Conservatism, Conservationism, and Community
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—and profoundly conservative—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 letter to Berry by famed novelist Wallace Stegner.
Together, these authors situate 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.
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Wendell Berry is a wise, funny, rooted, radical, poetic, and practical sage whose life and work stand as a humane and joyful alternative to the arrogance, bellicosity, and hypermobility in modern America. The gems in this collection of essays do Mr. Berry justice—and they illume the path to a peaceful, humbler, better country.
We stand much in the debt of Mitchell and Schlueter for shepherding into existence this thoughtful collection of essays, which display the remarkable breadth and depth that establish Berry as one of American history’s truly great, and most realistic, cultural critics.
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