This biography of Aldo Leopold follows him from his childhood as a precocious naturalist to his profoundly influential role in the development of conservation and modern environmentalism in the United States. This edition includes a new preface by author Curt Meine and an appreciation by acclaimed Kentucky writer and farmer Wendell Berry.
As biological diversity continues to shrink at an alarming rate, the loss of plant species poses a threat seemingly less visible than the loss of animals but in many ways more critical. In this book, one of America's leading ethnobotanists warns about our loss of natural vegetation and plant diversity while providing insights into traditional Native agricultural practices in the Americas.
Gary Paul Nabhan here reveals the rich diversity of plants found in tropical forests and their contribution to modern crops, then tells how this diversity is being lost to agriculture and lumbering. He then relates "local parables" of Native American agriculture—from wild rice in the Great Lakes region to wild gourds in Florida—that convey the urgency of this situation and demonstrate the need for saving the seeds of endangered plants. Nabhan stresses the need for maintaining a wide gene pool, not only for the survival of these species but also for the preservation of genetic strains that can help scientists breed more resilient varieties of other plants.
Enduring Seeds is a book that no one concerned with our environment can afford to ignore. It clearly shows us that, as agribusiness increasingly limits the food on our table, a richer harvest can be had by preserving ancient ways.
This edition features a new foreword by Miguel Altieri, one of today's leading spokesmen for sustainable agriculture and the preservation of indigenous farming methods.
A striking contribution to the
conversation that is conservatism
Wendell Berry—poet, novelist, essayist, critic, farmer—has won the admiration of Americans from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum. His writings treat an extraordinary range of subjects, including politics, economics, ecology, farming, work, marriage, religion, and education. But as this enlightening new book shows, such diverse writings are united by a humane vision that finds its inspiration in the great moral and literary tradition of the West.
In The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry, Mark T. Mitchell and Nathan Schlueter bring together a distinguished roster of writers to critically engage Berry’s ideas. The volume features original contributions from Rod Dreher, Anthony Esolen, Allan Carlson, Richard Gamble, Jason Peters, Anne Husted Burleigh, Patrick J. Deneen, Caleb Stegall, Luke Schlueter, Matt Bonzo, Michael Stevens, D. G. Hart, Mark Shiffman, and William Edmund Fahey, as well as a classic piece by Wallace Stegner.
Together, these authors situation Berry’s ideas within the larger context of conservative thought. His vision stands for reality in all its facets and against all reductive “isms”—for intellect against intellectualism, individuality against individualism, community against communitarianism, liberty against libertarianism. Wendell Berry calls his readers to live lives of gratitude, responsibility, friendship, and love—notions that, as this important new book makes clear, should be at the heart of a thoughtful and coherent conservatism.
Gene Logsdon’s The Man Who Created Paradise is a message of hope at a time when the very concept of earth stewardship is under attack. The fable, inspired by a true story, tells how Wally Spero looked at one of the bleakest places in America—a raw and barren strip-mined landscape—and saw in it his escape from the drudgery of his factory job. He bought an old bulldozer and used the machine to carve patiently, acre by acre, a beautiful little farm out of a seemingly worthless wasteland.
Wally’s story is a charming distillation of the themes that the late, beloved Gene Logsdon returned to again and again in his many books and hundreds of articles. Environmental restoration is the task of our time. The work of healing our land begins in our own backyards and farms, in our neighborhoods and our regions. Humans can turn the earth into a veritable paradise—if they really want to.
Noted photographer Gregory Spaid retraced the trail that Logsdon traveled when he was inspired to write The Man Who Created Paradise. His photographs evoke the same yearning for wholeness, for ties to land and community, that infuses the fable’s poetic prose.
In this fresh approach to Wendell Berry's entire literary canon, Janet Goodrich argues that Berry writes primarily as an autobiographer and as such belongs to the tradition of autobiography. Goodrich maintains that whether Berry is writing poetry, fiction, or prose, he is imagining and re- imagining his own life from multiple perspectives—temporal as well as imaginative.
Through the different vocations that compose his being, Berry imaginatively shapes his experience into literary artifice. Goodrich identifies five of these vocations—the autobiographer, the poet, the farmer, the prophet, and the neighbor—and traces them in the body of Berry's work where they are consistently identifiable in the authorial voice and obvious to the imagination in fictive characterizations. Berry's writings express these "personae" as they develop, and it is this complexity of perspective that helps to make Berry vital to such a range of readers as he writes and rewrites his experience.
Goodrich's book is organized thematically into five chapters, each examining one of Berry's imaginative voices. Within each chapter, she has proceeded chronologically through Berry's work in order to trace the development in each point of view. By acknowledging the relationships between these different themes and patterns of language in the texts, Goodrich avoids reducing Berry as she helps the reader appreciate the richness with which he writes his life into art.
Whereas others have categorized Berry according to just one of his many facets, The Unforeseen Self in the Works of Wendell Berry takes account of his work in all its complexity, providing a coherent critical context and method of study. Reconciling the sometimes contradictory labels pinned on Berry, this vital study of his poems, stories, and essays from 1957 to 2000 offers an enriching and much needed new perspective for Berry's growing, diverse readership.
In contrast to nature poets of the past who tended more toward the bucolic and pastoral, many contemporary nature poets are taking up radical environmental and ecological themes. In the last few years, interesting and evocative work that examines this poetry has begun to lay the foundation for studies in ecopoetics.
Informed in general by current thinking in environmental theory and specifically by the work of cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, The West Side of Any Mountain participates in and furthers this scholarly attention by offering an overarching theoretical framework with which to approach the field.
One area that contemporary theorists have found problematic is the dualistic civilization/wilderness binary that focuses on the divisions between culture and nature, thereby increasing the modern sense of alienation. Tuan’s place-space framework offers a succinct vocabulary for describing the attitudes of ecological poets and other nature writers in a way that avoids setting up an adversarial relationship between place and space. Scott Bryson describes the Tuanian framework and employs it to offer fresh readings of the work of four major ecopoets: Wendell Berry, Joy Harjo, Mary Oliver, and W. S. Merwin.
The West Side of Any Mountain will be of great interest to scholars and teachers working in the field of contemporary nature poetry. It is recommended for nature-writing courses as well as classes dealing with 20th-century poetry, contemporary literary criticism, and environmental theory.