THE EDGES OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD

A JOURNEY IN NATURE AND CULTURE

Poet Deming (Temporary Homelands, 1994) heads selectively for sundry outbacks in the hope of tapping wisdom from them on the prospects for our wild and open lands. What is this thing we call civilization, she wonders, and how may it alter the fate of the earth? Is civilization basically an expression of optimism? Or is it mainly a destructive power? And can art—most notably poetry, for Deming a bastion of the “local, peculiar, off-kilter and half seen”—help to resolve so unwieldy a matter as the terms of our existence? To probe these not exactly petite questions, Deming stakes out patches on the wild and fragile edges of civilization—along the Sea of Cortez, in southern Mexico, on Hawaii—fault lines “where pressure constantly builds, where the impingement of economic necessity abrades against nature.” These are places “rich in life forms and survival strategies.” Said strategies often involve one of Deming’s nemeses: tourism, eco and otherwise. The author views tourism variously as a form of neocolonialism, forcing locals to serve outsiders— whims and desires; as a path leading away from resource destruction and toward global economic integration; as a fusion of each. While sojourning in her chosen outposts, she takes the measure of their gestalt. Deming’s verbal big pictures can also include a glimpse of the spirit passing across the land, most easily grasped when she has come upon a sacred place that calls on all her senses. A writer of skillful means and economy, Deming doesn’t enter such terrain lightly, nor does she trifle with it: —What I am calling for is an ecology of culture in which we look for and foster our relatedness across disciplinary lines without forgetting our differences.” (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-312-19543-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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