The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
The Art of the Commonplace gathers twenty-one essays by Wendell Berry that offer an agrarian alternative to our dominant urban culture. These essays promote a clearly defined and compelling vision important to all people dissatisfied with the stress, anxiety, disease, and destructiveness of contemporary American culture. Why is agriculture becoming culturally irrelevant, and at what cost? What are the forces of social disintegration and how might they be reversed? How might men and women live together in ways that benefit both? And, how does the corporate takeover of social institutions and economic practices contribute to the destruction of human and natural environments? Through his staunch support of local economies, his defense of farming communities, and his call for family integrity, Berry emerges as the champion of responsibilities and priorities that serve the health, vitality, and happiness of the whole community of creation.
Savor the wisdom in this book and then take action
By Patricia Kramer - May 2, 2004
For me the central theme of this book can be illustrated in this quote. " I don't think it is appreciated how much of an outdoor book the Bible is." Berry is a deeply religious man who lives his religion every moment in his deep, deep connections to the land, to all animals, to community,to the growing of food, and to the world as an organic entity.As wonderful as it is to have Poet Laureates, I wish we also had Philosopher Laureates and that Wendell Berry had that forum. His thoughts are important for the national consciousness."The other kind of freedom is the freedom to take care of ourselves and of each other. The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life."Berry advocates watching government closely, nationally but particularly locally. When it comes time to protest, he calls for facts and good arguments, not just slogans and buttons. "I would rather go before the governement with two people who have a... read more
A wonderful book
By Nathan Eanes - August 11, 2005
Sometimes, during and after reading a particular book, I feel as though I could not have read anything more appropriate at that time.
The book blows me away with its depth, its insight, or the amazing questions it raises.
The Art of the Commonplace is one of those books, and it may be the best introduction to Wendell Berry a reader can ask for. As a collection of essays over more than twenty years, it covers a wide range of social issues-such as agriculture and the environment, family and marriage, consumerism, and globalism-which is amazing given that all of them relate to agrarian topics.
Berry poses questions that most of us never consider, and I believe that is the main reason Berry is one of the most desperately needed Christian writers in today's America.
Profound insights, delivered with humility, honesty, and urgency
By Michael Tiemann - October 30, 2009
If I had to recommend one single book to inform the solutions to the problems of the 21st century, it would be The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry.
Among the many great manifestos and other eye-opening books I have read, from The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals to Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair to Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman to Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy to The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Vintage), I find all of them enriched by Berry's fundamental insights into the... read more
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