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Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community

Eight Essays
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Counterpoint
 | 
December, 2018
ISBN:
9781640091405
In stock now: 
2
$25.50 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

In collection of essays first published in 1993, Kentucky poet, horse-farmer and teacher Wendell Berry continues his work as one of our most necessary social commentators.

The title essays begins with the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings as an example of a “process that has been well established and well respected for at least two hundred years—the process... of community disintegration.” Community, a “locally understood interdependence of local people, local culture, local economy, and local nature,” bound by trust and affection, is “being destroyed by the desires and ambitions of both private and public life, which for want of the intervention of community interests, are also destroying one another.”

He then moves on to elucidate connections between sexual brutality and economic brutality, and the role of art and free speech. Berry forcefully addresses North America’s unabashed pursuit of self-liberation, which he says is “still the strongest force now operating in our society.” As individuals turn away from their community, they conform to a “rootless and placeless monoculture of commercial expectations and products,” buying into the very economic system which is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent.

Throughout the book Berry asks, What is appropriate? What is worth conserving from our past and preserving in our present? What is it to be human and truly connected to others? What does it mean to be free?

The health of a community depends absolutely on trust. A community knows itself and knows its place in a way that is impossible for a public (a nation, say, or a state). A community does not come together by a covenant, by a conscientious granting of trust. It exists by proximity, by neighborhood; it knows face to face, and it trusts as it knows. It learns, in the course of time and experience, what and who can be trusted. . . .
 

One of the essential trusts of community life is that which holds marriages and  families together. Another trust is that neighbors will help one another. Another is that privacy will be respected, especially the privacy of personal feeling and the privacy of relationships. All these trusts are absolutely essential, and all are somewhat fragile.

“Read it 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

Publisher’s Description: 

"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." The New York Times Book Review

In this collection of essays, first published in 1993, Wendell Berry continues his work as one of America's most necessary social commentators. With wisdom and clear, ringing prose, he tackles head-on some of the most difficult problems confronting us near the end of the twentieth centuryproblems we still face today.

Berry elucidates connections between sexual brutality and economic brutality, and the role of art and free speech. He forcefully addresses America's unabashed pursuit of self-liberation, which he says is "still the strongest force now operating in our society." As individuals turn away from their community, they conform to a "rootless and placeless monoculture of commercial expectations and products," buying into the very economic system that is destroying the earth, our communities, and all they represent.

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