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Hunting for Hope: A Father's Journey

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Hunting for Hope begins with a hiking trip in the Rockies meant to get at the root of the strife between the author and his teenage son. On their first day in the mountains, Jesse lashes out: "You look at any car, and all you think is pollution, traffic, roadside crap. You say fast food's poisoning our bodies and TV's poisoning our minds....You make me feel the planet's dying, and people are to blame, and nothing can be done about it. There's no room for hope. Maybe you can get along without hope, but I can't." ...
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Overview

Hunting for Hope begins with a hiking trip in the Rockies meant to get at the root of the strife between the author and his teenage son. On their first day in the mountains, Jesse lashes out: "You look at any car, and all you think is pollution, traffic, roadside crap. You say fast food's poisoning our bodies and TV's poisoning our minds....You make me feel the planet's dying, and people are to blame, and nothing can be done about it. There's no room for hope. Maybe you can get along without hope, but I can't." This confrontation - and the realization that Sanders's despair has darkened his son's world - is what sets him on the deeply felt father's journey that is at the heart of Hunting for Hope. He sets out to accumulate, in a narrative threaded with the moving remainder of the father-son trip, his own reasons for facing the future with hope.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In these wise and luminous essays, Sanders takes on big themes: living a centered life, our relation to animals and to nature, the survival of human values in our greed-driven commercial culture. The leitmotif is his not-quite-extinguished hope for a livable, sane world offering people a decent future--a hope he nurtures despite the ecological devastation, family breakdown and moral decay he sees. Notable among these 15 adventurous essays are "Skill," a meditation on the life-enhancing use or the misuse of one's innate talents; "The Way of Things," an attempt to reconcile modern cosmology with ancient beliefs in a divine creator; "Body Bright," a Blakean call for cleansing the doors of perception, reconnecting with the planet and our fellow creatures; and "Fidelity," which explores marriage as an arena for the fulfillment of desire. The thread through this labyrinth of ideas is Sanders's account of backpacking in the Colorado Rockies with his son whose optimism tempers the fatherly pessimism. Although these beautifully written pieces are reminiscent of Wendell Berry's essays in their economy, grace and moral passion, Sanders projects his own distinctive voice, at once recognizably Midwestern (he's from Indiana by way of Ohio) and universal. Editor, Deanne Urmy; agent, John Wright. (Sept.)
Larry Smith
The narrative story he tells is of personal relationships as he struggles to win for his grown children a reason for hope and a faith in the future....In these personal yet universal writings Sanders answers our private doubts by confirming our collective human spirit.
— Parabola
Kirkus Reviews
A beautifully written tribute to natural beauty, addressed by a tree-hugging hippie dad to his Generation X son. The last time we followed a father and son traveling this profoundly was in Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. While Pirsig called on technology in his search for the sublime, Sanders remains very much the steadfast Romantic anti-technologist (evoking shades of Thoreau and Emerson). This philosophical book's occasion involves his very '90s son Jason, who, at 17, is weary of hearing his father criticize every aspect of our current, coarse lack of interest in the environment. After all, it is hard to keep up with such a sensitive and erudite father, and so Jason ends up walking ahead of his dad on their excursion to the Rocky Mountains. When he accuses the elder Sanders of darkening their world unduly with bleak complaints, the author realizes that his son is partly right to carp about all of Sandersþs carping. He then tries to make up for it, panning persuasively for hope in nature. He peppers his prose with quotes from a wide range of writers, especially the great naturalists and Romantics; cites examples of ecosystems or species that are now actually rebounding; and wins from Jason a temporary truce. Sanders truly communes with the natural world, reveling in its simplicity and wild charms. Still, despite the book's premise as a response to the Jasons of this world, Sanders fails to reckon seriously with his boy, just as he grows maudlin about his daughter's very conventional wedding. For Sanders, as for Keats, beauty is truth. But his amoral vision makes him a more cogent artist than teacherþexcept for die-hard Romantic readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807063248
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 8/1/1998
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Where the Search Begins 1
2 Mountain Music I 4
3 Leaping Up in Expectation 18
4 Wildness 28
5 Body Bright 42
6 Mountain Music II 58
7 Family 63
8 Fidelity 79
9 Skill 96
10 Mountain Music III 113
11 Simplicity 123
12 Beauty 139
13 The Way of Things 154
14 Mountain Music IV 170
15 Living in Hope 185
Notes 192
Words of Thanks 199
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