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The Gift of Good Land

Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural

List Price: $15.95

May 1, 2009 | Paperback | 5.1 x 8, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781582434841

"These books [Recollected Essays and The Gift of Good Land] are the kind that you spend months with, hate to give up, and plan to return to soon and often." —Washington Post Book World

The essays in The Gift of Good Land are as true today as when they were first published in 1981; the problems addressed here are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand. One of the insistent themes of this book is the interdependence, the wholeness, the oneness of people, the land, weather, animals, and family. To touch one is to tamper with them all. We live in one functioning organism whose separate parts are artificially isolated by our culture.

The twenty-four essays in this collection cover a variety of subjects, from the author’s journeys to the Peruvian Andes, to the desert of southern Arizona, and to Amish country to study the evolution of ancient native agricultural practices. In “Solving for Pattern,” Mr. Berry lists fourteen critical standards for solving agricultural problems that can just as easily be used as standards for solving personal and family problems. In the title essay, the author examines our Judeo-Christian heritage to discover parallels with the Buddhist doctrine of “right livelihood” or “right occupation.” He develops the compelling argument that the “gift” of good land has strings attached. We have it only on loan and only for as long as we practice good stewardship.

WENDELL BERRY has been honored with the T.S. Eliot Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, and the John Hay Award of the Orion Society. Author of more than forty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, he has farmed a hillside in his native Henry County, Kentucky, together with his wife, for more than forty years.

Praise

“These books [Recollected Essays and The Gift of Good Land] are the kind that you spend months with, hate to give up, and plan to return to soon and often. There is much pure pleasure in them, both in the spare and crafted eloquence of their prose, and in the breadth and depth of their content. They’re reference works of the body and soul…” —Washington Post Book World

“These pieces are angry, urgent, courageous, joyous and reaffirming.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

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