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Publishers WeeklyFor any American who's ever thought about playing a vinyl record, making some jam, or ordering a pair of custom-made boots, this semi-encyclopedia to the new age of "essential pragmatism" and craftsmanship is a delight. Philosophy of the movement is scattered loosely through the book, along with a reasonable set of ideas as to what started us on this self-sufficient path, but the book is mostly a collection of Reighley's finds. He visits urban dwellers who keep chickens in their backyards, cooks who love to can, and folks who make their own bitters. He pokes into classic merchants (the Pendleton Company and Hatch Show Print, for example) and spends much of the book on significant American music. The writing is oddly composed according to gender (women get crafts, canning, and burlesque; men get music, custom-made clothing, and shaving), and Reighley relies on the same core group of interviewees again and again, whereas digging a little deeper for new voices would have been a treat. But, overall, the book is comprehensive, well-written, and enjoyable. It's sure to find a home next to the record player or shaving strap in many a new pioneer home. Illustrations.
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