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The Way of Ignorance

And Other Essays

List Price: $15.95

May 17, 2006 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 192 Pages | ISBN 9781593761196
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“Read [Berry] 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.” —New York Times Book Review

The continuing war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the political sniping engendered by the Supreme Court nominations, Terry Schiavo—contemporary American society is characterized by divisive anger, profound loss, and danger. Wendell Berry, one of the country’s foremost cultural critics, addresses the menace, responding 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.

WENDELL BERRY is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and essay. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, and the John Hay Award of the Orion Society.


“Everything in the book illumines.” —Booklist

“As a poet, he has stood apart from the categories and controversies of the literary world, writing in language neither modern nor postmodern, making poems that have the straightforward elegance of the Amish furniture in his farmhouse. And in recent decades, he has produced a body of political thought, in a series of essays and speeches, that is so Jeffersonian it seems almost un-American in today’s world.” —Smithsonian

“Wherever we live, however we do so, we desperately need a prophet of responsibility; and although the days of the prophets seem past to many of us, Berry may be the closest to one we have. But, fortunately, he is also a poet of responsibility. He makes one believe that the good life may not only be harder than what we’re used to but sweeter as well.” —Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books

“The astonishing thing about these pieces is not their lucidity and grace, not their plain profundity, but the variety of his subjects, the dimensions of his knowledge, experience, interest, passion… Provocative, pellucid prose from a master.” —Kirkus

“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.” —New York Times Book Review

“Here is a human being speaking with calm and sanity out of the wilderness. We would do well to hear him.” —Washington Post Book World

“Berry is a philosopher, poet, novelist and an essayist in the tradition of Emerson and Thoreau… like Thoreau, he marches to a different drummer, a drummer we would do well to be aware of, if not to march to.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“The rarest (and highest) of literary classes consists of that small group of authors who are absolutely inimitable… One of the half-dozen living American authors who belong in this class
is Wendell Berry.” —Los Angeles Times

“Berry continues to offer a compelling vision of the good and the true life.” —Boston Globe

“With the weighty gravitas of an elder statesman and the eloquence of a poet, Berry writes with calm authority, clearheaded insight and a profound love of justice and democracy.” —Bellingham Weekly

“Whether he is addressing local sheep farmers or a universal audience, Berry’s words are always a joy to hear and to read.” —Resurgence Magazine

“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.” —Wallace Stegner, author of The Spectator Bird

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