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Think Little

Essays

List Price: $10.00

ON SALE: November 5, 2019 | Trade Paperback Original | 4.0 x 6.0, 128 pages  | ISBN 9781640091733
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“A better possibility is that the movement to preserve the environment will be seen to be, as I think it has to be, not a digression from the civil rights and peace movements, but the logical culmination of those movements. For I believe that the separation of these three problems is artificial. They have the same cause, and that is the mentality of greed and exploitation. The mentality that exploits and destroys the natural environment is the same that abuses racial and economic minorities.”

—From “Think Little”

First published in A Continuous Harmony in 1972, “Think Little” is cultural critic and agrarian Wendell Berry at his best: prescient about the dire environmental consequences of our mentality of greed and exploitation, yet hopeful that we will recognize war and oppression and pollution not as separate issues, but aspects of the same. For the first in our Counterpoints series, we have gathered it together with one of Berry’s most popular and personal essays, “A Native Hill.” This gentle essay of recollection is told alongside a poetic lesson in geography, as he explains at length and in detail, that “what [he] stands for is what he stands on.” Many of us can identify with him as he suggests, “Sometimes I can no longer think in the house or in the garden or in cleared fields. They bear too much resemblance to our failed human history—failed, because it has led to this human present that is such a bitterness and a trial. And so I go to the woods.”

About Wendell Berry

WENDELL BERRY is an essayist, novelist, and poet. In 2010, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, and in 2016, he was the recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle. Berry lives with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Henry County, Kentucky.

Praise

Praise for Wendell Berry

“America’s greatest philosopher on sustainable life and living.” —John Warner, Chicago Tribune

“In writing about the fate of the natural world, Berry is a prophet of the domestic.”—Dean Kuipers, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Berry’s writings are timelier than ever.” —Laura Garmeson, Financial Times

Praise for A Continuous Harmony 

“This book is broad and leisurely and important. Something like the river itself on which Wendell Berry lives. It is full of wide and flowing thoughts and one thing leads to another in the manner that nature intended—or used to. The language ranges from the grave and beautiful to the sharp and specific, depending on the need to express the vast variety of subjects he presents.” —The Nation

Praise for The World-Ending Fire

New & Noteworthy (The New York Times Book Review)
A Best Book of the Year (Kirkus Reviews)
One of the Best Books of the Year—So Far (Garden & Gun)

“Berry reminds us that to take small solutions off the table is also a kind of giving up. Some conservationists believe that because ecological problems are structural, there is no point in growing and cooking your own food, in setting down roots in a community, in being kind to your neighbors . . . You may as well drive as much as you want, waste paper towels, and buy meat from corporations that keep pigs in excrement-coated cages. Berry reminds us that to live this way is to forfeit our souls. It is important—no matter what is going on at a macro level—to be kind to your family, your neighbors and the land.” —Colette Shade, The New Republic

“America’s greatest philosopher on sustainable life and living.” —John Warner, Chicago Tribune

“These works are mostly about small-town America, and mostly set on Berry’s farm at Lane’s Landing, once a riverboat stop on the Kentucky River near Port Royal, Kentucky. But not one word stoops to smug nostalgia. He is instead trying to prove that science and economics happen in a place: he draws endlessly and non-repetitively on the deep well of the lived truth of farm life, which delivers up sweet, clear lines of poetry and local lore and a kind of immediate authenticity . . . In writing about the fate of the natural world, Berry is a prophet of the domestic. These essays are about how to make a household here on Earth. That project is made of the ‘unrelentingly practical’ things that can be done and that give us hope. Feel the dirt under your feet. You have the power.” —Dean Kuipers, Los Angeles Review of Books

“It’s no great observation to note that we live in an incredibly polarized time, but, curiously, Berry doesn’t fit neatly into the conservative or liberal camp. There is just enough in his writing to both satisfy and provoke those of all ideological allegiances. Thanks to the Library of America’s efforts to reissue his writings beginning with the first half of his Port William novels and stories as well as his long-time publisher Counterpoint releasing The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry, a collection of his non-fiction edited by the aforementioned Kingsnorth, it’s never been easier to find a place to start . . . In these times we could all use his patient instruction.” —Jonathan Foiles LCSW, Psychology Today

The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry is a selection of 31 essays spanning five decades of his works, and it could not have come at a better time as our nation thrashes about in search of a voice of reason. Who better than Berry to explain to us ‘who we are, where we are, and what we must do to live’? . . . [It] ought to be required reading in every classroom . . . Wendell Berry is our National Guardian Angel!” —Richard Horan, The Christian Science Monitor

“Wendell Berry is the poet laureate of America’s farmland. . . . his writing has plenty of relevance: his scathing views on the chasm between what we need and what we consume are persuasive, as is his observation that change is often mistaken for progress.” —DJ Taylor, The Guardian

“Whether you’re new to the words of Wendell Berry or a longtime fan of this Kentucky poet, farmer, and land-protector, you’ll want to add this tome of unforgettable, earth-moving Southern outdoors writing to the shelf.” —CJ Lotz, Garden & Gun

“[Berry] speaks out powerfully and poignantly on behalf of family farmers, their land, and their small towns. His spiritual vision of life is informed by a deep love of nature, a profound regard for the details of place, a respect for small-scale economies, and an advocacy of wise stewardship of the earth. Paul Kingsnorth chose the 31 essays for this handsome collection as ample evidence of Berry’s inspiring defense of character qualities like rugged individualism, diligence, loyalty, and reverence for nature.” —Frederic Brussat and Patricia Campbell Carlson, Spirituality & Practice

“Compelling, luminous … our modern-day Thoreau. He is unlike anybody else writing today. He writes at least as well as George Orwell and has an urgent message for modern industrial capitalism … nobody can risk ignoring him.” —Andrew Marr, New Statesman

“A fascinating tribute to the life of the land … Berry’s writings are timelier than ever.” —Laura Garmeson, Financial Times

“A pleasing selection of essays from the lifelong farmer and award-winning writer . . . A great place to start for those who are not familiar with Berry’s work; for those who are, it will be a nostalgic stroll down a rural, wooded Memory Lane. In this day and age, his writings are must-reads.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Wendell Berry’s admirers—a loyal band several generations deep—may blink at the subtitle of this selection of his essays. ‘Essential? What’s not essential?’ To read or reread these pieces is, however, to warmly affirm editor Kingsnorth. Berry is the philosopher and the prophet of agriculture, community, stability, and friendship, and there is nothing sentimental or utopian anywhere in his advocacy of those things.” —Ray Olson, Booklist (starred review)

“Berry’s graceful essays have long been models of eloquence, insight, and conviction . . . Newcomers will find the works exceptionally timely, and the book as a whole a thoughtful introduction to Berry’s writing.” —Publishers Weekly 

“This collection sees the American published on these islands for the first time, and now he has finally stepped ashore, it’s worth getting to know him … Berry overturns plenty of thoughtful topsoil on environmental issues with a precise pen, and clears any thicket of cosy consensus with a clear eye and cutting hand.” —NJ McGarrigle, Irish Times

“[T]he welcome voice of a gentle radical . . . Wendell Berry’s writings, for half a century, have examined the gulf between what we’re capable of doing and what we ought to do. That gulf keeps getting bigger, and still the message goes unheeded.” —Matt Sturrock, The Times Literary Supplement

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