The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays by Wendell Berry | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays
  • Alternative view 1 of The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays
  • Alternative view 2 of The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays

The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays

5.0 1
by Wendell Berry
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The continuing war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the political sniping engendered by the Supreme Court nominations, Terry Schiavo — contemporary American society is characterized by divisive anger, profound loss, and danger. Wendell Berry, one of the country's foremost cultural critics, addresses the menace, responding with hope and intelligence in a series of

Overview

The continuing war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the political sniping engendered by the Supreme Court nominations, Terry Schiavo — contemporary American society is characterized by divisive anger, profound loss, and danger. Wendell Berry, one of the country's foremost cultural critics, addresses the menace, responding with hope and intelligence in a series of essays that tackle the major questions of the day. Whose freedom are we considering when we speak of the “free market” or “free enterprise?” What is really involved in our National Security? What is the price of ownership without affection? Berry answers in prose that shuns abstraction for clarity, coherence, and passion, giving us essays that may be the finest of his long career.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Called "the prophet of rural America" by the New York Times, Berry has spent the last 40 of his 71 years simultaneously farming a hillside in Kentucky and issuing a stream of poems, novels and essays (including The Gift of Good Land and The Long-Legged House) that are probably the most sustained contemporary articulation of America's agrarian, Jeffersonian ideal. If the tone of the book's mostly brief 19 essays is sometimes angry and despairing ("We are destroying our country," begins one essay), one can hardly blame Berry. The mere title of one of the essays, "Some Notes for the Kerry Campaign, If Wanted," brings the reader up short-memories of the last presidential campaign are receding so quickly into the past that Berry's amorphous call for a return to "our traditional principles of politics and religion" is both quixotic and sad, a remnant from a vanished era. Many of the essays are taken from talks given to such organizations as the Crop Science Society of America and the Land Institute, and an air of preaching to the converted hangs over the book. The collection is not without its qualities, chief among them Berry's always well-honed prose, but if the agenda he proposes is to ever reclaim its rightful place in the body politic, it will have to be reframed in much more forceful and contemporary terms. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Many of the ideas we prize are dangerous and self-destructive; many of the values we profess to cherish we do not practice. Prolific septuagenarian poet, novelist and essayist Berry (Citizenship Papers, 2003, etc.) returns with another collection of essays, most published (or delivered as speeches) in 2004. The astonishing thing about these pieces is not their lucidity and grace, not their plain profundity, but the variety of his subjects, the dimensions of his knowledge, experience, interest, passion. This is not to say that there are no common denominators. Respect for the land, for one another, for God-these appear on virtually every page in some form-as well as essays that focus on politics. Berry does not like what the Republicans are doing, but he chides Democrats for arrogance (behaving as if religious folks are ignorant and stupid), for allowing "values" issues like gay marriage to dominate the discussion, for caring more about winning than about crafting and promulgating a sensible agenda. There are other essays that focus on agriculture and its enemies: arrogance and ignorance and agribusiness. We believe, says Berry, that we can defeat Nature, that there are no deleterious consequences when we lift the lid of a mountain to extract what's inside, that the social consequences of agribusiness (lost farms, decimated towns) are inconsequential. There are essays that focus on spirituality, perhaps none better than "The Burden of the Gospels." Berry asks there: Would we have followed Jesus had we heard him during his lifetime? Are we strong enough to follow his most difficult teachings? There are times when Berry comes across as a bit sanguine, even romantic, about our ancestors'husbandry of their resources (consult, for comparison, Jared Diamond's Collapse), but he is fiercely loyal to his region, to his agrarian roots. "We need to quit thinking of rural America as a colony," he declares. Berry appends two forgettable pieces by others. Provocative, pellucid prose from a master.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593761196
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
08/28/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >