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Paperback Another Turn of the Crank Book

ISBN: 1887178287

ISBN13: 9781887178280

Another Turn of the Crank

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Book Overview

This popular collection features six essays on sustainability and stewardship from one of Americas most important cultural critics. Provocative, intimate, and thoughtful, Another Turn of the Crank reaches to the heart of Wendell Berrys concern for our nation, its communities, and their future.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Another valuable addition to Berry's range of essays

This is a valuable addition to Wendell Berry's collections of essays for two primary reasons: (1) it documents a number of his pieces first delivered in speeches, whereas most of his earlier collections that centered on farming and local culture began in print, and (2) it further develops ideas as they relate to trends and events of the 1990's, a decade during which a number of his essay-driven books were guided by themes other than agricultural practice. I have noticed a number of critics who mention that this book is "not a good place to start when reading Wendell Berry," but this, as well as most of the associated comments, leave me scratching my head and wondering if these folks have actually read this book. These folks also seem not to comprehend in the least the difference between an essay and a master's thesis replete with lots of footnotes. Berry is an essayist, and to apply the words "shrill" or "vague" to his pieces is obtuse to the point of absurdity. In particular, he is quite precise in his addressing of particular cases, such as his critique of "The Kentucky Cycle" and its readings in local and national culture, and he is also distinct in his proposals for solutions and remediations concerning the issues that he addresses, whether agricultural, natural, or societal. His discussions of traditions, communities, and economic practices are solidly based on observations of how people live and interact; it is no small irony that those who critique his "rose-colored view" of the past simply subscribe to a mythologized concept of "progress" (assumed with technology) and a condescension toward "small town life." "Another Turn of the Crank" -- certainly one of Berry's funniest titles and refreshingly sharp covers -- should be read with a clear mind and its quandaries and provocative jabs at many of the assumptions of contemporary practices, whether agricultural or literary, will enliven any reader's mind.

Caring for the world.

Wendell Berry is a Kentucky farmer--a "country person" (p. 46), and a former English professor. He is also among my favorite poets. I arrived at this collection of six inspired essays through Berry's poetry. He is no ordinary country farmer, and this is no ordinary book of essays.These are not easy essays. They often raise more questions than answers. But reading them is rewarding. Poet Ezra Pound wrote, "Learn of the green world what can be thy place." For Berry, "thy place" means "good stewardship" (p. 57), which is the theme of his book. He insightfully examines farm reform, food quality, nature conservation, caring for local communities, and finding redemption in "a fallen world" (p. 102) that is controlled by "distant," "supranational" corporations. "I am a Luddite," Berry proudly proclaims, "not 'against technology' so much as I am for community" (p. 90). For Berry, "human beings, let alone human societies, cannot live indefinitely by poison and fire" (p. 47).Berry begins his book with a memorable quotation from R. S. Thomas: "What to do? Stay green/ Never mind the machine,/ Whose fuel is human souls,/ Live large, man, and dream small." He ends his book with, for me, the two most memorable essays in the collection: "The Conservation of Nature and the Preservation of Humanity" and "Health is Membership."With a "turn of the crank," Berry hopes to bring his reader to a starting place to care for the world. But the point of the plucked chicken on the book's cover eludes me still.G. Merritt

A Beautiful Collection

Once again, Berry has produced a work worth reading over and over again. By far one of his best collections of essays, I found myself warmed and heartened by his words and was impressed by how well he expresses the compatibility of good human work with nature, as they are often seen as opposing forces. He shows us how the best of our cultural traditions can bring a better life to all of us. His writings simply get better and better. If you've never read anything by Berry before, this could be a great one to start with. I also highly recommend another book of his, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. I will treasure this book for years to come.

As lucid as it gets.

Wendell Berry patiently keeps showing us how to regain the sanity and goodness that life once held. Here are six essays: Farming and the Global Economy; Conserving Community; Conserving Forest Communities; Private Property and the Common Wealth; The Conservation of Nature and the Preservation of Humanity; Health is Membership. In Conserving Community, Berry lists 17 specific guidelines for regaining our lives by rebuilding our communities. They alone are worth far more than the price of the book--if we use them. Berry keeps turning the crank; we need to start the engine.

A must read!

As a long-time fan of Wendell Berry, I was expecting a something thought provoking. I underestimated him. In this collection of essays Berry has gone beyond his usual high standard to write something utterly transcendent. I place it squarly in the same league as Abbey's "Desert Solitaire" and Walker's "Winter Wheat" for beauty of prose, story-telling and quality of instruction. The essays are thoughtful, spiritual and finally, telling - about where we are, and where we could be. After enjoying Berry for years, this one caused me to send him a thank you note for writing it. This one is a keeper
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