, a former marine biologist, disembark an Amtrak train in La Plata, Missouri, assemble two bikes, and pedal off into the night, bound for a homestead they’ve purchased, sight unseen. Meanwhile, a horticulturist, heir to the Great Migration that brought masses of African Americans to Detroit, and her husband, a product of the white flight from it, have turned to urban farming to revitalize the blighted city they both love. And near Missoula, Montana, a couple who have been at the forefront of organic farming for decades navigate what it means to live and raise a family ethically.
A work of immersive journalism steeped in a distinctively American social history and sparked by a personal quest, The Unsettlers traces the search for the simple life through the stories of these new pioneers and what inspired each of them to look for — or create — a better existence. Captivating and clear-eyed, it dares us to imagine what a sustainable, ethical, authentic future might actually look like.
"Homesteading loses its reality TV show sheen in the hands of Sundeen…From dirt roads in rural Missouri to Detroit’s foreclosed streets, Sundeen reports how people throughout the United States have chosen to live simple but never simply…these pages will leave any reader with a penchant for sustainability to question their own carbon footprint." Library Journal
"Engaging, honest, and deeply personal…[Sundeen’s] superb reporting produces revealing portraits of modern hippies…inspiring… Provocative reading for anyone who has ever yearned for a life of radical simplicity." Kirkus Reviews
"You say you want a revolution? These stories of "unsettlers" striving to lead more simple lives are an inspiration as well as a dose of reality on how difficult that can be. This is an important book." Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia
"From a crop of orphaned garlic plants in Detroit to a tipi birth in Montana, Mark Sundeen’s The Unsettlers is rigorously reported and utterly enthralling. With candor, wit, and live-voltage curiosity, Sundeen profiles pioneers who have developed better ways to live in our overdeveloped world. The Unsettlers isn’t in the business of guilt or shame mongering, but it will certainly — if you have a pulse and a laptop, or even an electrical socket — make you question how you live in the world as well." Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams
About the Author
Mark Sundeen‘s work has appeared in The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Believer. He is the author of Car Camping and The Making of Toro, and co-author of the New York Times bestselling North by Northwestern. He lives in Colorado.